Meet Mark Gustov, the young Canadian director looking for adventure.
Interviews • Written by Maggie Joyner & Ellie Cameron-Krepp
Based in California, Dan Dowding is an award winning filmmaker and visual artist, and is known for his experimental video installations and merging old technology with the new. After the release of the music video commissioned via Genero, we caught up with Dan to chat about bringing nostalgia to life in his playful take on ‘Kids in America’.
It’s always refreshing to get that perspective reinforced that LA is iconic because when you’ve been living here for over a decade and a half and working as a filmmaker you’ve shot all the iconic locations dozens of times. However, filmmaking thrives in LA for a reason and that’s because there are all these different nuanced pockets full of lush textured environments and character. Venice Beach will never lose its magical allure to me and I always get excited to go there.
As an ’80s baby I’m all too familiar with the original track and it was quite intimidating to have to interpret the iconic lyrics visually during a pandemic. I tried not to overthink it and stick to my concept of making something commercially appealing using American tropes. I think it’s a pretty stereotypical play on what it’s like to be a kid in America and I think with such an iconic song it’s hard to go with anything more experimental. The car is a symbol for the American dream and a vehicle for the video moving them from location to location. Nothing says the American dream more than a red mustang convertible driving down the PCH, am I right?
Nothing says the American dream more than a red mustang convertible driving down the PCH, am I right?
I think this is where I was able to put my own spin on a common perspective and why it made sense for me to make this video. I’m a partner of a company Media Pollution that specializes in creating nostalgic technology-based installations. I mostly pitched the video around having a nostalgic TV 90s room installation of sorts. We own tons of old vintage electronics and props which we’ve been collecting and restoring for years.
My partners and I have been making these technology-based installations for over 6 years professionally now. It’s brought us opportunities to work with some top-tier talents such as David Hasselhoff, Bad Bunny, Moneybagg Yo, and brands such as Nike, Spotify, and MTV. Our nostalgic brand Media Pollution has been a great platform for us to connect with creators and often sets me up for directing opportunities.
I got to work with my team in the city that I love creating television installations. I don’t know what to say beyond that because I feel incredibly lucky to get to make films with my friends and crew. Just getting to make a project that falls in line with our brand so well is a highlight in itself. Specifically, though I’ve never driven a classic car and I went to Pomona to pick up the mustang and I got to drive it on the highway for almost an hour with the top down.
I know this video comes across “normal” which was an extremely hard thing to achieve during a pandemic trying to highlight several locations across LA. We did our absolute best to stay safe and follow guidelines but at the same time there is an idea attached to the music that coincides with rebellion and we also wanted to catch a glimpse of that. I think more than anything the idea behind the video is that being a kid in America means not only being able to go wherever you want but being able to be whoever you want as well.
My partners and I have moved our company Media Pollution to an even bigger space here in Los Angeles and are really focused on video production. We hope to collaborate with Genero again on potential future projects and we’ve just finished doing an installation for the MTV Movie Awards UNSCRIPTED.
Director/producer/editor: Dan Dowding
Director of photography/color: Jack Schaefer
Assistant Director: Chaz Ahern
Art: Brian Fox and Veronica Gessa
Styled: Veronica Gessa
1st AC: Mike Campbell
Filmed at/Video Installation: Media Pollution Studios
Cast: Royce Nowacki, Joe Akira, Liliya Mirnaya, Riley Soriano, Savannah Tarver & Anika Gibbs.
Interviews • 10min read