Bruno Trivelli is a young Brazilian filmmaker and video editor located in Vancouver, Canada. His films tackle immigration, youth and mortality. Bruno works heavily with music videos and narrative films and uses his eclectic visual language to convey tones and feelings of surreal and terrifying dream-like stories. His production studio Death XIII is represented by the Death card in the Major Arcana Tarot which stands for sweeping change and transformation.
The 26 year-old was born and raised in São Paulo, Brasil and moved to Canada at the age of 18 to pursue filmmaking. After going to film school and working on multiple film sets developing his skills Bruno created his production company Death XIII, a place where he could have all of his work and stories connected.
His day job is working as a video editor and post production coordinator, he currently works under contract for a major TV company and two major film studios. He also freelance his video editing skills to other creatives and has edited various award winning Canadian short films and is currently editing an independent horror film that is aiming to be sold to a streaming service giant.
Bruno is currently in production for a TV pilot and in pre-production for a new music video single for Aversions new album “You Wanted the Bike” coming out in the spring.
What is the story behind your music video?
The song New Whip is loosely based on Nate Powell’s visual essay About Face, which examines the connections between consumer culture and the military industrial complex. For the music video, Aversions and I wanted to make something that tied in to those themes but also had its own story. We came up with the theme of inheritance of ideas, or the personalization of thoughts and feelings that come from outside of the “you”, and how these feelings have very little to do with actual lived experiences and how the adoption of ideologies is a spasm against the hard work of creating your own person.
These themes can be broken down to more subtle ideas of self harm and social conditioning.. We used militaristic motifs, which are obviously cliched, but we couched them in banal urban environments, which defangs them and turns them into a pastiche of indoctrination-as-a-theme.
What should people take away, gain, realize after watching your music video?
That it's important to see how toxic ideas can overcome anyone. There’s only really one character in the video, but we tried to suggest a multiplicity about her which makes her more representative, and seem like every person. Mundane forces have turned her into the worst version of herself, suggesting that anyone can be radicalized.. It’s a cautionary narrative but also one that encourages people to make active choices towards being a better neighbour, community member, friend, etc.
Do you think that films/music video can change people for the better or for the worse?
I think overall art has a positive impact on society. But it's up to you as the viewer to take positive lessons from it that can better your view on life and the lives of those around you.
So, it depends. Anything can be good for people, it's up to YOU to make that a positive learning experience.
How was the creation of your project at the time of COVID-19?
COVID made us much more aware of how to safely create projects like this with the little money we had available. And maybe that just ended up making us more savvy on how to approach filmmaking on a tight budget. This whole music video was shot with a skeleton crew. The band members joined the crew and were actively involved as producers on set.
The entire crew was made up of myself, the band, the actor, the director of photography and an assistant camera.
What creation style did you use in the production of your project? What cameraman elements did you use?
When I’m not making my own films and music videos, my day job is being a video editor, so I am constantly thinking of visual themes and tones for my projects and how things will be cut in post production. For New Whip my original thought, that I brought to the band right away, was the idea of filming the protagonist from behind. Avoiding the character’s eyes for most of the video disconnects her from the audience, and allows for a moment of connection at the video’s climax..
Another key element of this video was the usage of slow motion and harsh light sources aimed straight at the character. I wanted this to feel like we were a voyeur following this character from behind, seeing them as they transform into something violent; letting the camera represent the audience as a character in the narrative.
How did you select the actors for your project?
Anastasia Vedmedenko, the main actor of the music video, is one of my closest friends and a phenomenal visual artist. We’ve always joked about working on something together and when we started talking about this she just kept popping up in my head. Ana’s sense of fashion and the way she is as a person, in my opinion, was the perfect parallel and harsh contrast to the character that she becomes through the story, so I thought it would be great to have someone who is naturally very much the opposite of a macho radicalized military person transform herself into that. Visually I thought that would speak volumes. Anyone can become this monster that Ana’s character becomes by the end of the story. Her instagram is @shyfuck go check out her art! A lot of it also deeply inspires me on a daily basis.
Why do you think your film should appeal to distributors?
I think Aversions has a very unique sonic language that has made me a fan from the first time I listened to them and it really complimented my visual language. As someone who is always so focused on visuals and how things look it’s important for me to find music that connects to that in a meaningful way. I think New Whip was a stellar production made with under $1000 USD, and I honestly think if given a proper distribution budget, both the band and I could create amazing work capable of reaching a wider audience.
At which festival has your film been screened?
This is the music video’s Festival Premiere! We filmed this in the summer of 2022 and released it this winter so you are the first people to watch it in a film festival!
We have submitted it to various other festivals but their notification dates are still a few months away. Excited to see this project make its way around the globe!
How did your acquaintances react when they first saw the music video?
I think I have a very supportive circle of people I love and they all really appreciated it and made some great comments. Some mentioned the war in Ukraine, which funny enough, Anastasia, our lead, is Ukrainian and has family there. We never saw that side of the film since we were so focused on the Western views of military and war, but these themes really are universal. Others mentioned far-right terrorism that looms over us, and some mentioned mental health and depression in regards to when the character beats up someone in the street for us to later discover that character is her. It’s been encouraging that the impressions and takes from the people we showed it to were as multifaceted as the video’s themes.
If you could change something in your music video, what would it be?
I think that with the limited budget and time we had, we ended up cutting corners to make something tight and fluid for a 3 minute music video. The character’s transformation could have been explored more if given more time. Also it could have been nice to have more of the narrative showcase what the character was like before being radicalized. If given more time and a budget, we would’ve definitely have explored those issues further.
Which movies are your favorites and why?
Ha! Impossible to answer this! But I can tell you about movies that inspired me to make this music video! Both me and Sam Coll from Aversions are big fans of cosmic horror and Lovecraftian horror, which has always been a hard medium to convey in film but Alex Garland’s “Annihilation” (2018) was heavily used as a source of inspiration. I am also a sucker for Apichatpong Weerasethakul and his film “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” (2010) is one that I will always have visual connections to. Finally, I think one film that I have constantly strong feelings towards is “Stalker” (1979) by Andrei Tarkovsky. All of these films heavily influence my visual language.
What topics do you like to address in your stories?
I think my storytelling strongly follows tones and feelings first and foremost. I tend to figure out topics and themes as I start creating what type of emotions and energy I want my story to have. I’m never seeking a certain topic because for me, honestly, the carnal emotion that I take from watching something is always more important to me. People can take whatever ideas they want from my films. For New Whip, Aversions and I talked a lot about the feeling of isolation and paranoia for the song and how that could correlate with the story. Only later, as we were deeper into the story-building of the project, did we settle on the motifs of war, extremism, radicalization etc... So with that said I think a lot of my films tend to follow themes related to the human condition and the struggle of existing and the questions that are brought up in regards to how we exist, socialize, work, etc.
What is your motivation in making music videos?
I honestly think I’m my most natural self when creating music videos. I think they are boundaryless; they lend themselves so well to experimentation with visual ideas; things really come to life so easily as soon as dialogue and longform narrative are removed from the equation. As much as I love working on short films and feature films, I really think my most vibrant work comes in the form of music videos. Being someone who is extremely picky about sound design and music in film, I think the opportunity to have an established song and audio that you can create your visual story from is captivating. Music videos motivate me daily to be a better visual storyteller.
Which contemporary filmmakers motivate you the most?
I’ll keep it short and straight forward, at the moment the filmmakers I am most interested in are Gaspar Noé, Hiro Murai, Kyle Edward Ball, Panos Cosmatos and finally but definitely not least is Yorgos Lanthimos.
What projects do you plan to shoot in the future?
Aversions has an album dropping this year called “You Wanted the Bike” and it is fantastic. We are working on creating another film before the album release for another one of their singles, so keep an eye out for that! I am currently days away from filming a surreal comedy TV Pilot with some of the best comedians in the scene in Vancouver and I am pitching to one of Canada’s biggest genre film festivals (Fantasia) a horror feature film about a young Brazilian immigrant who is stranded in a cold Canadian winter storm and runs into something that may or may not be his father. The project is called “Crocodile” and I think it's a culmination of all my powers of storytelling and visual tone jam-packed into one terrifying story. I can’t wait to be able to tell it!