When Girl Talk released his last album, All Day, the internet went pretty wild. Visualizations and breakdowns of his expertly crafted remixes abounded as the album seemed to capture the collective imagination of the entire music-loving world and provide a hearty dose of creative inspiration as well.
But perhaps the mother of all Girl Talk tributes is debuting this week, a 71-minute-long music video created as a visual accompaniment to the mashup album called Girl Walk // All Day. It features a ballerina who has a bit of a freak out and a blonde guy in skeleton leisure wear who dances like he’s made of rubber. The first part of the film, School’s Out, was cast out into the world wide web a few days ago, and subsequent parts will be rolled out over the coming weeks. But those of you who are in New York can watch the entire thing at the Masonic Temple in Brooklyn this Thursday, December 8th when they screen it at the release party. Get your RSVP here.
We spoke with the film’s managing producer, Youngna Park, to find out more about the project and what, exactly, the team had in mind here.
The Creators Project: How did Girl Walk come into being? What in the world possessed you to try and make an album-length music video?
Youngna Park: As a child, Jacob [Krupnick, director] was largely influenced by MTV and music videos. He found these brief, potent, immersive experiences were fascinating, and was especially drawn by videos with a narrative, or which broke from the original song to try and develop a little context. As an artist, he is working to create work that makes a big impact, engages an audience, and that combats the distraction most of us feel in the face of a really fast-moving, technologically-enabling life. Combining sound and video have the power to do this, [as well as the ability] to be shared on a large scale.
The idea for Girl Walk // All Day is an expression of these ideas, but the storyline comes from meeting an amazing, mercurial dancer named Anne while making an installation piece for a fashion show a few years ago. Jacob embarked on a long search for a soundtrack that would challenge her, and be widely enjoyed by the public. Upon hearing Girl Talk’s album, All Day, he knew he’d found the perfect soundtrack for this larger project.
What’s the general plot outline of the film?
The film tells the story of a young girl (The Girl, Anne Marsen), who struggles to break free from the conformity of her ballet class. She embarks on a day-long journey in New York City, trying to discover who she is as a person and a dancer, and also share her joy of movement with the city. Along the way, she encounters a love interest (The Gentleman, Daisuke Omiya), and is chased by a creep (The Creep, John Doyle), as well as hundreds and thousands of other New Yorkers, who become part of a grand urban fairytale.
How do you want audiences to experience the work? Are you hoping it’ll turn into a full-on dance party? Or should they be watching it seated, theater style?
We’ve envisioned audiences interacting with Girl Walk // All Day in many different forms, but it always involves upending the traditional forward-facing, cushy-seats environment of a movie theater, which can be a very isolating experience. Though the film itself requires focus to watch—it’s not just background visuals to a dance party—we envision events with multiple large screens, dance and other live performances, and live DJs who will usher the audience’s energy into some truly good-time dance parties.
We also want to screen the film in public spaces—both in New York and beyond. The film was shot in dozens of public locations around New York City and is a celebration of place and of individual expression in these spaces. We would love to set up customized projections in public parks, on the streets, and in the hundreds of amazing structures that exist in our city.
Kickstarter has been a great source of support for you guys—from helping you crowdfund your film to helping promote your release party. How did that relationship develop and what has it been like working with them?
We’d been aware of Kickstarter since 2009, but had mostly been interested onlookers, backing a few projects here and there. When Jacob first developed the idea for the film, he originally planned to shoot it very guerilla-style without outside funding. After the trailer was released and public interest surged, we went back to the drawing board and decided to create a Kickstarter campaign. We looked to many of the other videos and writing on the site, and found the community full of this unbridled excitement and support.
The relationship has grown immensely this past year, and we could not feel more supported by Kickstarter (the company) and the backers we’ve reached through our campaign. Many individuals at the company—Yancey Strickler, Perry Chen, Kendel Ratley, Justin Kazmark, Cassie Marketos—and countless others, have personally reached out to us to ask how they could participate, help spread the word, and support us as we move forward. When it came time to discussing a premiere, they very generously and graciously offered to host the event. Now, just a few days before the premiere, we couldn’t imagine having made this film or releasing this film any other way.
What are you hoping to do next with the project? Where would you like to take it?
We are currently releasing the film in a series of 12 chapters on Gothamist.com, two per week, through the beginning of January, and the full film will be available to the public once all of the chapters are out.
We are also developing a series of interactive screening events in quite a few cities around the U.S. and continue to seek partners and collaborators who want to work with us on unique screening events.