January 26, 2010

Seen: I'm Here

Spike Jonze's new 30-minute short I'm Here premiered at Sundance this week; it will eventually air in full on the Absolut Vodka-backed minisite imheremovie.com and IFC. For now, however, here's the trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LW8vWcLJYXI

Is brand integration the future of (monetized) short-form content? Spike's been quoted as saying he doesn't treat the creative process behind his music videos and ads any differently than that of his feature films. In the case of I'm Here you have to imagine Absolut was familiar with his body of work and allowed him creative freedom in bringing his vision to life. However, getting notes from a studio is one thing; getting notes from a brand is another beast (entirely or not). Spike himself has addressed the issue of creative compromises before, with his aborted first feature film, a 1994 adaptation of Harold and the Purple Crayon:

TriStar had been pressuring him to make the script jokier, [Spike] said, and he’d given in to the point where he barely recognized his own work. “I realized only then that it happens millimeter by millimeter,” he told me. “If you compromise what you’re trying to do just a little bit, you’ll end up compromising a little more the next day or the next week, and when you lift your head you’re suddenly really far away from where you’re trying to go.”

The New York Times article also features a glance into the production of Being John Malkovich, which -- like almost any great studio movie -- was produced under extraordinary circumstances. Polygram was being acquired by Universal at the time and Jonze et. al were basically left to their own devices; thus he was able to get away with, you know, startling originality. As rare as it is for studios to allow an artist complete creative freedom, then, I suppose it's possible that brands could be the lesser of two evils. Not likely... but possible.

[via Directors Notes]

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