There are very many films addressing the subject of climate change. Let’s hope that the stark simplicity of this film, by Prettybird director, Jodeb, makes it cut through the tyranny of money and the cowardice of politicians.
The film is part of a fictional narrative series, Survival Season, which was made for video channel, Nowness, to coincide with World Oceans Day. It made its debut on June 7 and will run as a week-long special program with social exclusives and four new film commissions, each inspired by a different Earth element.
Jodeb was commissioned by Nowness’ Shelley Jones on the strength of his past work, including his early short, Language, with its lush wildlife visuals, and his recent dystopian film, Linger. Aside from Jodeb, other contributors for this program include Sandra Winther, Jon Emmony, William Farr, Nina Holmgren, Satish Kumar, Wilson Oryema, IGNANT, Daniel Kukla, Luke Shadbolt, Cici Xiang, Wilson Oryema, Cat Morrison and Clo.
“When we set out to commission Survival Season we were keen to find directors who had a natural sympathy with the ideas we wanted to explore,” Jones explained, “so that instead of simply responding to our brief they could take this opportunity to realise a passion project and create something meaningful and impactful… We loved the way he was able to elevate his storytelling with clever conceptual twists, arcs and incredible VFX skills.”
Jodeb was inspired by the classic novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and chose water as the central theme behind his contribution to Survival Season. He grounded his story in the immediate, tangible problem facing a young fisherman trying to feed his family in rural Mexico, using this metaphor to demonstrate that climate change poses an impending threat to humanity’s livelihood. The striking underwater scenes were filmed in Banco Chinchorro, Mexico, next to coral barriers and real-life shipwrecks with little to no visual effects.
Jodeb is Jonathan Desbiens, a Canadian filmmaker from the small town of Shawinigan, Quebec. He started doing his own VFX at 12 years old, while making skateboard films with his friends. After studying fine arts at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières he developed his style by studying directing, editing, colours and visual effects himself.
Jodeb’s work often depicts unique human experiences with a focus on finding authenticity in inexplicable situations. He prefers going above and beyond literal interpretations of songs, using music videos as a platform to explore narrative storytelling. He has spearheaded videos Skrillex, Imagine Dragons, Swedish House Mafia, the Weeknd, Cypress Hill, Zedd, Porter Robinson, Deftones, Tinashe, Halsey and A$AP Rocky.
In 2015, Jodeb created an intricately dark interpretation of Point Point’s Life in Grey, highlighting an artist’s desperation for societal respect in a way that inspired a complex combination of nostalgia, depression and empathy. More recently, his flair for cinematography and worldly subject matter was demonstrated in a 21-minute promo for Skrillex titled Still in the Cage.