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We chat to the director of Bomba Estéreo's viral music video - ‘Soy Yo’

Interviews • Written by Ellie CK, Creative Community Manager

Colombian duo Bomba Estéreo’s music video for ‘Soy Yo’ is one of our favourite videos – ever.

Commissioned via Genero, the brilliantly colourful and cheeky piece was shot in Brooklyn by the talented Danish team from The Woerks. Full of attitude and quirky character, the video is a perfect match for Bomba Estereo’s ‘Soy Yo’, the next official single from the band’s most critically acclaimed album to date, Amanecer.

It was a team effort by the crew behind this one, so to find out how they pulled it off, we caught up with director Torben Kjelstrup just after the video was released to chat about capturing NYC on film and bringing the story to life.

What’s your filmmaking backstory? How did you end up becoming a director?

I am an architect by education but have always loved making films. It really all started when I was employed in a local theatre during my studies. I met a director and a producer who was also working there at the time and we just started producing small rock and roll productions and began working our way up. I never imagined it would take me this far back then!

You directed this video for Bomba Estereo with The Woerks. Can you tell us a bit about who was involved in the production?

The Woerks is a Danish production company who are always up for pushing the limits of how films should be made. We were a small team of a DOP (Snorre Ruge), a set designer (Marie Boye), a producer (Camilla Agerskov) and me with the same desire to make something unique and fun for this great tune. Camilla is amazing and very experienced in producing these kinds of music videos and without her on board I’m sure it would have looked a lot different!

Bomba Estereo The Woerks Soy Yo BTS
Bomba Estereo The Woerks Soy Yo BTS

When we first watched the Bomba Estéreo video, we were immediately taken by the main young girl. She has so much attitude, it’s brilliant! Can you tell us about the process of working with her? Did you get lucky with casting, or did she take great direction?

Sarai was amazing to work with. We were in a great position of having a lot of cool young kids to chose from, but Sarai stood out as something on her own – especially her dance moves caught our attention! She is a great fan of Disney films but with little experience in participating in films. We had some long and tough days and she was pretty much featured in all the scenes but she really stood up to the task and got it right in the first take almost every time. I’m very impressed by the way she handled it!

The narrative plays so well with the unique characters of the city, as we meet the basketball players, the dancers etc. Was shooting in New York an important part of the story you wanted to tell?

New York definitely added a lot! We considered shooting it in Denmark but felt that the New York cityscape would allow for a broader array of people on our main character’s path. I love New York and would love to shoot there again!

Visually, the video is so incredibly striking and fun. It feels really well put together thanks to the colourful costumes, great hairstyles and fantastic props. Did you have a really strong vision for all of this from the beginning, or did it come down to collaboration and a final result on set?

These things are always created through a collaborative process with the set designer and the DOP. That said we were all pretty much on the same page from the get-go and our set designer Marie’s extraordinary eye for picking out items from 99 cent stores didn’t hurt either!

You’ve described yourself as being “all about stories, humor and visual trickery”. Are those the most important things to you in filmmaking?

Humor is such a difficult genre and a great challenge that I find myself wrestling with over and over again. Humor brings together elements of filmmaking, and to make something truly funny – in my opinion – all the elements need to come together perfectly. Sound design, camera movements, set design, timing, dialogue and music are all tools you can apply in creating a good ol’ joke.

Although there’s a lot of humour in ‘Soy Yo’, it’s also a beautiful shot video! Can you talk us through the gear you used?

Sure. Snorre and I teamed up with Tim Sessler – a New York steadicam operator and DP – whose work I have admired for a long time. He had a Movi and a Red Dragon which we fitted with Anamorphic primes to add some warmth and texture to play along with the beautiful and texturized Bushwick backdrop and soften up the digital output of the Red. It’s my first time working with a Movi but certainly not the last!

Thanks so much for chatting with us! What can we expect to see from you next?

No idea yet but hopefully something with a touch of humor – I am open for suggestions though 🙂

A huge thanks to Torben for chatting with us, and a big congrats to him and everyone who worked on the video.

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