TÊTE À TÊTE: QUENTIN JONES
In a freakishly cold warehouse in the shadow of the Olympic stadium in far eastern London, the crew shivered as a beautiful girl named Nadia punched the air over and over. Filmmaker Quentin Jones, coolly tomboyish in sneakers and a bomber jacket, leapt into the neon set and demonstrated a fighter’s stance: “A bit more like this.” The shoot for Quentin’s video for Kenzo’s pre-fall collection was a supercharged, inspiring day. We have been fans of Quentin’s collaged stop-motion films for a while now, and jumped at the chance to work with her on this piece. I asked Quentin a few questions as the film hits the web this week.
Rory Satran: It was incredible on-set to see how precise you are. Every movement is accounted for. Was there anything on this shoot that was surprising or improvised?
Quentin Jones: Every shoot has some aspects that are spontaneous - they are usually the best bits, but you need to have planned everything else meticulously to allow yourself the freedom to play around outside of the necessary shots.
RS: Everyone wants to know the basics of exactly how you make your collaged, stop-motion films. Can you describe the process very briefly?
QJ: It involves a digital layering up of handmade moving elements and moving frames of the girl/subject. It is kind of like sewing together different visual ingredients over a timeline.
RS: Your Kenzo girl is super strong and independent. How did you conceive of her? How do you see the new Kenzo?
QJ: We wanted her to be elegant, but have a hardness about her - a bewitching fighter. I think this sort of female reflects the collection - it is sometimes beautiful and soft with feminine prints and sometimes quite sporty and tough. I thought it would be cool to drop her into an urban playground, and see her warming up and playing with hoops and other structures.
RS: The stylist on this project was the very talented Agata Belcen, who is a Cambridge classmate of yours. How do you work with Agata?
QJ: Agata and I are pretty seasoned at collaborating on films together now, from bouncing initial ideas around, to making storyboards together, and not treading on each others toes too much on set. She made up the idea of the ribbon gloves for this film, which looked amazing.
RS: How did your philosophy studies shape your work in film?
QJ: I suppose/hope it shapes the way I problem solve within my work. I like to think I have a quite an analytical mind, so face visual dilemmas as puzzles that can be solved.
RS: We shot in the shadow of the construction of the Olympic stadium. Are you excited or freaked out by the impending U.K. Olympics?
QJ: I haven't really thought about it much, maybe because I don't watch a great deal of television. It should be a really fun time to be in London though - for parties and general summer vibes.
RS: Fashion film is a new(ish) phenomenon that you are definitely riding the wave of. How can film augment a brand's vision? What are some fashion films you've admired recently?
QJ: I think film allows a brand to create a moment of escapism into a world of their vision and personality. If they are successful, the audience gets to experience what it means to 'live' that label from their desk or bed. They need to be entertaining to capture new audiences, and not just pretty moving images.
Two of my favourite fashion films are by Stephanie Di Giusto, and Barnaby Roper (both not recent though!)
RS: Where do you work? Describe the scene: music, snacks, staff, view?
QJ: I work in an old factory studio in Camden, London. We are on a mezzanine level over another office, and our space is full of old props and scraps of illustration. I would say it looks more like an art space than one for film making. We eat peanut butter M+Ms, while over-dosing on Earl Grey tea. My assistant and old friend Kamila has much better taste than me in music so I force her to make us studio playlists...otherwise I punish her with 90s nostalgia on loop.
RS: What's next for QJ?
QJ: As usual most things are secrets until they come out - but for me personally I want each project to be new/distinct, and at least exciting for me to work on.... because then they stand a chance of being cool for everyone else.