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February 6th, 2015

After winning at last year’s Adcan awards and recently shooting the stunning new video for emerging singer/songwriter Liv, young directing duo Filmawi Efrem and Esreal Alem will soon be taking the industry by storm with their refreshing energy and style.


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Upon completing their project with Liv titled ‘Come A Little Closer', the duo were offered positions as Junior Directors at Partizan and are wasting no time in getting stuck into a range of jobs, most recently Walking On Cars ‘Always Be With You’ and a three part project for Fiat ‘The Power Of X’.

We sat down with them to find out how their first major promo came to fruition and how Mill colour assist Oisin O’Driscoll got involved to enhance the final result:

Tell me a bit about yourselves and how this project came about? 


Esrael: Myself and Filmawi first met at a summer course at a university when we were around 15/16. We were doing a black and white film photography course, didn't know anyone and just started talking. Filmawi is a talented photographer and I on the other hand…well… let’s just say film didn't get on with me. I spent the rest of the course learning from him, which lead to us being really good friends and subsequently making videos for our friends over the summer. We enjoyed working together and making videos and when we were 19 directed our first video for a major label Warner Chappell Music.

Filmawi: This project came about in a very unorthodox way. We heard a song on the radio and we really liked it, so found out the management of the artist and just contacted them saying we wanted to work with him. We got an email back saying that the artist had just done a video for the song we had inquired about, but if we were interested we were free to pitch on a video for a new artist…Liv… so that’s what we did!

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What appeals to you about collaborating as a duo? 


Directing is a lonely job if you do it on your own!  The two of us can bounce ideas off each other and we both bring different expertise and life experiences to each idea. Having two of us is also a great thing when on set; because we both have such different skills we can split the workload and just makes things flow easily.  Who also wouldn't want to work with their best friend on something they are passionate about!

Teamwork makes dream work.

What was the inspiration behind this promo?


The main spark for the idea was the lyrics; "come a little closer’ … They really resonated with us, and we wanted to create something that opposed those words. We came up with the concept of dancers walking around the singer, expressing frustration that they couldn’t touch her, and from there the initial idea was born, which led us onto Krump (a style of dance known to be very free and exaggerated). The idea is that Liv is at the centre of the action, we see her in four different scenes, with each scene filmed as if it is an art installation and Liv is the main piece.   

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The video is styled by GQ, how did they get involved? 


We wanted a strong stylist as we were aiming for a high end fashion look, and the label were able to secure us Victoria Higgs, who is the fashion editor of GQ.  It was an amazing opportunity for us to be able to work with her – we’re huge fans of her work.

What role did The Mill play in the final result?


We worked with Oisin at The Mill on the beautiful grade. As this video is very different to some of our previous projects, we needed someone who could help us create a something from scratch, a new look. Oisin just got exactly what we wanted straight away!

Oisin – how did you work with the guys on this project?


I had a few different ideas for the grade, which we then worked closely to develop, bouncing ideas of each other until we achieved the final look. It was a really collaborative process and they were fantastic to work with. We went for a glossy look with a cold sheen over it, using a lot of Teal and trying to really bring out the skin tones of the actors. I’m really happy with the final piece and can’t wait to continue collaborating with the guys in the future.

What’s next for you both?


Having recently won the Adcan award for an Open Cinema commercial, we have now gone on to be junior directors at Partizan. This next step will hopefully give us the platform to grow as directors and develop a more rounded style. Partizan is a company with years and years of experience taking young directors and nurturing them to become some of the best in the industry… Hopefully this will rub off on us! We are super excited what the future brings.

Follow Filmawi (@filmawi) and Esrael (@esraelalem) on Twitter and check out their website for their latest work…