- Wednesday, Mar. 28, 2018
Metaphors abound in “Right to Drive,” the new short film from director/cinematographer Sean Thonson of Supply & Demand, and partner/editor Einar of bicoastal Union. The doors of a BMW i8 electric coupe open upward like the wings of an eagle, signifying change and the freedom to soar. The hood of a falcon is removed, evoking, perhaps, a burka, or the shedding of old constraints. Suffice it to say that the piece, shot on spec, has a message, and that stunning imagery and visceral storytelling have been a hallmark of the pair’s previous collaborations, for Alfa Romeo, Corona, and many others.
“My 17-year-old daughter is very active politically, participating in the Women’s March and founding an organization named This Means W.A.A.R. - Women Against Assault and Rape. As a passion project, I wanted to do something she would get behind,” said Thonson of the project’s origins. He conceived the spot around news of women in Saudi Arabia finally being given the right to drive. “Supply & Demand came through for me, and we set out to see what we could do with a small crew, natural light and my usual rapid shooting style.” To meet his camel quota, the director used three stock shots, arming talent with rope to “lead” the dromedaries across the sand.
Thonson shared the project with Einar and Union Partner/Managing Director Michael Raimondi. “I saw the footage, and fell in love with it,” Einar recalled. “Sean had an amazing team. The light looked so perfect and consistent, it was like the golden hour lasted all day.” As he does with most projects, Einar pulled selects “until I was blue in the face,” he mused, “and my first few edits were so f***ing boring. It was linear, like a documentary. It wasn’t until Sean put his foot down and challenged me to do something unconventional that I locked him out for five days and went for it. When I let Sean back in, there was a huge smile on his face.”
One imagines Thonson likewise smiled on set, when he was shooting the Venus symbol that punctuates the film. “We were going to use the tire marks, but then the dust came up and moved and dissipated. It just happened in camera.” With the edit locked, and a track courtesy of Mophonics (“A great partner,” Thonson noted), “Right to Drive” is ready to stand on its own as a labor of love, or to find a wider audience. “I would love for an organization like Human Rights Watch or the United Nations to seize upon this and make use of it,” Thonson concluded, “but regardless, I’m proud of the piece itself.”
Union Editorial has offices in Los Angeles, New York, Austin, and London, where it maintains an alliance with Marshall Street Editors. The company also develops and produces original content through its Union Entertainment Group banner. Other Union companies include Resolution, a visual effects boutique specializing in commercials, features and gaming.
Union is presided over by Partner/Managing Director Michael Raimondi in LA, Partner/Executive Producer Caryn Maclean in NY and Executive Producer Vicki Russell in Austin. The Union roster is comprised of Partner/Editors Jim Haygood, Einar, Jay Friedkin, Sloane Klevin, Marco Perez, and editors Christopher Huth, Nicholas Wayman-Harris, Rachael Waxler, Daniel Luna, Jason Lucas, Kevin Ray, Laura Milstein, Eric Argiro, Karen Kourtessis, Zach Kashkett, Andrew Doga, Paul Plew, Teddy Gersten, Jinx Godfrey, Ben Longland and Nico Alba as well as select projects with Tim Thornton-Allen, Matt Chesse, John Mayes, Spencer Ferszt and the Marshall street roster.
Production Company: Supply and Demand
Director/DP: Sean Thonson, Executive Producer: Tim Case, Line Producer: Rita LeRoux, Camera Operator: Steve Green
Crane Car: Performance Filmworks
Postproduction Company: Union Editorial
Locations: El Mirage and Dumont Dunes, CA