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Watch This: Sparks- 'One For The Ages' By Chintis Lundgren

Cult American band Sparks are back with a new album this year, following up 2017's hit Hippopotamus, their biggest in over 40 years. A single taken from that album, Edif Piaf (Said It Better Than Me) got a fantastic animated music video by UK filmmaker Joseph Wallace. Now three years later, their latest track has got another animated video. One For The Ages is directed by Estonian animator Chintis Lundgren, co-founder of Adriatic Animation and best known for the acclaimed short Manivald, which was nominated for numerous awards including Annecy, Sundance and SXSW.

The video has Chintis's distinctive style and unmistakable character design. She tells AFA how she first became involved with the project, after Wallace shared his video with her. "As an admirer of their music, I was very surprised by this and had to ask Joseph about how this came to be. In the end, I jokingly said that he should recommend me for the next video. I didn’t actually believe this would ever happen, mostly because my style is so crude and I couldn’t really see that in a Sparks video." But two years later, out of the blue Chintis received an email from their manager "and the rest is history." Just goes to show, it's always worth asking, kids!

The video was conceived by Chintis, although the band provided regular feedback and made a few suggestions, including one specific request. " I hadn’t planned to use the little round creatures but since the band saw an older film of mine featuring them (Montego, 2011), they asked if I could find a way to incorporate them," she says. "I liked that advice because it gave me a way to show the surreal story the main character dreams about."

Work In Progress

The inspiration for the video came from the song itself. "I liked the reference to “that quiet guy from accounting” in the lyrics of the song, so I decided to go for a story about an accountant who fantasizes of creating something big. I found the lyrics to be very relatable, I think most of us have unrealistic dreams about one thing or another but we rarely do enough to achieve them. Also, the main character in this video spends more time daydreaming than actually working on his idea." That relatability is a theme throughout Chintis's work. They may star cartoony anthropomorphic animals, but their experiences, issues and foibles are very human.

The video has a very hand-drawn look, and this is created by a combination of traditional and digital techniques.  Chintis created animal versions of Sparks members Ron and Russell Mael.  "I had first thought Ron should be the main character in this story, [but] looking at how naive and dreamy the Russell character looked, I had to change their roles."

The director collaborated with her Manivald co-writer Draško Ivezić on the project. Chintis first created an animatic version of the video, and then her and Draško worked together on brainstorming the final concept. After getting the go-ahead from the band, the animation could begin.

Chintis produced the artwork on paper, before colouring it in Photoshop and compositing it all together in Adobe Premiere.  Draško meanwhile creates the backgrounds in TVPaint. " Each background in this film is drawn five times, to have that nice shaky line, something that gives some liveliness to an otherwise static setup."

One For The Ages is taken from the forthcoming Album A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip, due to launch May 15 on digital platforms and on CD, Vinyl and cassette July 3.