The top 10 music video directors from Toronto
The top music video directors from Toronto hail from a beautiful city full of beautiful people making beautiful music. But what's a song without a video to go along? Although there's no lack of creative types in the city, there are a certain few that rise above the rest when it comes to providing unique and unforgettable visuals for music.
Here are my picks for the top ten music video directors in Toronto right now.
Natalie Rae Robison
This Toronto-via-Vancouver director's fast-paced transitions might make your head spin with multiple perspectives and beautiful set design. She's made videos for Serena Ryder and Tegan and Sara. When she's not working her craft creating brilliant music videos, find her working on ads for the likes of Air Canada, Bud, and Holt Renfrew.
Remember "normcore"? Remember "vaporwave"? Trends come and go, but aesthetic is forever. Cudmore combines nostalgia with modern high def to highlight the banalities of modern living via signature shaky still frames, gloomy lighting and artifact compression. Cudmore proves his flexibility working with everyone from Timber Timbre to Metz.
Prodigy under big-budget rap video virtuoso Hype Williams, Brampton native Director X has made a name for himself working with Nicki Minaj, Kanye West, Justin Bieber, and even The Boy himself. His trademark split letterbox openings, colour co-ordinated props and environmental portraits has made him one of the industry's most in-demand directors.
Hamilton-raised Sigismondi creates mysteriously unfolding settings as a foundation for her twisting fantasy worlds full of of flamboyant costumes, top-of-the-line special effects and feminist undertones. Directing everyone from Katy Perry to David Bowie to Sigur Rós, Sigismondi was presented a lifetime achievement Prism Prize last year.
What is a shot without vibe? Just another clip in the digital trash. Leblanc's dreamy style has led to projects including Belle and Sebastien's "The Party Line", where he employs witty use of the Ken Burns effect. With partner Scott Cudmore, Leblanc has also shot videos for The New Pornographers and Alt-J.
Calgary transplant Reynard Li could be Toronto's most fun director. His subjects are cheeky and smiley, from Harrison's "City Lights" to Maylee Todd's "Baby's Got It." Li's fascination with 80s hi-fi translates seamlessly from creative to corporate, landing him gigs with Nike and Design Exchange.
Raab leaves synchronized stage shots in the past for slurry bokeh shots, crisp titles, clever metafiction, and candid conversations. One of Raab's greatest charms is his ability to capture the personal aura of each band member - highlights include Arkells, Born Ruffians, and Tokyo Police Club.
Photographer/director Sean Getti's shaky hand is doing him just fine. Slow moving b&w shots, nerve-wrackingly thick plots, and jittery camerawork help illustrate the lives of artists in Toronto's stifling concrete jungle. Working JD Era, Tre Mission, and early Drake affiliate Big Page, Getti's style is more and more refined by the video.
Raised in Calgary, Randall "RT!" Thorne isthe most awarded Canadian music video director to date, winning trophies with Kardinal Offishall, Simple Plan, Joel Plaskett, and Snoop Dogg. RT! shows his set design mastery in Rich Kidd's haunting single "The Valley."
No matter what Wong is doing, he is doing it precisely. From Lowell's "The Bells" four-minute long take to taking timeless studio photos of David Cronenberg, Emily Haines, or Noah "40" Shebib to turning Trust's "Dressed For Space" into a wavy psychedelic experience, Norman Wong is in a league of his own.
Who did I miss? Leave your favourite Toronto music video directors in the comments.
Writing by L-SPEX
Lead image: Floria Sigismondi: David Bowie - "The Next Day"
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