Archive for the ‘red bull’ Tag

Athena Skates

This is my 2nd commission for Red Bull Media House. Athena Skates is an uplifting film spotlighting a new generation of empowered Athenian women.

Athena Skates short form still red bull media house

As Athens tentatively emerges from a decade of chaos, a group of young female roller skaters are fighting for space in their city. This new generation of Greeks grew up with few opportunities – but this taught them a valuable lesson: if you want to follow your passion, you have to do it yourself. While support and infrastructure for young people fell victim to the crisis, the girls are using roller skating to create their own community and express themselves.

Athena Skates is a filmic journey through the hidden skate spots and urban wastelands which punctuate this ancient metropolis. In the process, it shows what it means to be a young woman in Greece today and why finding a way to do what you love – despite the challenges – matters now more than ever.

At a time when so many are stuck indoors, Athena Skates is a liberating, dynamic film revelling in the freedom to move through your city and create your own space within it. The film opens in the spectacular location of the abandoned Hellinikon international airport as the sun sets over the Saronic Gulf. The skaters set off on a high-energy journey across the gritty concrete jungle that is Athens, culminating at the top of Mount Lycabettus, as the sunrise ushers in a new day – and a new generation.

Athena Skates was produced by Hijra Collective, London for Red Bull Media House, London & Salzburg – part of an initiative I have been running focused on excellent storytelling applied to human interest documentaries. Athena Skates is directed by London-based Elliott Gonzo, an outstanding young voice, distinctive and original, working in the realms of commercials, drama and documentary.

They Saw The Sun First [video - 8 mins]

Here is the first of my commissions for Red Bull Media House:

Directed by Stefan Hunt, an Aussie based in Brooklyn. Music by French multi-instrumentalist composer/performer FKJ. Movement directed by Vanessa Marian.

With city dwellers locked down across the world under the most trying of circumstances, They Saw The Sun First is a ray of light, an oasis of inspiration and uplift in the form of a highly original and beautifully crafted film. It is a genre-bending documentary using dance and physicality to explore themes of youthfulness, fear, regret and aging. The star of the show is New York, the metropolis itself.

The perspectives of elderly citizens of NYC are interpreted physically by younger generations through movement and dance. The words come from real-life interviews recorded with a diverse selection of aging New Yorkers. Each dancer was given a voice to interpret (without ever meeting the owner of that voice) through dance, movement, emotive states and space. Movement Director Vanessa Marian led this aspect of the film.

The film focuses on our commonalities as opposed to our differences. The director, Stefan Hunt, seeks to address this current age of echo chambers, divisive rhetoric and a deepening chasm between generations. It reframes what it means to listen to our elders. The title derives from an old African proverb:

“What older people say is not to be dishonoured – after all, they saw the sun first.”

They Saw The Sun First was produced by Fresh Film Productions, New York for Red Bull Media House, London & Salzburg – part of an initiative I have been heading up focused on excellent storytelling applied to human interest documentaries.

The music is specially composed by FKJ, the award-winning and much followed French multi-instrumentalist and singer, who is renowned for his solo live performances (featuring his multi-instrument skills through live loops) at music festivals like Coachella. He rewrote his track ‘Ylang Ylang’ for the film.

Stefan Hunt’s directing journey began in 2006 when he decided to travel through the USA in an ice-cream truck, armed with a camera and child-like resolve to cast an eye on all 50 states. He says of the film: “With all my grandparents gone, I felt a real lack of eldership in my life. I feel like we are bombarded with these authoritative opinions from young people on the internet, but where is the advice of those who have walked this earth the longest?”

The way I see it this uplifting and original film comes out just when the world needs it – it reminds us what makes life’s inevitable struggles ultimately worthwhile and strengthening.

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