Film & video

The Music Videos That Have Inspired Director Lyona Ivanova

Discover the music videos that have shaped the creative style of the successful Spanish director

For many, Lyona Ivanova (@lyona) has the dream job: to imagine and create visual worlds for songs. The director has created over 100 music videos for artists including Love of Lesbian, Amaral, Leiva, Sidonie, Lori Meyers, Carlos Sadness, and many more.

Ivanova started developing a passion for film as a child when her grandfather was head of programming at a local cinema and organized Sunday sessions. As a teenager, she was inspired by Tim Burton's film Edward Scissorhands. Lyona started making home movies, and after finishing school, she enrolled at ESCAC (Catalonia’s School of Cinema).

The Music Videos That Have Inspired Director Lyona Ivanova 1
Director Lyona Ivanova

After graduating, ESCAC invited her and other alumni to shoot music videos for local bands in Barcelona. It was then that Lyona discovered her ideal format and began experimenting with different aesthetics in her work. "Fusing music and film united my two passions–they were transformed into one single format: the video clip,” she recalls.
Now, a few years after completing her first video, Ivanova looks back and lists the music videos that have inspired her the most. Take note.

Weapon of Choice, Fatboy Slim, directed by Spike Jonze

This American director is one of Lyona’s main references. Ivanova considers the “Weapon of Choice” video to demonstrate Spike Jonze's genius and sense of humor. The director plays with our expectations: Christopher Walken is an actor who usually plays villains or serious roles, yet here we see him playfully dancing and floating around in an empty hotel. "I love the way he flips his personality around, the way he plays with humor, and the way he captures it on camera.”

Praise You by Fatboy Slim, directed by Spike Jonze

While this video is another Spike Jonze-directed creation for Fatboy Slim, “Praise You” has a completely different style. Its aesthetic imitates a home video and, according to the BBC, it cost less than 800 euros to make. A fictional group, The Torrance Community Dance Group, dances in front of a Los Angeles movie theater. People who love cameos will be delighted: one of the dancers is Spike Jonze himself.

Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve, directed by Walter A. Stern

According to Lyona, "it may not be one of the best music videos in history, but it is one of the ones that has influenced me the most.” Lyona praises the way that the director manages to transmit the lyrics of the song without being literal. The lyrics talk about a guy who has no intention of changing. During the video, Richard Ashcroft, the band's vocalist, keeps walking in a straight line. He refuses to change direction or move aside for people coming towards him.

Another strong point is how, despite how simple the idea, the camera captures Ashcroft's charisma. It's very important to know how to capture the singer or the band’s magnetism and multiply it. Ivanova also reveals: "This video clip is to blame for the fact that many of my video clips are blue.”

Love Lost by The Temper Trap, directed by Dougal Wilson

Perhaps lesser known than Jonze's, Wilson’s work is, in Ivanova's opinion, surprising and ingenious. "His style varies greatly, so it is not always easy to recognize his video clips. They tend to have a pleasant and sensitive tone," she says.

The director's work often features children. In this video, a group of children are in a park running towards the camera. When they stop, they perform a dance routine. "It's a very British clip. It portrays typically English scenes: the countryside, the grayish lighting," says Ivanova.

Jarvis Cocker's Don't Let Him Waste Your Time, directed by Dougal Wilson

In “Don't Let Him Waste Your Time,” Jarvis Cocker is a taxi driver who gives a passenger advice as he drives through the streets of London. The post-production is incredible: the video clip was filmed in a studio using a green screen. All of the exterior shots were recorded separately and added later. There are many twists and turns and funny and clever interruptions. The action is very compelling.

If you’re passionate about music and film, how about producing and directing your own music video with Lyona Ivanova in her course, Creative Direction for Music Videos?

English version by @eloiseedgington.

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