Ned Botwood - 17th Sept 2019

Leonn Ward directs this anthemic pastoral, a hymn to self-acceptance and the healing power of the countryside. It’s a rapturous new beginning for Michael Kiwanuka.

In You Ain’t the Problem, Kiwanuka recounts a hard-won lesson: it’s not you, it’s them. And in his first solo clip since 2017’s totemic Cold Little Heart, Kiwanuka celebrates that lesson. He communes with a group of revellers in the fields and halls of English farmland.

Irish director Leonn Ward makes a compelling case for herself as music videos’ premier Romantic. She has a painter’s eye for colour and beauty, and the ability to draw intensely felt performances out of her collaborators: I challenge you not to be moved by Joy Crooke’s tearful lament in Since I Left You

Her style is a lush minimalism. She and Deepa Keshvala, DoP and regular collaborator, render these pastoral settings with a theatrical simplicity that foregrounds the joy of her characters. These landscapes are depicted as a gorgeous playground. You’ll see just wheat and sky, a curtain or a wall, and an effervescent gang of people.

Ward also shows off her credentials as a fashion photographer. The styling by Ola Ebiti, a kind of contempory, light-touch Pre-Raphaelitism, is essential to this balance: her subjects are dressed in vibrant primaries, and as they move, they pass through the frame like running washes of colour. For this, we can also thank Jack Mcginity, the award-winning colourist behind ASOS's toybox-toned Go Play campaign.

PRO Credits


DirectorLeonn Ward
ProducerHolly Wolfers
Production CompanyBlack Dog Films
Executive ProducerMartin Roker
1st ADBryony James
Director of PhotographyDeepa Keshvala
Focus PullerMichael Hannides
WardrobeOla Ebiti
HairAfi Attipoe
Make-upTheresa Davies
EditorElise Butt
ColouristJack McGinity
Grading companyCHEAT
Post production companyTrim Editing
Post ProducerPolly Kemp
Post ProducerOlivia Jessop
CommissionerEmily Tedrake
Other creditsProduction Assistant: Milly Stell Directors’ Assistant : Stephanie Okoye

Ned Botwood - 17th Sept 2019

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