|At home in the studio |
Sarah: Well, we wake up every morning, we stretch both hamstrings for 30 seconds, we have a few oranges... Shaheen: Bagel. Sarah: Bagel, bage we like to call it, and, um, play a lot of Super Nintendo Mario Brothers...while rendering only. We’ve got turntables in the living room, guitars in the garage, computers scattered about the house like shoes, paint in the shower, cameras in the kitchen... Shaheen: ...and ice cream in the freezer (chocolate chip). Sarah: Coming from New York, I think space is actually a big influence because New York is kinda hard to make films in if you don’t have any money – it’s hard to get things done, I think – but in LA you can throw everything in the back of your 1999 blue-gray Camry and do just about anything.
|Look inside the studio|
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|Control and release|
Sarah: One of the great things about this project is that it was under our fingertips – you know, we’re not answering to anybody, we’re not having to go out and spend a million dollars reserving some street for some massive shoot. It’s like just working together in our office on our computers, and I think that is great – that we can do that and perhaps make something that is worth seeing. And I think one of the things we were hoping for was we didn’t want any single piece of the shot to be recognizable, from Getty or from anywhere. We really wanted it to look like it was meant only for that piece. Shaheen: As if it were all made especially for us. That’s what’s amazing about searching for one particular kind of item and then getting 15 versions of that, then the freedom of cutting those together. Sarah: It was like swimming through an endless pool of images and then jumping into a lake of bliss. And then discovering which image was perfect for the shot.
Giuseppe Arcimboldo painting
093866, The Bridgeman Art Library
Sarah: It changed our lives. First of all, we did not think we were actually going to have to make this thing, we were like, let’s just throw them a pitch – we’re not actually gonna get chosen. And then all of a sudden we realized that, um, we were actually going to have to figure out a way to make this... Shaheen: We had a bunch of false starts too. At one point we filmed a model and we thought we were going to track all this stuff on her too… Sarah: We had all these different versions of how we were going to track the muscles through her face, and our dear friend Elena allowed us to paint her entirely black and draw grids on her face. We thought that would be a good idea... Shaheen: Yeah, we thought we needed a grid and track points… Sarah: We thought we would just map everything perfectly and then we realized that we just had to let all that fly out the window and let the images inform what we were going to build and let the portrait take on a life of its own. Shaheen: One of the things we learned was that it was not something we could easily plan ahead of time. I am sure (artist Giuseppe) Arcimboldo, when he put his paintings together, must have had moments where his objects – this fruit or this vegetable - must have made sense, but he didn’t start off knowing that. Same thing, now that we are dealing with moving images. Sarah: It sort of changed our way of seeing – our way of looking at images – as opposed to trying to be analytical about it.
See Friends of a Friend at work
|Three films that have inspired your work?|
Shaheen: Wild at HeartSarah: Snow White and Songs from the Second Floor
Sarah: Where film is going in the future? We say everything happens through a friend of a friend, especially in this day and age. I think it’s about specific audiences and about friends showing friends other things... Shaheen: Viral is a very good word for it. Sarah: ...and it’s maybe less about mass marketing and more about word of mouth. I think it’s great – it’s high time it came down to taste again. Shaheen: Yeah, being genuine. Sarah: Yeah! I think the internet is the great equalizer, as people have said, and I think it makes it so much easier for filmmakers like us that don’t necessarily have any connections to huge studios to actually make work...and get it seen.
|Shaheen and Sarah at The Next Big Idea premiere in New York City. 71100458, Getty Images||If The Next Big Idea were a plate of food?|
Sarah: A post-post-post-postmodern rendering of Albert Camus. Shaheen: In garbanzo beans. Sarah: I HATE garbanzo beans. Shaheen: That’s not fair.