Late last month, hundreds of music fans of all stripes gathered at SIFF Cinema’s Uptown Theatre for the first annual Sync Music Video Festival, taking in a menagerie of outstanding music videos.
Throughout the two-hour program there were the type of big collective laughs you only get in a cinema, as well as some audible sighs at the pastoral beauty and human drama projected onto the big screen. There was also a whole lot of awe inspired by the evening’s featured directors, each of whom painted the screen with a wide range of styles and visions, sometimes with little more than a vivid imagination, an iPhone, and $6 worth of popsicles.
That festival, presented by Artist Home with help from SIFF and Seattle Weekly, was a celebration of the music video and a moment for a community of videomakers to gather, show respect for each other and the art form, and trade stories about 3 a.m. shoots and credit card debt.
But while the organizers—of which I am one—reserved that night for a celebration of the community, we also wanted to take a moment to shine the spotlight on a single director. And so it is with great pleasure that I announce that Sync’s clandestine jury of music and film professionals has returned from its sequestration and announced that Stephan Gray has won Sync’s first-ever “Outstanding Director” Award.
Gray is a 30-year-old Seattle director and proprietor of Gray Matter Productions who has worked with Kingdom Crumbs, Champagne Champagne, Dark Time Sunshine, OC Notes, Fresh Espresso, Metal Chocolates, Macklemore, Sol, and The Physics. His Sync showcase featured recent videos for Iska Dhaaf and Don’t Talk to the Cops, as well as a world premiere (and I think award-clinching) video for Raz Simone’s “They’ll Speak.”
“Very honored,” Gray said after learning he had won the award. “It was an awesome event. There was some really incredibly cool content on the big screen, all night long.”
Along with the award, Gray will receive all proceeds from Sync ticket sales to put toward his next music video project. We plan on seeing that money in action next year during the second annual Sync Music Video Festival.
It’s difficult to replicate the power that Gray’s videos had on the big screen, but you can try. Here they are; just imagine yourself in a room with an attentive collection of music fans and at least four incredibly talented young filmmakers.
"Happiness," by Iska Dhaaf
"Gimme That 80's Butt," by Don't Talk to the Cops!
"They'll Speak," by Raz Simone