Do you remember Scrooge McDuck diving into his vault full of money? This project which I graded for Absolut Vodka ("Absolut Nights China") was a little like that except instead of money I was kind of joyfully diving into color!
I have worked with Jonathon quite a while back on a music video for the Jezabels (Love Is My Disease) and that was a brilliant introduction for me into Jonathon's aesthetic and skill as a filmmaker. You can tell immediately when someone knows their craft by the way they articulate what works and what doesn't within a color grade. He has a strong aesthetic but also allows the colorist to work with the images. This results in a collaboration that stays true to not only the cinematography but also the story. The only negative in this equation is I don't get to work with Jonathon more often. Insert sad face emoji here.
The Cinematographer was a wonderful friend of mine named Charlie Sarroff. It's been many years since I've worked on any of Charlie's pictures and it's satisfying to see the evolution of his style. There is so much range in his images for me to play with, which is fantastic for the Colorist and for the project. Also, because Charlie is a friend, I think this is a perfect platform to make him feel bad for not coming to see me when he was in Shanghai. Charlie, I forgive you but you owe me so many beers when I get to California.
I had asked Jonathon and Kristian if they could send me a paragraph about the project that I could use in my blog. It's a great summary so I am going to cut and paste the entire thing. Sure, some may call this lazy on my part but we all know that in reality it's pure genius. Here it is...
We were pretty excited to work on this when Absolut/Tomorrow (agency) got in contact with us. After spending the last 6 years out skateboarding and partying in Shanghai, this piece felt quite autobiographical.
It’s been amazing to see how the nightlife and party culture has evolved in Shanghai from 2011 when we first arrived. In Shanghai most of the parties were run by foreigners, and the crowds would be half local chinese, half foreign. Now you go to parties and there is all these kids wearing Palace, Supreme, Helas, streetwear kind of clothing that the cool kids would be wearing in London or New York, and the crowds are 90% Chinese. Kids going nuts listening to trap music.
One of the people at the forefront of bringing street culture to China has been Actor/Singer/Rapper/Designer Edison Chen, we had a blast with him and VICE making this doc a couple of years ago- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qd5QHhm193w
Big thanks to our DP Charlie Sarroff and Vincent for bringing his images to life!
Jonathon and Kristian (PUSH)