Goldbricks In Bloom hits Hollywood

Danny Sangra’s Goldbricks in Bloom hits Hollywood

Danny Sangra’s Goldbricks In Bloom hits Hollywood

You may remember some time ago that we talked to Danny Sangra about his feature film debut Goldbricks In Bloom. Well, we’re pleased to report that it’s about to have its Hollywood premiere on 17th November.

Arthouse cinema group Emerging Pictures have one of their cinemas in mind for the premiere of the film, which stars Zosia Mamet (best known for Girls and soon to be seen as Patti Smith in Mapplethorpe) and Jake Hoffman (who appeared in The Wolf of Wall Street).

The film will then play at the cinema during the following week, and will be launched simultaneously on Vimeo, so everyone will be able to see it globally.

Here’s the link, so you can take a look for yourself: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/goldbricksinbloom

Danny wrote and directed the film, which is a social satire, exploring what it means to be an artist today, interweaving the story of a group of disenchanted young creatives in New York with the mythic rise and fall of a painter.

It’s not Danny’s first film by a long way, just his first full length feature. As well as making idiosyncratic promotional films and commercials for the likes of fashion house Balenciaga and Mercedes-Benz, he’s also made short films like A Lunch Break Romance and I Know. Indeed, he sees Goldbricks In Bloom and his earlier films as existing in the same world, with some characters in common.

Danny isn’t about to rest on his laurels, either, he’s just getting started, and already has a script or two ready to go.

We grabbed Danny for a quick word about Goldbricks In Bloom, and his plans for the future:

Could you tell us a little about the film’s plot? Is it in any way autobiographical?

The film really has two storylines. One fiction and one reality. I don’t want to say too much, but it was my take on the romance we are lead to believe in against the modern reality.

Once it’s released on Vimeo, are interested to see the reactions of a wider audience, who aren’t necessarily familiar with your work?

I know once you put something out, you have to be open to new people seeing it and loving or hating it. You can’t win everyone over, simply because it’s clearly not made for everyone. So I try not to think about it too much.

How did you go about assembling your cast? Will any members of this film’s cast be turning up in future projects?

Most of the cast is made up of actors I have previously made short films with. They are all reoccurring characters. So anyone familiar with my previous work should see the connections. There are also some new cast members who were either friends of mine or friends of other cast members. many of whom take on characters that are mentioned in previous films, but have never been seen.

You can see these connections on my voltaville website: www.voltaville.com

I’m sure you will see them again as different characters. I love working with actors I know, and they already know how I like to work. There’s a trust. Then I bring someone new into the group and see how it develops.

Has it felt like a natural transition, moving from visual artist to film-maker?

Yes. It was something I’ve always planned for. It just took me a while to get round to it. I still paint and do everything else, but I tend to work in areas where I can express new ideas. Sometimes it’s painting or photography, other times it’s writing. Whatever works.

Is your next feature project underway? Can you tell us anything about it?

I finished the script earlier this year and have been working out the cast I’d like to approach. Hopefully we can begin filming early next year.

You seem to be incredibly busy. What else do you have planned for the next year?

There’s a bunch of things I can’t talk about. I’ll be busy because I like to stay busy. I can’t handle not doing anything. However, I tend to work with friends, so busy often feels like hanging out and then realising you made a film somewhere along the way.

 

 

 

Balenciaga and mytheresa.com

Danny Sangra directs Tourists for mytheresa.com and Balenciaga

Danny Sangra directs Tourists for mytheresa.com and Balenciaga

Danny Sangra’s made a new film, Tourists, for luxury fashion house Balenciaga and mytheresa.com, the online shop for luxury designer fashion. It’s set in Paris and features three top models filmed in some of the French capital’s most photogenic spots. You already know what to expect, and can see the film in your mind’s eye, can’t you?

Well, no, no you can’t. This is a film conceived, written and directed by Danny Sangra, which means it doesn’t fit any of the conventions of shooting fashion. Instead, a tour guide takes three Balenciaga-clad models on a tour of Paris, taking in the major sights. But no matter how hard he tries, he fails to break through their complete disinterest. Until, that is – spoiler alert – the models turn the tables, and take him to an unlikely spot that finally fires their enthusiasm.

This is the second film Danny has made for Balenciaga and mytheresa.com, And, despite all the possible distractions, Danny manages to keep a strong focus on the beautiful Balenciaga designs throughout.

See Tourists for yourself now

We managed to grab Danny for a few questions about the film, as he whizzed about his busy schedule.

What was the thinking behind the film?

I was told about the film long before we made it. Demna’s first collection had been shown that day and I was very excited to know I’d be able to make a film with it. I knew, like with the first film (and all my film work), that I didn’t want to make a cliché couture fashion ad type thing and I wanted to have fun with the actual film. It had to be visually very different to my previous film. I wrote something that meant we would be running around Paris tourist spots, going to a fairground, having an impromptu runway show on a ferry down the Seine. All in Balenciaga.

One thing I knew from the start was that I wanted the models out of their element. The idea came from me thinking ‘What if the Adams family went to Disneyland?’.

Why did you change direction a little from Une Incroyable Excuse, the previous film you made for Balenciaga and mytheresa.com?

I was inspired by the changes that the new artistic director of Balenciaga, Demna Gvasalia, has made to the brand. I wanted it to have a completely different look to the previous film. This time is was all handheld and mostly exterior shots. I even changed the aspect ratio. Une Incroyable Excuse was filmed in anamorphic while Tourists was filmed in 4:3.

I chose tourist spots to base the film in a reality. In a sense subverting the idea of the sophistication of fashion.

Why Paris?

I love filming Paris. I’ve based many of my films there. This also might stem from the fact I have always admired William Klein, and Qui êtes-vous, Polly Maggoo? is one of my favourite films.

Is this likely to become a trilogy?

I have a close relationship with mytheresa.com as they typically give me a lot of freedom. So who knows what’s next?

You wrote and directed this and other films. You also took photos during the shoot. You’re an illustrator and designer. What’s next for Danny Sangra?

I’m releasing my first feature film very soon (Goldbricks In Bloom) and so that is my current focus. Hopefully I can start the second feature project next year.

As long as I’m creating things that excite me and make me better, I’ll keep doing what I do, and who knows where it might take me?

 

The Standard Hotels

Danny Sangra was asked to create three short films for The Standard hotels, introducing their ‘Standard Time – check in/out’ campaign.

Danny Sangra was asked to create three short films for The Standard hotels, introducing their ‘Standard Time – check in/out’ campaign.

In the first of the three films we find Glenn O’Brien using up his spare time in his room.

Each spot show’s the strange uses this extra time gives you.

You can read more on the below two links:

The Standard Hotels

Danny Sangra

A selection of stills are shown here.

The Story of Tobias Medallion

The Story of Tobias Medallion

Danny Sangra talks about The Story of Tobias Medallion

After finishing Goldbricks In Bloom I went on a run of making films for various brands. Luckily most of them let me continue writing slightly surreal scripts and they were a lot of fun to make (Balenciaga, Mercedes-Benz, Diesel). However, it’s in my personal work I get to do whatever I want and continue adding to the world of characters I’ve been creating for the past few years (see Voltaville for a detailed explanation of this).

Wherever I am working or whatever I’m working on, I usually have friends that want to help make a film. So I end up writing constantly and have a backlog of scripts and stories I want to tell. Just in case I’m in a city with people ready to roll.

We generally work in a very fluid manner as everyone knows each other. I keep my teams small on personal projects. This time we had a crew of five (I was doing sound, not my forte). The best thing about these films is that everyone is there because they want to be there. Because I still paint and draw I treat film the same way. I constantly need to experiment with no pressure. If something goes wrong, you keep working at it until you get something you want. It can evolve into something you didn’t expect.

One of the big reasons I wrote this film was because originally I wanted to do this idea for something else, but they destroyed my script turning it into a watered-down version of itself and it never got made. So I wrote this film exactly how I wanted, kept it simple and made it with friends.

I brought in Margaret Clunie who is in many of my films. Her character was always called Polly in my early films, however I changed her name to Jess in Goldbricks as Zosia (Mamet) was supposed to have her role until I switched them around. This film was agood way for me to change the character’s name mid-film by an external force.

Rory DCS also got involved as I’ve used his voice before, but always felt he would be an interesting character on camera.

I love narration in films (mainly films from the 50s and 60s). I have a ‘thing’ for interesting voices. Usually, it’s people who aren’t actors and I hear them and immediately want to write a story for them to tell. This happened with Tabetha who I was working with on another shoot a few months before. I knew I had to have hernarrate something.

Often, if I can’t afford to film it, I’ll just tell you what happened through narration or titles. This film is a version of that, the girl is doing absolutely nothing of interest but I made her the focus of the film and left it to the narrator to try to make it exciting. And she does her best.

 To see the film in full go to NOWNESS

Goldbricks

We talk to Danny about his film, Goldbricks In Bloom

We catch up with Danny Sangra about his first screening of Goldbricks In Bloom.

Firstly, congratulations on the screening of Goldbricks In Bloom this month. Will there be any further screenings in the near future, so members of the public can see? Or a platform where people can view it?

The screening really only happened because I wanted to share it with the people involved in making the film, its really for them. However, everyone is divided between London, New York and LA so it means we have to have a few secret screenings.

Hopefully it will be available for people to see in some form in 2016. It’s a small film and made in a certain way, so I think the way it’s shown should complement it.

Can you tell us where you found the inspiration for the film and how some of the key themes came about?

Half the film came from what I see around me these days in my industry. The other half of the film was inspired by the romantic stories you are fed when you start art school. I wanted to tell two stories, the fantasy and the reality –where nobody seems to ever reach the third act.

I also wanted to structure it slightly differently. To me it feels more like the structure of a Daniel Clowes comic book series.

Goldbricks In Bloom is your first feature film – how have you found the reception so far?

The reception has been good so far. I think because the people who have seen it are people that know my work. The film has most of the characters from my short films.

There are numerous links between Goldbricks and my earlier shorts. There’s a timeline but it’s very subtle. For example, this all takes place before my short film No Aloha.

You finished filming in 2014 last summer – how was the post production process?

We shot the film in 12 days, October 2014 (a 120 page script). We didn’t really have a budget that allowed for more time. I actually edited the first cut December 2014. However, it then took a year to finish. Mainly because it relied on many favours and everyone had to do things in between jobs.

We recognise some familiar faces from your previous shorts and the film features a diverse range of talent, including Girls’ actress Zosia Mamet; how did you go about casting the film?

Most of the cast was made up of my usual group of actors. Some reprised roles from other films.

Others took on new roles. The new cast members came on board because they are friends of the cast. Matter of fact, everyone on the film knew each other or came
on board because someone they knew was already involved. This was the same for the crew.

I think everyone knew it was a small project and so people only got involved because they wanted to be there. This is the most important part for me. It was the only way we managed to film in in such a short space of time. Everyone was prepared to dive in.

It was also interesting because I had about 20 short films that the new cast could watch so they immediately knew the type of characters I wanted them to be.

For someone who has yet to see the film, can you sum it up for us?

It’s like the worlds of my short films got glued to together to make a bigger world filled with people you think you wouldn’t get on with. Then you realise you might have more in common with them than you think.

What can we expect from you film wise in 2016?

I have a few fashion films/shorts coming out early 2016. I have two other feature-length scripts finished and ready to be filmed. So hopefully we start filming the next film project next spring.

Takes a trip to California

We talk to Danny Sangra about his recent trip to California…

We talk to Danny about his recent trip to California…

Your new series of personal work was taken in Palm Springs. What’s the story behind the shots?

I shot most of the photos in LA, Palm Springs, Joshua Tree & Yucca Valley. We were going to the desert and then on my birthday we drove to the Chateau Marmont for my party. I liked the difference between scenarios of waking up and going to bed. One extreme to the other. 

We tend to travel with the same people. Friends from LA, New York, San Francisco, London and Australia all joined. Really I was just documenting friends in amazing places.

What equipment do you use to capture light in such interesting ways?

I use a Canon 5dMkiii and then my smaller Canon G15 for quicker shots. I will then use lamps or torches to makes pools of light for certain shots. I don’t like travelling heavy when it’s not work, so I use what’s around.

Do you have a favourite time of day to shoot?

Personally I like shooting at night. I prefer less light and more atmosphere. That said, the California light is pretty amazing.

If you could choose anywhere in the world to photograph, where would it be?

I’m lucky that I’ve shot in my favourite places – Tokyo at night, California at sunset, New York in the morning. I like cities. Buildings that look like they should be in a film. Cinematic landscapes.

Huge landscapes can be tricky as much as I love them. I need a human element or something other than just nature. Sometimes I just can’t believe a view with my own eyes, so feel there’s no reason to take a photo. We were driving at sunrise through the desert and everything looked perfect and golden. Like a John Ford Western but better. I didn’t want to take a photo of it because it would have been pointless. I kept it for myself.

Where do you find the inspiration for your personal work? Is it normal life or is it in the middle of a million other projects?

I don’t think I shoot normal life, I shoot the bits in-between. 

Everything I shoot is nothing like how I grew up. Maybe the inspiration is that I’m simply seeing new things all the time these days.

Is there a person or location that you enjoy shooting most?

My wife. My friends. People who are interesting, not just interesting-looking but actually interesting to speak to. People who don’t usually like having their photo taken.

Locations, I think I already mentioned. However my favourite building is the Lippo Centre in Hong Kong at night.

What can we expect from you in the remaining months of 2015, and in the New Year?

I have a film I just made for Diesel that should be out soon. My feature film Goldbricks In Bloom may even come out before Christmas but I’m not 100% just yet.

Other than that I have a few short films I’m also working on. It’s been a busy year so far.