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Avant-garde filmmaker Maria Chiara Venturini directs killer music video for Say Yes Dog's 'Girlfriend'
An artist's soul craves the creative process and many would argue that the worst thing one can do is plug that inspirational flow. But this can be a tricky balance for artists and filmmakers who, in the midst of creating work for other people, don't always have the time to devote their energy to their own creations.

For Italian filmmaker Maria Chiara Venturini not bringing a project she’s inspired to create to fruition would be something of a sin. Known internationally for her work as the director behind multi-award winning projects such as the experimental fashion film “Chanel Ancien Regime,” the winner of the Sprocket Film Festival, and the masterfully crafted animated music video for Tom Rosenthal’s ‘Bob in the Rain and the Lizard of Hope,’ which earned the Best Music Video Awards from the Feel The Reel International Film Festival, Filmstrip International Film Festival, TMFF (The Monthly Film Festival), Media Award festival and MystiCon Independent Film Festival, Venturini’s avant-garde artistic style grabs the viewer’s attention and makes them question what they’re watching.

One of her most recent creations is the music video for Say Yes Dog’s song ‘Girlfriend,’ which was released in March. When most people see the video they’d be hard pressed not to agree that the strangely awesome video fits the peculiar despondency of the catchy synth song perfectly. What’s ironic though is that the concept for the music video wasn’t actually centered around the artist or their hit song from the get go-- the music actually came after.

Venturini got together with her stylist Chaw Chaw Susan with the desire to create a visual fashion story. She brought in visionary artist and designer Jasko Begovic, better known as Sko Habibi, who’s dressed the likes of M.I.A. and other well-known celebrities, as well as collaborated on several of British designer Joshua Van Leader’s JVL collections, and that is when the story began to unfold.

“Jasko helped us create a unique style with which I was inspired to create certain characters and the overall mood. The story was really simple-- two lovely burger makers try to create the perfect burger that then gets destroyed by two cold hearted ladies,” explains Venturini.

It’s comical to hear Venturini refer to the two zombie like Japanese men sweating in their kitchen uniforms as ‘lovely,’ but that in itself says a lot about her perspective as a filmmaker, and it’s one of the reasons her work is so easy to remember.

With color saturated visuals that border on repulsive and bring to mind cinematographic styles of films like “Requiem for A Dream” and “Spun,” fantastically styled villainous vixens and the pitiful looking burger makers, the video for ‘Girlfriend’ is transfixing.

Venturini says, “I wanted the audience to feel stuck in the stillness of this little burger place while these two guys were trying desperately to make something perfect, with all their energies. At the same time I also wanted the audience to feel the agony of the two guys that their piece of art was being mistreated and thrown away by two drunk girls, or it’s better to say by the world outside of the burger shop.”

With verses like-- I’m going to give you what you need, I’m going to make you love. Until your heart will start to bleed I’m going to make you love... Would you be my girlfriend, would you be my girlfriend-- the contradictory nature of the song’s lyrics are the perfect fit for the visual story of two people destroying the ‘artistry’ of the burger makers.

Upon feasting their eyes on the first cut of the video, Say Yes Dog unanimously responded with, "This is absolutely brilliant. Somehow the subtext of the song now comes through and the song gets this extra depth that was missing a little bit before. Crazy characters and beautiful imagery!”

Venturini’s passion for the story led her to create the video before even having an inkling of the artist or the song it would serve-- a roundabout approach to some, but one that clearly worked out.

She explains, “I heard Say Yes Dog performing during Flash Festival, a music festival in the Tuscan hills. It was kind of an imprinting… the song ‘Girlfriend’ fit the visual that I had perfectly. I contacted them, showing the cut of the video that I had and they felt the same bonding. The voice of Aaron Gustav made me feel, in a positive way, the agony of the scene that I was trying to narrate. The band followed the project through several different cuts, until we found the perfect ending!

Named as “New Band of the Day” by The Guardian in 2013, Say Yes Dog has received quite a bit of attention for their singer’s melancholic monotone vocals and catchy electronic dance beats, which has also led them to be compared to Hot Chip on multiple occasions. The song ‘Girlfriend’ is off their 2015 album Plastic Love.

“I was excited to make something with such a great collaborator as Jasko. I love his designs and I was honoured to direct such a great piece. Also we had fun with the actors since their role was played around subtle weird expressions. Overall I think this was one of the most playful sets that I experienced,” admits Venturini.

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