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Want to see something cool? Ask a director where to look. Scouting out the perfect location, one that sets the scene for whatever they’re shooting, is part of the job. We talked to six Canadian music video directors who’ve made films all over the world about which spot they’d pick if they could film anywhere in Canada. Their answers made us want to buy multiple plane tickets.
Borrow some inspiration from the people who spend their days in search of it, and head to one of these awe-inducing Canadian destinations for your next trip.
Metric – “Collect Call + Expecting To Fly”
“It’s impossible to pick a favourite place in Canada to shoot. My most memorable was probably my first MuchFACT ever, and that was for a band called SIANspheric, way back in the day. We took the Muskeg Express—a train that runs for two days straight north from Winnipeg, up past the tree line to Churchill.”
“We shot the landscape of the train ride, and filmed the northern lights when we were there. Once up there, we hired a helicopter (he gave us a great deal) to fly us around, and show us some icebergs. (They were small that time of year).
I’d love to shoot some more in the prairies—the land of giant skies and magic hour that lasts forever. I’d also love to shoot something in PEI—only because that’s one of the places in Canada I haven’t been to (or shot in) yet.”
Broken Social Scene – “Sweetest Kill”
“I never fully appreciated the landscape of British Columbia until after I left. I grew up in a northern coastal community called Prince Rupert. Prince Rupert had a dark, mysterious quality to it—like a David Lynch film. It sat on the ocean, with a vast natural harbour that Orcas would sometimes accidentally swim into. If you headed in the opposite direction of the harbour you’d end up on a highway littered with lakes, surrounded by a rainforest. But at the time, all I wanted was to escape to the city.”
“Now that I have that life in the city, I think about my ideal place to shoot and it would be back in BC, in those dense natural rainforests. But really, I think they have been informing my work all along: dark, moody, but kind of beautiful and mysterious.”
Walk Off The Earth – “Little Boxes”
“I’d love to film a music video on Baffin Island in Nunavut. The landscape is stunning… and visibly changing rapidly thanks to climate change. It’s one of the most beautiful places on earth, but one of the most costly to film in due to the remote location.”
“It’s a challenging place to step into as a filmmaker and storyteller, but it’s a part of Canada we should all be looking at and learning more from. While the arts, culture and music communities there are vibrant, presenting the landscape and people through the lens of a “popular” artist’s music video can critically expand the discussion about what’s happening there to a younger generation. All while creating a photographic, beautiful piece that’s honest, compelling and inspiring.”
PUP – “Dark Days”
“A few years ago, I came up with an idea to shoot a music video in the Alberta Badlands. My idea was that Canadian actors Deragh Campbell and Dan Beirne would play a millennial Bonnie & Clyde, who were constantly robbing banks and posting selfies after their iconic crimes. The video would open with them doubling on a bicycle, evading the cops. We would track the blossoming and eventual bloody tragedy of their relationship—the amazing schemes they pulled off (which were of course cross-posted to Instagram), the terrible fights in seedy hotels as their reputation grows stronger as both the coolest outlaw couple on the lam and total fame-whores.”
“The video of course culminates in a bloody shootout in the Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, inspired by my love of classic ’70s films Badlands, Easy Rider, and Zabriskie Point. I think this national park is so stunning and iconic and it’s my dream to make this video for a band like TOPS, Arcade Fire, PS I Love You or July Talk. So hit me up!”
Sebastien Grainger – “I Hate My Friends”
“I’d love to make a video in Hamilton. Growing up, I split my time between my parents in Gravenhurst and Hamilton, and Hamilton felt like a big city to me. I had a lot of independence there. I’d go to Jackson Square and wander the creepy dark hallways. The architecture is really cool. I spent a million hours in the big brutalist library, walking through the fish and flower markets to get there. Then later my dad and I would go on a walk in the conservation areas surrounding the city. The steel plants and huge dirty industry loomed over the harbour and fire shot out of the factories. It’s just a bizarre place unlike anywhere else I’ve been.”
“I actually pitched a video for Molly Rankin that was set in Hamilton. It was for a song on her solo album called “Tricky Fellows.” I don’t think she ever ended up making any videos, but I love that track and that whole EP (“She”). I want to use “Way Home” in something, it’s one of my favourite songs. I can listen to it for hours.”
Bahamas – “Lost in the Light”
“With no parameters regarding the project, I think I’d most like to shoot in the Yukon, in the summer. I’ve never been there (another big reason for this choice) but it seems like there is a magic there and the landscape is obviously unreal. I’m not sure what the concept would be or what story I’d be trying to tell, but I think I’m attracted to the emotion and power of the landscape itself and that’s something that draws me to want to shoot up there. Having basically hours and hours of ‘magic hour’ would be pretty great too.”
Like this post? Check out The 13 Most Instagrammable Places In Canada and 30 Incredible Movie Locations In Canada That You Can Actually Visit, too!