Late last year we saw the release of Mila V’s exquisite EP, CRACKS. This 5-track body of work proved itself to be a breakthrough moment for the artist; fighting against the repressions of the industry alongside reflecting on past relationships. Deep, and sentiment-driven, this EP built a story waiting ready to be told, and now, alongside this defining EP, we are delighted to share the latest edition to CRACKS alongside the stunning imagery conveying the tale by the director of photography, Sami El Hassani. This short film was made in collaboration with multi-disciplinarian, Jessica van Halteren aka. Mulas Hybrid Haus. And the pair, alongside stylist and Art Director, Ricardo van Lachterop, sat down with Glamcult after the premier of the film last Thursday at Kanal 40 to deep-dive into the inspiration, each other’s involvement and the creative community they have built.
Firstly, congratulations! Let’s begin with how this collaboration came about…
Jessica: Last summer, Mila and I were talking about making a new short film together. She mentioned her collaboration with Patta Soundsystem, in which she dropped the EP, CRACKS. Immediately we thought it would be so epic to make a short film that presented all tracks on the EP. From there, we worked out a concept with Patta to create garments designed by MHH [Mulas Hybrid Haus], made from reworked Patta items. Once we had finished the concept and the artistic direction for this short film, we immediately knew we wanted to include Ricardo for styling, and also for him to work with us on the creative direction.
What qualities or aspects of each of your artistries make you a good match?
Jessica: Mila and I have worked on so many projects already together. At this point, it feels like she almost reads my mind and vice versa when it comes to creating. She is like my work sister. On the other hand, we are never afraid to discuss, clash, or be critical of each other. With this, we are a good match because we share the ambition to make work that is on the edge and continue to push each other to do so. I feel like with Ricardo’s involvement in this and upcoming projects, we will spice up our collective work even more! With his sharp eye for detail, it feels like everything comes together.
Mila: Yes, I agree with Jessica, and now, together with Ricardo, we are working on my first fiction movie… so I feel very blessed to have them around me.
Ricardo: When Mila and Jessica asked me to collaborate on this project I immediately said yes. Our dynamics working together is very balanced; we can be very critical of each other’s ideas, without ever taking things personally. We really lift each other up and elevate one another in this way.
This short film tells such a strong story: is there a narrative or point of inspiration that you began with in building the concept?
Mila: The concept of the EP is different stages of repression in a relationship, so we wanted to create metaphoric moods that built up with each track. We did, however, switch some scenes around in the edit. You never know exactly how the visuals unfold and sometimes you have to let go of the exact image you had in your head.
Jessica: We wanted to emphasize the emotions behind the tracks on the EP. We worked through all the tracks and decided that by making one video, consisting of five one-takes, the independent tracks would come together as one. The outfits were also designed with the tracks as their starting point.
Riccardo: For me, some ideas actually came to me and Mila when we were on a vacation in Croatia, not knowing these would be used for this project. For example, we were partying and saw an empty space on top of a hill with bright lights on when there was nobody inside the building. This inspiration-pint came back in the third scene of this short film.
…And specifically: what is the story behind the opening chair/martini glass!? (love it)
Jessica: It was a journey… The original idea was to put Mila in a floating pod (spa situation), which had to symbolize birth or a womb. We wanted to place this pod in a space that had nothing to do with a spa environment. But moving a floating pod of 300 kilos was not possible – so we looked into other bath-like options.
Mila: I went searching online for options and suddenly I had this light bulb moment of a burlesque act in a giant glass. So I searched online and we found this girl that made her own glass for her act and rents it out. I like taking objects out of their context.
I love that reference, and even though it was adapted, this symbolises a whole other re-birth moment. Another reference I’m intrigued about is the glass timer and conveyer belt… tell me more!
Jessica: All objects are abstract symbols of breaking up or letting go. The conveyer belt emphasizes showing a process, like life in general, is a process after all…
There are many influences at play within the film; horror being one, in what way has this genre been a point of reference?
Jessica: When we work on projects like these, we indulge ourselves in outspoken styles and energies. In this case, it might be slightly dark energy, but we would not necessarily call it horror…
The entire styling and make-up direction is a whole story in itself, how would you describe the creative approach to styling?
Riccardo: First Jessica started off by creating designs made from Patta items. To balance out the looks I thought of working together with DeMask, a latex brand I’m a big fan of, and Mila really knows how to wear these items with phenomenal energy. Mila told me about her emo-era which instantly inspired the make-up and hair look for this video. Together with Sammy (make-up) and Igor (hair), we created looks that are strong, sexy, and freaky, but also fragile and even a bit estranged. All of this allowed us to really capture the mood of her emo era and also the energy after a breakup.
This film just debuted! Any preliminary thoughts on sharing this project with the world?
Jessica: We are mainly just happy to share the results! We have been very busy with other projects as well. Mila pointed out the other day that every project should be celebrated, so we will.
Words by Grace Powell
Watch the short film above or here!
Directed by Mila van der Linden
Co-directed by Jessica van Halteren
Production by Luc Hueber
DOP by Sami el Hassani
Clothing design by Mulas Hybrid Haus using reworked Patta items
Styling and Creative direction by Ricardo van Lachterop
Concept and production-design by Mila van der Linden & Jessica van Halteren
Art direction by Jakobien Veling
Gaffer Jan Nelemans
Bestboy Jür Naring
Focus Puller Pepijn Nuiten
Steadicam Tim Zetner
Make-up vt Samuel Does
Hair by Igor Zynwala
Set Photography by Pasqual Dominic
PA by Stephen Buitelaar
Edit by Stan Vriend
Grading by Wietse van Bezooijen
Sound design by Mayo Hoppen
Equipment by Cinesupply & Lightunit
Starring Mila V, Yannick Slagter & Stephen Buitelaar