Interview with Musician Jonathan Bareford (CLEAR music video)

CLEAR, 5min., USA, Music Video
Directed by Jedidiah Roberson
Clear is about the clarity that our environment is in danger and understanding what side you are on. It’s proof that anyone can be changed to respect nature’s beauty, you just have to see it for yourself. It’s the urgency that something has to be done now, and that it cannot wait. That we all have that rebel in us that wants to do what’s right.

Get to know Jonathan Bareford:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I’ve always been inspired by the landscapes of ice caves and glaciers. It reminded me of red rock slot canyons but in the form of ice. When I finished my last music video, I wanted to dive deeper into the story of trying to save the environment but this time about how overwhelming environmental preservation can feel when half of the world isn’t interested in helping. That made me want to take on a good vs evil action style to this video in sort of a vintage NASA aesthetic. Something that would feel more relatable like an old action movie and inspire people to really think about the concept and our environment.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

It took about 3 years to complete this project. Some of that is due to the COVID lockdown but as you would imagine, the logistics and costs of this project were substantial. Especially when this project was funded only by myself. On top of that, I really wanted to execute my vision as close to perfection as possible and that meant reshooting certain scenes in Alaska if they didn’t work out well in Iceland. Or going to a power plant in Massachusetts if I didn’t get what I needed in Iceland. It didn’t matter how long it would take me, I just knew I had to get it right and I’m so grateful I gave this the time and effort it needed.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

Breathtaking, Chilling. (literally or figuratively!)

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

The largest obstacle was most likely when our team had to find new shoot locations after we learned that a road that takes you to east Iceland was closed to weather conditions. We were in south Iceland and still had to make our way to north Iceland for an important shoot location so going to the west route was a lot longer and costly. And dangerous for the timeframe in which we had to get there. We found new shoot locations along the way but the drive was very treacherous and long with terrible weather conditions. I luckily had help from my team but the risk factor was real high looking back. Our impromptu plan ending up working out, but that was a moment where I felt that I was pushing my limits a bit too far.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

It was so heartwarming! Hearing people connect with my film and feel excitement over the same things that excited me throughout this project felt amazing. Those connections really help validate all the hard dangerous work my team did, and I hope that I inspired them to want to visit these stunning winter wonderlands one day.

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

After I helped create my first music video, I feel in love with filmmaking. I’ve always been a visual person even in songwriting. Sonically, I always have an image of nature or piece of art or color that I use as inspiration for my music. And as I got into filmmaking, I learned that I can take those images and colors in my head and make them come to life with the music. So being inspired by nature, it only made sense that I would take my journey in filmmaking to some of the most incredible places on the planet.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Most likely Interstellar. It was a stunning sci-fi movie when it came out and visually I couldn’t get over the VFX and how real it all felt. This movie pushed the limits in filmmaking especially with its score and VFX and to this day, I still get immersed in it.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other
festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

I think one thing that I’ve enjoyed the most about a festival is an in-person screening. Being able to see my film on the big screen with my team and connect with audience members that same day are lifelong memories. And being able to network with other filmmakers is another great opportunity. While the virtual screening is still a wonderful experience, an in-person screening in a theater is a whole other experience.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your
experiences been working on the festival platform site?

FilmFreeway is great! I love being able to browse festivals that fit my brand and narrative and track all the festivals I’ve submitted to. It’s a very seamless process.

10. What is your favorite meal?

I’ve recently really been into Oaxacan food and their mole. I love the mix of great Oaxacan Mexican food and mezcal.

11. What is next for you? A new film?

This year I’ve been focusing on my new role as a father to a beautiful baby boy and bringing my JONO experience to the live stage. I’ve been working on some new songs that I hope to then work into what will be a short film (or one really long music video). That may take some time to get right with some tentative shoot locations in Africa so I’m in no rush there. Keeping my bar high on what I want to accomplish!


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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