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Monday, February 21,2011

OU grad student directs Akron/Family music video

By Alexander Marietta
Matt Brunson, a film production graduate student at Ohio University, recently directed the newest music video for the Brooklyn-based band Akron/Family.

Brunson worked with his team of Chris Lange and Mike Gray to design and produce the video for the psychedelic band’s single “Silly Bears” off its latest album “Akron/Family II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT” released this month.

Akron/Family formed in 2002 and has since roamed the country, defining its location as “adrift” on its website’s biography.

The video begins with a stuffed bear, a robot and a stack of cardboard boxes that acts as a projection screen for most of the visuals. The band requested a video with enough flare and fantasy to match its musical style.

Akron/Family asked for “general awesomeness and fantastical wonder” for the video, adding it should be “fun and wonderful and clever and creative. Like (Michel) Gondry meets (David) Lynch on a vision quest for deep, subliminal, creative, childish wonder,” Brunson said.

“They didn’t have a specific story in mind,” he said. “That was something we had to come up with, and they said it was all right, just don’t make it too silly.”

The OU School of Theater also assisted in the production of the video, Brunson said, making costumes and contributing actor Cole Woodruff, an OU senior. Allie McCarthy, a senior from the School of Theater, helped as well, and Rebecca Whittington, a graduate student in the costume department, made the adjustments to a prop bear suit from the play “Dissocia,” which was performed last year at OU.

All the elements come together to make a tender and strange film, following a teddy bear on a psychological trip through space. Brunson and his team used striking visual effects to complement the bizarre and capricious musical styles of Akron/Family.

The outcome pleased the band, Brunson said, and it seems to have pleased the audience as well.

“People seem to like it, and that’s good,” he said. “There doesn’t seem to be too much s*** talking about it.”

Brunson, who was born in New York, said he has been a longtime fan of Akron/Family and happened upon the chance to make the music video while working on a short horror film.

His team for the horror film used an Akron/Family track, and when they requested the rights to the music, the band offered to give them usage privileges in return for making the music video.

The band and Brunson’s team communicated infrequently for about a year until the project actually came to fruition, he said. They wrote it in a few days and completed filming in two weeks.

“Silly Bears” is the first track off Akron/Family’s fifth album. SPIN magazine highlighted the video online, and gave the band an 8-out-of-10 review, calling it fuzzy, tribal and filled with child-like wonder.

The video is available to watch on YouTube at


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