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Former MTV animator Tunde Adebimpe, frontman of the indie band TV on the Radio, made an hourlong film, Nine Types of Light, featuring all 10 tunes on TVOTR’s same-titled new album, which Esquire called the best of 2011. Directed by him with 10 fellow filmmakers, the film was released April 12 for free on Vevo/YouTube and the video single for “You,” directed by Barney Clay and starring Adebimpe cavorting in a Prince outfit, is available exlusively on THR (watch the video at the end of this post).
THR: You played the guy who marries Rachel in Jonathan Demme’s Rachel Getting Married. Is Demme a big influence on your directing?
THR: But your video for the song “Forgotten” is a stripper zombie film.
Adebimpe: Jonathan did work for Roger Corman. I was trying to make a high-end B-movie like Jess Franco or Russ Meyer, with a little Sam Raimi thrown in.
THR: It’s about a New York band’s reaction to making an album in L.A.
Adebimpe: We were down the street from the Modern Institute of Plastic Surgery, which was falling apart. A lot of facade work was done, maybe not a lot of foundation.
THR: Did the lyrics (“Nuclear winter, what should we wear and who’s for dinner”) come first or the zombie imagery?
Adebimpe: The song came first. It just popped into my head that it would be really good to shoot a zombie movie in Hollywood. The production company Doomsday helped get our cast together.
THR: What did the film cost?
Adebimpe: The whole thing I believe cost as much as the allotment for one or two videos, roughly like $150,000, a tiny bit more.
THR: Was it a canny move to make a movie of the album?
Adebimpe: We’ll see what happens commercially. Packaging sounds like a cheap word, but I like a lot of packaging as an extension of the thing you’re doing. You give the packaging as much importance as the thing it’s holding.
THR: You cover lots of film genres.
Adebimpe: We’ve got stripper zombies. There’s a dance contest. There’s a very flat 2D kinetic collage, 3D stop-motion and flat table stop-motion, a virtual reality love story. There’s a documentary, “Killer Crane” [about the band’s tour]. The “You” video can be classified as a comedy.
THR: It’s a film festival.
Adebimpe: Exactly. Like an anthology of short stories.
THR: What would be a good double bill for Nine Types of Light?
Adebimpe: It could be a triple bill with Funky Forest: The First Contact by Katsuhito Ishii and Norman McLaren’s Begone Dull Care.
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