Charlie Gillette // "Get Behind Us"
This weekend we had director and filmmaker, Charlie Gillette in our photo studio rental space to shoot a rather cheeky and fun editorial video to help encourage both political and social activism. By cheeky, we mean that in the most literal sense as this message was hand painted across the back pockets of each of the girls jeans in the all girl cast. When we stepped onto their set, we didn't quite expect to find these messages waving proudly in unison towards the camera. Each of the hand painted phrases or images were inspired from protest signs seen across the world from the Woman's March earlier this year. This project is basically a take on a classic feminist tactic - "subverting the objectifying gaze of society to bring attention to what really matters." No matter how serious the content of this shoot was, everyone involved in our Brooklyn soundstage that day seemed to be having a fantastic time, dancing and celebrating the joys of togetherness during a time of uncertainty.
The set up for the shoot was fairly straight forward, using a couple of Kino Flo 4x4 banks along with a few Arri 750's to light the subjects against a grey seamless. Aside from that it was pretty much all on the girls and their playful choreographed moves to the beat of the song "Jeans On" by David Dundas. Really looking forward to the finished piece!
We had a moment to talk about the origins of the project with Charlie. For a more in depth look into "Get Behind Us" Check it out below!
How did this project come to be?
Basically Alicia Serrani (producer) and Isabella Serrani (stylist, vocalist, performer) came to me in February with this idea for a cute fashion video inspired by the image of Gloria Vanderbilt surrounded by butts wearing her denim collection. She also found the song "Jeans On" by David Dundas and we agreed it would be a fun video. I had the idea to add patches with political statements to the butts as a remix on all of the protest sign art I have seen on the marches. The video then became something much more than a fun fashion film. It became a way for female identifying people to speak out about causes they care about. Having the patches on the butts is a typical female trope of subverting the male gaze. It's like, if you're going to look at our butts, you might as well hear what we have to say!
What was your casting experience like? Did you have anyone or anything in particular in mind you were hoping to find for the video?
We searched for a long time to assemble our cast and we wanted to make sure we were representing as many groups as possible. Once we had the talent secured, we asked all of them to tell us three causes near and dear to their hearts that they would like to represent in the video. This was completely open-ended the only rule was:no hate. They gave us so many amazing ideas and then Alicia and I designed the images based on what the talent had said. We made the patched by cutting up an old pair of jeans and using fabric paint. Alicia hand painted every single one. She did an incredible job, they are all works of art. We also put together a 100% female crew which is pretty rare in the film world. We were super lucky to find our DP Tara Bayat and our amazing PA Carly Dreme. Gabby Beans was my AD in addition to performing in the video. We were a small team so everyone worked really hard, but it was a great experience.
Any thoughts you'd like to share in regards to the overall goal you hope to achieve with this piece?
It's always a little scary putting yourself out there, especially when you've got a political message. I was so moved by everyone's passion and excitement for this video! I know that this video isn't going to change the world, but I wanted to make something positive with heart in an effort to energize and inspire people to keep marching and keep speaking out.It's so important, especially in the current political climate, to call out injustice and stand together. After the election, I went on my first ever protest and a lot of people asked me "what's the point?" I think protests serve a lot of purposes, but mainly it's a way for us to stand together and remember we're not alone. At the end of the day, we're all human beings and we're stronger together.