Monday, May 03, 2010

Must see video: Up There

A dying art, painting large-scale ads on the side of buildings takes a huge amount of skill, foresight, and passion. The following documentary, "Up There", shines a spotlight on these artisans, showing their professional highs and lows in a beautiful, touching way. Do yourself a favor and watch this video all the way through (12:46 min total, but you'll feel like a better person for having watched it):

Wasn't that amazing? And on so many levels??

Each character is endearing, and I want to sit with each of them on a rooftop (hands wrapped around a hot cup of coffee) and ask more questions. It's clear they take huge pride in what they do, and who blames them after seeing the skill it takes to paint giant scenes on the side of whole buildings? It makes me glad to live in NYC, one of the few cities still employing such craftsmen.

The film is impeccably shot, too, with great pacing and a soundtrack that adds (but does not distract). "Up There" was conceived by the advertising agency Mother, one of the few companies that sets out to make meaningful work, not just another buck. It was produced by Mekanism, and directed/edited by Malcolm Murray, and presented by Stella Artois.

And the "surprise twist" at the end? It's an ad, but you’re not hit over the head with a sell (at least not until you see the final product of these men’s work). I mean, mega points to Stella Artois for facilitating this, as the documentary says "we take pride in our craft" without some stupid mascot screaming those words at you.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, and don't be afraid to give it a second or third viewing :)

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