- Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016
Joining Vimeo’s growing slate of original content is the video-sharing website’s first concert film, Toro y Moi: Live From Trona. Shot on a minimal stage in the Mojave Desert and directed by Harry Israelson of BUNKER, the film’s setting and approach recall classic concert films of the 70s. The accompanying live album, recorded concurrently with the film, will be released both digitally and on limited-edition vinyl.
Israelson, who has collaborated with Chaz Bundick of Toro y Moi for many years, was working on a documentary about the artist when inspiration struck. “I was tagging along on a tour shooting him on the cheap, on VHS. We were at the last show in Joshua Tree and watching that concert in the desert, the setting felt right. The idea to do a concert film struck.”
A fan of concert films of the 70s–––Pink Floyd: Live From Pompeii and The Band’s The Last Waltz, among them–––Israelson concepted the film as not only the documentation of a performance, but also the making of the film itself. “From a story standpoint, the making of the film, the challenge of going out there, is part of it. Watch the film and you see the obstacles and the process.”
Among the obstacles the crew faced were windstorms, flat tires, a fast-moving sun, and the ten miles of unpaved road leading to the Trona Pinnacles, a geological wonder of rock spires featured in Planet of the Apes. Before their last take of the day, the keyboardist got his fingers stuck in a door, cutting it badly. The medic wrapped his hand and the show went on, the keyboardist singing his harmonies for the final song before getting rushed to the ER for stitches.
“Years ago I saw a screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark, a 35mm print, and Steven Spielberg gave a Q&A and they were showing behind the scenes photos,” says Israelson. “I realized the process was as much of an adventure as the story of the film itself. 80s short shorts, t-shirts wrapped around their heads, that was the filmmaking I wanted to do. To be in the elements.”
Israelson is signed to BUNKER, an artist-founded production company that works in advertising, art, film, fashion, music, and technology.
The film screens this week in NY at House of Vans and LA at The Theatre at the Ace Hotel, followed by Q&As with Israelson and Bundick.
Trailer and preorder available on Vimeo here: http://vimeo.com/ondemand/tym