- Articles | Series
- Columns | Departments
- Publicity News
- Events Calendar
- PDF Back Issues
- Trending Now
- My Membership
Sharon Van Etten's "Seventeen" Music Video Love Letter to NYC Enlists the City's Emerging, Groundbreaking Talents
- Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019
With the release of her new album "Remind Me Tomorrow," Sharon Van Etten is back on the new music charts for the first time since 2014. However, even before the much-anticipated LP dropped on January 18, the New Jersey-born singer-songwriter had shot herself back into pop-culture's spotlight, due in no small part to the strength of her new album's single "Seventeen," and its surrounding, high-profile promotions.
Described as both a love letter to NYC and an upbeat nod to Bruce Springsteen, the song co-written by Kate Davis inspired American Songwriter magazine's Jim Beviglia to call out Van Etten's "moody yet propulsive atmospherics," and her "insightful storytelling."
Demonstrating the full power of the music video to engage music fans worldwide, director Maureen Towey's film for "Seventeen" (http://vevo.ly/KR3q3u) is a show-stopping tribute to Van Etten's rising superpowers. Cinematically distilling the nostalgic past, its fusion of emerging, groundbreaking talents simultaneously conjures the future, resulting in a modern day classic that is incredibly moving.
Clearly, Van Etten leads the show, and yet, the project's underlying story sparkles in countless shimmering facets. They rise to the surface as Towey recounts how the subject matter took form. "Sharon started by giving me a deck with a list of meaningful New York and New Jersey locations," she began. "Places that had nurtured her, even if they have since disappeared."
Towey continued, "We expanded her idea to include a younger version of Sharon. We were lucky to find Rachel Trachtenburg, a musician in her own right, who captured Sharon's spirit so well. They were both so game to climb through rat-filled parking lots and scream on ladders in the rain."
Yes, that Rachel Tracktenburg: guitarist and vocalist for New York-based trio Wooing, who also happens to be a model signed to Elite Model Management. Most likely, you have seen or read about her in Vogue, Nylon, W Magazine or The New York Times.
Speaking of the Times, Towey's own achievements there as senior producer for The Daily 360 helped establish it as the world's first and only daily source for virtual reality-driven journalism, beginning in 2016. The director-producer has worked as creative director for Arcade Fire, Ray LaMontagne, and Esperanza Spalding, among others. A highly accomplished cross-media author and theatrical director, she is also a Fulbright scholar (South Africa), a Princess Grace fellow, a TCG Leadership U grantee (Berkeley Rep), and a PBS/AOL MAKER.
As of last week, Towey is also the newest director added to Free The Bid, the 501c3 non-profit advocating for women directors to have equal opportunities to bid on commercials in the global advertising industry.
With help from Miranda Kahn, her producer for "Seventeeen" whose other credits include serving as UPM for the 2018 feature film "American Terrorist," Towey confirms her choice of shooting her Van Etten love story on Kodak Super 16mm film. For the cinéastes, directors of photography Frances Chen and Charlotte Hornsby used the AATON XTR for principal photography, with Canon 8-64mm T2.4 PL lens. Film processing was handled by the Kodak Film Lab New York.
Additional insights from Towey reveal the on-screen artists' commitments to the project. "When we scouted the water shot at the Round Valley Reservoir, it was a beautiful sunny day... but when we were actually shooting, it was pouring down rain, so we were only able to get one or two takes of each shot," she explained. "It brought a wonderful, moody urgency to the images. I'm just so glad that Sharon and Rachel were so game!"
Praising all the magnificent ingredients and players reflected in the final product, Towey also expressed her admiration for editor Livio Sanchez and his colleagues at Cutters Studios. Building on her past collaborations with Sanchez for Arcade Fire and The National, Van Etten inspired both creatives deeply.
"I see the video as an iconic throwback to New York City at the end of the 20th century," said Sanchez. "Shot on film, processed, scanned and converted to digital video, the files we received from Kodak were scanned and transferred at full gate, which had to be resized to 16x9 in Adobe Premiere.
"No VFX were used in this video," he continued. "However, the full gate frame had a very retro, graphic look that I loved. I experimented with using it to create a sort of 'picture book' feel during the first chorus, where portraits of Sharon are revealed in front of various locations from her time growing up as an artist in the city. I left them in the first rough cut for Maureen. She liked it, and the full scan frames stayed."
After commending Sanchez further ("he has great ideas and finds new moments of beauty in the footage"), Towey spread the love to all involved: "I was eight months pregnant when we were shooting and editing this piece so I am very grateful to have such a generous team of collaborators. They trusted me throughout and proved that a very pregnant lady can still lead!"
Project credits also include executive producers Aaron Dean Eisenberg, Zeke Hutchins and Kraegan Graves. The stylist was Dianna Lunt, with hair and makeup by Shannon Rae Mulligan. Colorist credit goes to Rob Sciarratta of SIM Studios. For Cutters Studios, Elizabeth Krajewski is executive producer, Stephanie Rose is senior producer and Katie Traurig served as assistant editor.
Learn more about Sharon Van Etten, "Remind Me Tomorrow" and her upcoming tour at http://www.sharonvanetten.com.
About Cutters and Cutters Studios
Established in Chicago in 1980, Cutters has cemented its reputation as a premier provider of extraordinary editing and post-production artistry, and today it's among the world's largest independent editorial companies. Based on its solid reputation for world-class editorial talents, family values and truly great leadership, over time, Cutters has opened successful studios in Kansas City, Detroit, Los Angeles, Tokyo and New York City. With its partner companies Another Country, Dictionary Films, Flavor and Picnic Media, Cutters Studios is a global creative company, representing unlimited full-service creative capabilities. For more information please visit http://www.cuttersstudios.com.
Project Name: Sharon Van Etten's "Seventeen" Music Video
Running Length: 4:27
Debut Date: Jan. 8, 2019
Main Tools: AATON XTR 16mm camera; Kodak Super 16mm film; Canon 8-64mm T2.4 PL lenses; Adobe Premiere.
Official Site: http://www.sharonvanetten.com
Starring: Sharon Van Etten, Rachel Trachtenburg
Director: Maureen Towey
Producer: Miranda Kahn
Executive Producers: Aaron Dean Eisenberg, Zeke Hutchins, Kraegan Graves
Directors of Photography: Frances Chen, Charlotte Hornsby
Stylist: Dianna Lunt
Hair/Makeup: Shannon Rae Mulligan
1st Assistant Director: Laura Klein
1st Assistant Camera: Marcus Odom
2nd Assistant Camera: Mike Gialloreto
Gaffer: Jesse Ruutilla
Key Grip: Lloyd Hembrador
Swing: Eren Gedikoglu
Caterer: Titus Mitchell
Production Assistants: Rich Rogers, George Beno, Julia Lesser
Music: Sharon Van Etten's "Seventeen" from the 2019 album "Remind Me Tomorrow"
Record Label: Jagjaguwar Records
Sound Consultant: Dave Rosenberg
Editorial Company: Cutters Studios
Editor: Livio Sanchez
Executive Producer: Elizabeth Krajewski
Senior Producer: Stephanie Rose
Assistant Editor: Katie Traurig
Film Lab: Kodak Film Lab New York
Color Company: SIM Studios
Colorist: Rob Sciarratta
Camera Rental Houses: John Kopec, Du-All Camera
DWA for Cutters Studios