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The Arcade Fire - Afterlife, Directed by Emily Kai Bock.
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The Prism Prize Seeks the Best

The Arcade Fire's Afterlife wins the second annual Prism Prize. Prism Founder Louis Calabro gives us the inside scoop. Check out Afterlife and the other shortlisted videos here.

By Magnus Thyvold (First published March 16, updated March 30, 2014)

With the music video experiencing something of a renaissance, the Prism Prize has come along at just the right time. Now in its second year, the Prism Prize aims to put the focus on the filmmakers and the videos rather than celebrity hijinks. Find out more about the Prism Prize at"Despite there being a couple music video awards still kicking around in Canada," explains Prism Prize director and founder Louis Calabro, "we felt the focus of these awards had been lost over the years, and at the same time, the people behind the truly original video work were still not known or discussed in popular media" The Prism Prize wants to change that. "Often the videos and bands are known, but the directors, cinematographers, producers, etc. are not known.  Further exploration into the work of these Prism Prize Founder Louis Calabro
Prism Prize Founder Louis Calabro
individuals showed me they had a lot to offer, and were true creative forces."

With the Prism Prize it is the filmmakers who win the award. On March 23rd, at a gala evening in Toront,o the Prism Prize was awarded to Emily Kai Bock for her video for The Arcade Fire's Afterlife, which tells a tale of a loss and love and the struggle ofccarrying on in a compact seven minute film. Bock was the only filmmaker to have two video's in the shortlist with Majical Cloud's Childhood's End also making the list.

Between YouTube and social media, music videos are easier to find and watch than ever before and easier to promote. With that has come renewed interest from artists and labels and a lot of exciting creative energy from filmmakers. The more than 150 videos on the Prism Prize's long list demonstrated a huge range of approaches and visions and often impressive production values. “I think the idea we have of the traditional music video (a band playing or singing in front of a waterfall, or a burning house) has been thrown out the window, as filmmakers look for new ways to represent the bands they make videos for.  Many of the directors on our top 10 list have decided to keep the bands out of the video completely, and to tell a story in a different way,” says Calabro, who is also Director to Awards and Special Events for the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. At the same time, filmmakers are finding more creative freedom. “Whether that takes the form of a non-narrative concept, or a straightforward story with characters and dramatic devices, the filmmaker is making the decision that makes the most sense for them, and the project.”

The long list was reviewed by more than 100 jurors (including the author) drawn from the music industry, media and the film community. Based on their votes, the short list of 10 videos was announced on February 18. You can view the short listed videos below. A further round of voting will choose the winner

This second edition of the prize has proven to be a strong sophomore effort  and Prism is already looking to the future. “The main goal is to continue to honour excellence,” says Calabro, “but in the near future we hope to become a peer-reviewed music video funder, i.e. setting up a system where “healthy” juries made up of filmmakers, artists, curators, journalists, etc., decide who should be granted funding to make videos. This way the money goes to the right people, the most promising talents in the country.“

Calabro seems pretty bullish on the future and importance of the music video form in Canada. The Prism Prize aims to help make that outlook come true. The Prism Prize winner will be announced at a gala in Toronto on March 23. Check for updates and more info.

Find more about The Prism Prize online.


The Prism Prize Shortlisted Videos

Hollerado - So It Goes – Marc Ricciardelli

Shad - Fam Jam – Che Kothari

Majical Clouds - Childhood's End – Emily Kai Bock

Arcade Fire - Reflektor – Anton Corbijn

The Belle Game - The River – Kheaven Lewandowski

Young Galaxy - New Summer – Ivan Grbovic

Key n Krates - Dum Dee Dum – Amos Leblanc

Drake - Started from the Bottom – X & Drake

Jessy Lanza - Kathy Lee – Lee Skinner

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