“When Red Fox Ryder first approached me to make a music video, I don’t think he knew my grand ambitions with film making,” says Director Ben Dextraze when asked about his first music video. One that he also wrote, and produced with very little money.
“Being that I come from a background of journalism and documentary, I always found that having more is better — but in the purist world of cinema, shooting cans and cans of footage might get you in trouble” Dextraze admits.
“Especially if you don’t have the money (or time) to pull it off.”
The “run and gun” style video that he derived from Ryder’s song wasn’t exactly what the artist had in mind. The script called for a lot of location work in downtown Vancouver; magic realism that veers off into a dreamlike drug inducing love-coma, and it called for a lot of work to be able to pull it off. Multiple timeframes and states of consciousness coalesce creating a lovely story from the videos central question: “Where Did You Go?”
The story follows a homeless man searching for a young, beautiful woman — who seemingly haunts him. In fact, the story centers on a romance that ended in heartbreak for the man — one that keeps him living a deranged life that’s horrible to think of, yet for many people in the lower East Side of Vancouver it’s a sad reality. Drugs as a substitution for love, or a relief to the grief of loss and dejection.
Addiction, and mental problems — it’s a vicious cycle that people face in their lives–some everyday, others only at different points in their life; consider yourself lucky if you never face it at all.
“I had a lot of friends growing up who struggled with addiction,” Dextraze says. “Some of us got out alive, some of us didn’t — but just like falling in love, drugs and alcohol can take a tragic toll on someone’s life.”
For Dextraze this video becomes a representation of an environment urbanites know well, but extends it to a place that asks “what if”. What if you drank and caused the death of your beloved? Were you to blame, or maybe they blamed you for it because of drug or alcohol use — either way it asks the audience what would happen if they got caught in a spiral dive of their own making while intoxicated.
“It can happen,” Dextraze says. “I wanted to highlight that each of us have signed up into a social contract (whether we like it or not), and if we break that contract…”
For Dextraze, he hopes this video touches something in his audience that raises their level of empathy for those struggling with addiction and mental heath issues — whether one comes before the other or not. Having the notion that it could happen to you too might make people think twice about their social behaviors, including how they treat the people they see on the street —
“Someone you see [homeless] on the street probably has somebody asking ‘Where did you go?”