Directed by Academy Film’s Novemba, who have been recognised at Cannes and the D&AD, Who We Are is an eight-minute artistic collaboration between well-known musicians, film-makers and dancers. Blurring the lines between musical, visual and choreographed expression, Who We Are looks at the everyday heartbreak of being a parent and the deep, complex emotions that swell beneath the surface.
Taking place in intimate, familiar settings, the overarching focus of the multifaceted short film is on the unique pieces of raw, emotional expression from two individual characters: a father who is grappling with the difficulties that come with being a newly single parent, and a mother who faces unbearable tension and hostility from her teenage daughter.
A creative collaboration between music, film and dance, Who We Are is fully realized by two debut Who We Are songs as the short film’s soundtrack – “Book at Bedtime” and “Daydream” – as well as Novemba’s signature visual style and enthralling choreographed performances by Anna Watkins and Dickson Mbi, the world-renowned dancer best known for his ‘body popping’ skills who has worked with BALMAIN, H&M, AUDI, Black Eyed Peas and CHVRCHES. By collaborating and using a different form of music and film, Who We Are shows their intention to use their music to show the stories that bind us all together and that where there is love, there is hope.
Sharing their thoughts on the short film, as well as both “Book at Bedtime” and “Daydream”, Who We Are explained: “We’re so proud that we brought this collaboration to life. There was such great chemistry between all the artists. We stuck to our ideals and principles of equality and collaboration with no compromise. The balance between music, film and dance was hard to strike but we stuck to the message of the film: where there is kindness and love, there is a way forward.
‘Book at Bedtime’ is inspired by the fact we are both fathers who are close to our children. We’ve both been through difficult times in our family lives. We wanted to write about the precious time we spend with our children one on one. We are all trying to pass on the best of us to our children and prepare them for a tough world, with love. We want their emotional inheritance to be healthy and happy so that they can pass it down the generations. ‘Daydream’ was written during a turbulent time for Tommy. He was looking for escape. This song is about the different voices in our minds that want to distract us and the one wise voice that wants to save us – our true selves. We wanted to write that we aren’t defined by our mental state – or illness – we’re always in the right place and it’s just part of the journey. The line in the lyric “Wake up, get on your feet” is a call to arms – listen to your wise voice, your true nature.”
Who We Are is comprised of vocalist Tommy Jules, who built a reputation for himself as Rudimental’s live vocalist and Professor Green’s official DJ, and Simon Bass, one of the most sought-after composers in the industry who has won four Cannes Lions and crafted sounds for influential artists like Madonna, David Guetta and Sigur Ros.
At the start of carving out their journey together, Who We Are is a gripping example of creative excellence which serves as just an initial stepping stone to show the world who this promising musical duo are. With their debut EP expected later this year, this introductory short film is an insight into the wondrously creative capabilities of Who We Are.