[Interview: Film/Music] Kris Moyes
Seen the film clip for Kirin J Callinan’s new single ‘W II W/Way To War’? Love it as much as we do? That’s the work of Kris Moyes, whose off-the-wall creations have been commissioned by Sia, Beck and The Presets, among many others. We picked his brain about his latest clip, which is as beautiful as it is disturbing.
How did you go from Fine Arts at COFA to making films? I wanted to make films ever since I was young. As a teenager I was enamoured of Christopher Lee’s terrifying performances as Dracula in Hammer Horror films I’d recorded from late-night TV. I’d get into trouble from my mum who would say, “If watching films was a school subject, you’d get an A+.” So I guess that got me thinking…The thought of film school did not appeal to me, so I enrolled in art school to develop an analytical process and build a solid conceptual practice. After finishing my Bachelor of Fine Arts, I decided it was time to start thinking about becoming a filmmaker so I got some work experience on film sets to really solidify the ground rules of filmmaking for me. I have an uncle who is a gaffa, so I learned a lot from him too.
How did you come to collaborate with Kirin? I had been aware of Kirin ever since he was 19, but it was when I saw him play with Mercy Arms that I understood his extraordinary nature. Very little consideration is given to the craft of showmanship nowadays. Kirin has remarkable physical intelligence. I had been building up imagery for a dark and turbulent world in my imagination for a very long time and I believed I could draw Kirin’s performance into that world. I approached him at some party and his manager Stricker, Kirin and I went to a bar where I suggested a collaboration.
What brief were you given for the clip? Thankfully Kirin is an artist, so I am grateful that he trusted me with his image by allowing me to generate my vision of the world I had in mind. It was very easy and constantly rewarding to work with him, so I look forward to future collaborations with that man.
What was your creative process from first step to final product – in terms of how you came up with the idea, and what inspirations you drew on? And how did you and Kirin work together on it? To be honest I kept changing my ideas on him. When I found a hole in my schedule, I would send him an idea, he’d love it and want us to shoot the following week, but then I’d get booked on another job and we’d put it on hold for a few months. By the time I had a free spot in my schedule again, I’d hate that idea and be into something completely different. He was very patient.
Is there a narrative to the clip that you care to talk about? Or the significance of things like the ‘Full View/Full Cream’ burqa? And the yellow gas coming out of the rocks? Hahah, yes all my work has a solid story line. ‘Way II War’ is the story of modern warfare inside the mind of a fictional character played by Kirin. The character has a loose grip on reality. We see the slow decay of his world. A naked maternal figure is presented as his grounding, or earth. Played by Kirin’s partner Teagan Lane, she is ironically naked but her face is bound by a burqa with the phrases “full cream”/ “full view” creating a simultaneous binding and unbinding tension. The presence of the child, played by Teagan’s son, is symbolic of the rational and irrational self. The abstraction of the cut, the stroboscopic displacement and the oscillation of the positive/negative frames splinters the line between reality and fantasy.
Looks like you shot in the Blue Mountains – can you talk about what location you used? Correct! I decided that for monetary reasons it was better to shoot where Kirin was living at the time rather than have him come to me. It also worked out really well because by shooting on his property I didn’t have to worry about location fees. He just happened to have a white Shetland pony called Avalon so I couldn’t resist the urge to feature him lying next to Kirin at the end. By the way that shot of Avalon lying next to Kirin was shot at sunrise. It was also the 1st shot on the first day of our shoot and was a completely unscripted piece of film magic.
How hard was it finding an appropriate and willing child for that kind of clip? As mentioned above, Phoenix is Teagan’s son and when she couldn’t find a baby sitter I requested an interest to include him in the shoot. He ended up stealing the show I think. Such a cool little kid.
Whose work do you most crush on in the film/video world? I hate most of the work I see, but that’s probably a telling sign that I’m jealous of not pushing out more work faster.
What other projects are you working on at the moment? I’m finishing an exciting concept for a feature film, developing a top secret project for Melbourne Music Week, directing a cluster of new videos for amazing artists both here and abroad, starting a film club for young filmmakers.