A new music video “Blackness of the Night” has been released as part of a multi-part film and music collaboration for Drag City Records between Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Bill Callahan, and a collection of musicians and content makers. “Blackness of the Night” was directed by Toby Hallbrooks for Callahan & BPB’s cover of the classic protest song by Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam). Hallbrooks partnered with Lucky Post to help bring to life a film that blends childhood wonder and haunting loneliness.
Hallbrooks, part of the creative filmmaking trio Sailor Bear, has collaborated with Bonnie “Prince” Billy (Will Oldham) on a number of past projects including short film “Pioneer,” which premiered at Sundance, “Ghost Story” and “Old Man & The Gun.” Oldham approached Hallbrooks to direct the first music video for the all-covers project. Filmed on Super 8 by Cinematographer Mike Simpson, the video features a young boy who wanders alone, serenaded by Billy and Callahan from a discarded television set. Lucky Post’s Neil Anderson was the color artist on the grainy, dreamy footage which was edited by Sai Selvarajan.
“This is an example of a truly collaborative process – one where everyone who worked on it was encouraged to bring their perspective and talent to the film while keeping our sights on Toby’s vision. When a director has confidence in what they’ve shot and lets the editor spread their wings and explore what’s possible, it’s really a gift. The song is beautiful, haunting, and moody and the footage marries perfectly with it.”
“This is a strange and uncertain time,” says Hallbrooks, “and while the song is beautiful and intense I wanted to impart a feeling of hope in the film. We can be alone, but that doesn’t always mean lonely. Collaborating with storytellers who love film – in this case old school Super 8 – is always rewarding, and feels more pronounced now. I look forward to our next project.”