I can't even begin to describe the jolts of glee that shot through me while I was on the phone just now with my friend, the talented An-Josefien Falelavaki. She co-directed/co-produced/co-edited and acted in the new Faberyayo & Stippenlift video for their beautiful track "Faber's Theme (Verdwaald in de Wereld)".
AJ was approached by Dutch filmmaker & photographer Sandder to come up with a concept that needed to have "that specific Belgian feel"
AN-JOSEFIEN FALELAVAKI: "At first Sandder was thinking about shooting in Charleroi to get a certain sense of desolation, but since in our ten years of knowing each other he had already been in my own hometown of Aalst and Pepijn (aka Faberyayo, ed. note) and I had met a couple of times as well, so he kind of knows what I am about, I had a different idea. I wanted to use my own upbringing and background of being an isolated and depressed teen as an inspiration and backdrop for this video. So the house we shot in is actually the house where I was mostly raised by my beloved grandmother, who took me in when my mom couldn't. My aunt -who's a cut-throat business woman now- felt a bit embarrassed that I was going to show this to other people and said: "Everybody's going to think we're a bunch of degenerates." I told her we shouldn't be ashamed of it. I'm completely ready to use my feelings of detachment and being depressed to make great art."
KNOTORYUS: You should. And wow. I'm so glad to see a video that actually feels like a piece of someone instead of a piece of someone else who even got it from someone else and then watered it down some more. Tell me a bit about Sandder.
AN-JOSEFIEN FALELAVAKI: He is amazing and he directed my favourite video, Bastian - "You Got My Love". For this video we did together, he is responsible for all of the beautiful still life photography, while I was taking on the role of Ron Jeremy. (laughs) We produced and shot this over the course of two weekends, but Sandder lives in Amsterdam while I'm situated somewhere on the outskirts of the Belgian wastelands with no equipment whatsoever. Obviously there was a lot of "making it work" and having blind faith in each other.
KNOTORYUS: It obviously worked and I can't wait to see more of your work.
AN-JOSEFIEN FALELAVAKI: I'm happy to hear that. You know that back when we were kids, suffering mentally and being poor and lonely wasn't something you could make memes about on IG and get messages from an audience that thinks the lousy state of your mental health is so cool. (laughs)
KNOTORYUS: We're talking about three different decades here, my love. The youth's, yours and then mine. But agreed and go on.
AN-JOSEFIEN FALELAVAKI: This video feels like my calling card for the second part of my life and I'm ready to do more. More music videos, a short film, ... I had to fight for a couple of things though, for instance, getting that shot of my naked ass in there.
KNOTORYUS: Flawless as ever. I can't believe you had to fight for that, though! But I think it's very you to direct your own naked shots in a video even though no one was asking for them.
AN-JOSEFIEN FALELAVAKI: Right?! The artists' management came back with the note that the butt came at a very random time in the video and they didn't get it. But I told them: "I need to have this in there for later. Then in ten years, I can look back at this video and know that this was me. I did that. I decided this."