We are sitting at a round table with New York-based music video director Blake Farber. As he talks about his childhood in New York, Farber seems to lose his train of thought. He stares at the window in front of him from where he can spot a carrom game in progress. He takes a long pause and tilts his head with a frown. Then he whispers, “I really want to go out there and take a top angle shot of the board, maybe make a small stop-motion film with the coins being tossed around.” He nods, snaps his fingers and, before we know it, he is back to talking about his childhood, as if unaware of what he just said.
Farber credits this compulsive, artistic eye to his photographer parents, and film-maker Stanley Kubrick, who inspired in him the ability to spot cinematic moments in everything he saw. Farber realised his calling for film-making when he was just 16 and made numerous music videos for Old York, his music band.
“I toured and met a lot of people within the music industry. The contacts I made snowballed into a number of music video projects,” he says. He subsequently got offers from Italy, Japan and Sicily to shoot independent music videos for local artists.
During a conversation with a friend, Farber even got an opportunity to shoot for RnB star Beyoncé Knowles. “My friend called to congratulate me on one of my videos. He went on to tell me that an artist he was working with at the time was unhappy with her music video director, and asked me if I could step in. He later revealed that it was Beyoncé,” he says.
Farber shot and edited Countdown in 2011, over the span of two days. “She was six months pregnant at the time. It was an awe-inspiring experience,” he adds.
Farber acknowledges that word-of-mouth publicity has contributed significantly to his career. It was again through a mutual friend that he was introduced to music producer and sound designer Ashish Manchanda. “I’ve wanted to come to India since 2013. I think there is tremendous talent here and a pool of opportunity. Moreover, I love how culturally rooted and diverse the country is. There is a story to be told everywhere I look,” he says.
Earlier this year, Manchanda and Farber embarked on a campaign that would provide an international platform to musicians in Mumbai. Titled Parivar Tea Canvas, the project will select seven artists from the city and give them an opportunity to work with Farber on an independent music video. “The only thing India lacks right now is an international outlook. I want to enable local artists to get a global outreach through my videos so that they can compete in an international music scenario,” he says.
Log on to parivarteacanvas.com to send in your entries. Seven finalists will get an opportunity to work with Blake Farber on individual music videos. Entries open till November 30.