Over the weekend, multimedia star Nadine Lustre surprised everyone with the launch of her visual album, Wildest Dreams, in time for Halloween and her birthday.
Released under James Reid‘s Careless music label, Nadine’s Wildest Dreams is a 32-minute splendor of the folkloric tales, cosmic fantasies, and all things avant-garde brought to a modern light with six new songs penned by herself with Bret Jackson, Massiah, James, and Marcus Davis, more than 70 styled outfits, and a different mediums of graphic and visual arts.
To help bring the “dreamscape” to life, James and Nadine tapped a former collaborator Dominic Bekaert of Zoopraxi Studios to direct the visual album.
“Each song/video presents a new stage in Nadine’s interior journey, helping her realize things about herself,” the director tells in a Manila Bulletin story. “We move from a dark and doubtful mood in the first video, towards a brighter sense of discovery and self-appreciation.”
In a conversation with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle, Dominic shares how he became part of Nadine’s visions and how creative visuals today provide not just a better platform for storytelling, but a new music experience.
What made you decide to be a director?
I came back to the Philippines from Paris, France in 2016 to head the National Film Archives of The Philippines. We worked on restoring Filipino classics (Maynila, Insiang, Batang West Side, Gengis Khan, and others…) because I have a masters in film preservation. After working at Film Development Council of the Philippines, I freelanced doing commercials, music videos, even corporate work such as Ballet Philippines 50th anniversary videos. In January 2019, we decided to open Zoopraxi Studio, an AV production company, and started making music videos and commercials.
How was it like collaborating with Nadine for the Wildest Dreams? How did you become part of the project?
We’ve worked with Careless thrice before. We shot a small featurette on them for Vision Express, then we made the “Soju” music video for Curtismith that James Reid really liked so he asked us to shoot “Fiend” (by James and Just Hush with an appearance of Nadine) that won best urban video of the year for the Myx 2020 Awards. Careless really enjoyed working with us so they contacted us for one or two music videos for Wildest Dreams. After listening to the album and it’s message, we offered to make a visual album with a storyline that we presented and to our amazement they accepted. They gave us their trust and total creative freedom, we felt extremely honored by this and didn’t want to disappoint.
It’s a stylish and modern visual album. What is your inspiration/concept for it? How’s your process?
We wanted to push a story about self empowerment and fill it with love. We believe it’s what the world needs right now. We wanted to tell people that they all have pearls in them and that they can access them by trusting themselves, their vision and their dreams. We decided to play with the Alice in Wonderland structure but placing it in the Philippines. We wanted to tell the story through symbolism and talk to the audiences’ subconscious (like dreams do). We played with the image of the phoenix, the Maria Makiling tale, the agimat, the lotus growing, the star system (production line and scanner), etc.
Do you have other collaborators in shooting Wildest Dreams?
We are a small team that likes to multitask and have adapted to the new shooting requirements.
I am the director, DP, editor, and visual effects artist. Clementine Comoy is our line producer, color gradist, and did some props. Our gaffer Sean Palomares also did one of the animations. We worked with stylist Lyn Alumno, production designer Mikki Garcia, and choreographers Sherwin Casepe (Gforce) and Madge Reyes. I wrote the story and dialogues are co-written with Quintin Cu Unjieng and translated by Sarge Lacuesta. We also brought in a very good friend and actor to play the opening character Miguel Hernandez.
“We wanted to tell the story through symbolism and talk to the audiences’ subconscious (like dreams do). We played with the image of the phoenix, the Maria Makiling tale, the agimat, the lotus growing, the star system.”
How long did it take to finish shooting? Was it challenging to do it this time of pandemic?
The shoot was planned in a month, then we had 17 days in the studio, three days on location.
There were challenges but as a small efficient team, we were able to adapt easily. We were very lucky to not encounter any cases during our shoot.
What do you want to achieve with it? And how important is it to have strong visuals/videos to match music these days?
I wish to prove that contrary to what some people say, the audience here is ready and excited for a new type of visuals and content and that’s the job of creatives to push the envelope. I believe that the pandemic does not allow musicians to do live shows so we need to find new ways of sharing the musical experience.
Watch Wildest Dreams here: