Art and music have always been connected, but it’s tough to find anyone who blends these two worlds as seamlessly — or as creatively — as Natalie Neal. The LA- based photographer and director has already lent her magical vision to the likes of Kate Nash and Ruby the Rabbitfoot. Next, she’s jumping headfirst into her fantasyland with The Mirror Cube and musician/actress/cool girl Soko.
Neal kicks off the website’s monthly VISION SERIES — which features commissioned videos from rad indie artists –with her short film, I Still Chose to Stay. Shot in Neal’s signature dreamy aesthetic, Soko stars as a young artist facing troubles in her relationship. The film premieres tonight in LA, but get schooled on project from Neal herself and see behind-the-scenes images here.
What first inspired the project? I found Sara Sutterlin’s poetry! She is so talented, and I was just blown away by her honesty. As soon as I discovered her poems I knew I would want to make something with them used as voice over. I bought all her books and read through everything to make a selection for the film, and then my ideas for the visual element came from there.
How did you decide to link up with The Mirror Cube? I am a contributor to The Mirror Cube so they always keep close tabs on my new projects. As soon as they heard I was planning this project they were enthusiastic to be involved. We had a phone call to discuss preliminary plans and the rest is history!
Why did you decide to feature Soko in this particular clip?
I have photographed Soko to promote her music in the past, and when we met we immediately hit it off. Since then we’d always had plans to make some type of audio visual piece together, and I actually discovered her talent as an actress before I knew she was a musician, so when I thought of this script I asked her to do it with me. Her performance in the film is so compelling and I wanted to make the trailer all about her.
Your work has always had a strong connection with music. Why are you interested in this intersection between visual art and music?
I am naturally drawn to nonverbal communication and find that much of the honesty people reveal is in their body language or behaviors. When I communicate with an audience this way, there is naturally little to no dialogue and the music becomes a place holder for that.
Who’s your dream collaborator?
Artist Pepon Osario! I want to direct a film that he builds all the sets for. He is so brilliant.