Emily Kai Bock is the rising star of the Vimeo generation.
what do silver-screen trailblazers David Fincher and Spike Jonze have in common? Before they made a name for themselves as filmmakers, they workshopped their most whimsical ideas via music videos for artists like Madonna and Björk. Today, the reality for fledgling directors is far from easy. And yet, through thick and thin, Toronto-raised, New Yorkbased Emily Kai Bock keeps blowing people away with her 35-mm-exclusive endeavours.
Whether she is enhancing Grimes’ spellbinding electro or Arcade Fire’s epic alt-rock, the 31-yearold director conjures up worlds that are at once expansive, enigmatic and profoundly intimate. “With YouTube, Google and Vimeo, images have never been more in the foreground,” says Kai Bock. “People are watching videos more than ever; it’s how we experience music.”
With filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson singing her praises and Lorde calling on her to cook up a Lynchian companion piece to her latest Hunger Games single, Kai Bock is the closest thing the music-video world has to a shooting star—and a hardworking one at that. She toils away on advertising gigs for clients like Coca-Cola and Diesel to be able to, as she puts it, “make four or five music videos for free.”
Kai Bock is also juggling a debut feature and a doc about her experimental-music pals Tonstartssbandht. She’s such an in-demand creative commodity that one tends to forget she cut her teeth in an industry that’s akin to a locker room full of camera-toting dudes where women rarely call the shots. “We live in a culture of girls as spectators, where we watch the guys do all the important stuff,” suggests Kai Bock, when asked why we don’t see more women in the director’s chair. “A big reason why I give interviews is to encourage more women to put themselves out there and not be afraid of technology, of getting their hands dirty or scraping their knees. It’s way more fun that way.” MICHAEL- OLIVER HARDINGh