The Anthology of Ukrainian Music Videos: Viktor Pryduvalov

Dmytro Saltykov

For 30 years the Ukrainian music video making has passed a long way from the rebellious 1990s when the industry was just being formed to the 2000s when Ukraine became the centre of music video production of the post-CIS countries. Since the mid 2010s Ukraine has become a filming location for world stars’ music videos.

Now in Ukraine, Bring Me The Horizon, Harry Styles, Miley Cyrus, Florence + The Machine and many others are making their videos. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian production studios are among the best in the world. But it was not like this before.

We’d like to let you know about the outstanding music video directors in our new anthology. We have chosen Viktor Pryduvalov first because he is often called the father of a Ukrainian music video.

Viktor Pryduvalov was born in 1970 in Kyiv. When a teen, he started playing in his band and he was not involved in anything else apart from his creative process. He was an author, musician, artist, poet, and writer. Even at 16, he knew what he would do in the future. The directing became the logical continuation of his creative searches.
The decision to make music videos appeared in his mind when in 1990 he first saw Sting’s video for the song Englishman in New York (1987) which was shot by director David Fincher who later made Fight Club. Fincher also started his career making music videos.
Additionally, that influenced Viktor’s cinematic approach in making music videos, trying to use  the form of a short meter in them.
In a series of our documentary serial “Spalakh” about the new Ukrainian music videos, the director remembered the times when he got in the industry not completely organized, and you could hardly find “a camera and a half” over there. There was no mention of light and pavilions. As for production studios , they could be counted on the fingers of one hand.
The start of his career was at the end of the 1990s while such famous in the future bands as Okean Elzy, TNMK, Boombox, Tartak, Green Grey, etc. were just forming.
Viktor considers music video making to be a kind of mediator between television and cinema. Moreover, there is no sense to work for a big screen without training in smaller industries. He makes his videos according to the principle of dreams. That’s why he doesn’t write scenarios and makes no storyboard. He’s describing his work on a filming location as follows – “I am transmitting the picture into the cameraman’ head and wait for him to make it”.
Apart from video making, Viktor Pryduvalov was among those who founded the main music channel of the 2000s – M1. He claims that it was his idea of the channel’s logo colour and the tviй формат (your format) heading (a recording of chamber live performances sprinkled with the artists’ interviews). He left the channel when he understood that he would be made to work under someone else’s management. The director’s conflict with Oleksandr Osavliuk (the channel’s board chairman) was the reason that Pryduvalov’s videos were not broadcast on M1 for a long time.
For more than a 20-year career, Victor Pryduvalov shot more than a hundred music videos. Although his most famous works date back to the 2000s, in the 2010s he also filmed for such groups as Antytila, The Stoned Jesus, Vagonovozhatyie and the others. In addition to music videos, the director is also involved in movies, where he praises his home city. 
The latest film for now is the documentary The Disappearing City (2020) about Kyiv and its actual problems.
We have chosen 10 works of the director which are the most interesting, to our mind.

YULIIA LORD & Skriabin – Фото / Брудна як Ангел (1998)

At the start of his career, Viktor worked with the singer Yuliia Lord. It is worth highlighting her song in cooperation with the band Skriabin, the composition Фото / Брудна як Ангел (Photo / Dirty as an Angel) in the style of the best darkwave representatives.

Here you can find gloomy tones, almost a mystical plot, and a heavy electronic beat. The song itself will become the singer’s calling card in the future.

Kuzma Skriabin remembered that mysticism accompanied them even after the filming of the video. At the end of one of the shooting days, a fire broke out in the flat where the shooting took place. As a consequence, the separate shots with bass guitarist Rostyslav Domishevskyi were already taken on the street near the building.

As for the filming process, it was not that so easy. It took place in the flat of a deserted building. It was severely cold over there as the temperature in the room was minus seven degrees. Moreover, the guests on the filming location became homeless people who were trying to break into and fight with the crew.

Plach Yeremii – Я піду в далекі гори (1999)

Я піду в далекі гори (I will go to distant mountains) is the first video of the band which at the time of filming had been existing for almost 10 years. This is a cover version of Volodymyr Ivasiuk’s song that was reinterpreted in the reggae style and included in the tribute album Our Ivasiuk.

The video turned out to be a sort of road movie starring the band’s frontman Taras Chubai. Due to the small budget, no one could send him to the mountains and the video was shot in Troieshchyna district in Kyiv.

“He wanted me to smoke in the shot for the whole time. My mother didn’t like it. Anyway, in general, we had a good time,” the musician recalls about Viktor Pryduvalov’s creative idea.

The final estimate of the clip is $500 and a bottle of cognac.

Tartak – 100%-ий плагіат (2001)

To shoot a video the guys from Tartak were raising money from their friends and neighbours for half a year.

While working over the video 100%-ий плагіат (100% plagiarism), the director seems to have been inspired mostly by American pop-punk music videos of the 90s. The Offspring, Blink-182, Sum-41, their atmosphere appears both in the video and in the song itself.

It’s a carefree and light-hearted video where the boys are fooling around in colorful sets with comic strips that refer to the American pop culture of that time.

TNMK – ПоRAPалося серце (2001)

The banger of Ukrainian hip-hop pioneers about “a black coat and blue sharovary” is one of the most famous songs of TNMK.

The work contains all the peculiarities of a real guys video of the 2000s: three stylish guys, a car, girls, and dudes dancing in the background. The director persuaded the band to shoot on 35 mm film which cost all the budget.

Okean Elzy – Холодно (2002)

Viktor Pryduvalov made several videos for Okean Elzy but the first and one of the most famous in their collaboration was the work over the visual accompaniment to the song Холодно (Cold) from the album Supersymetriia.

This video takes a special place in Viktor Pryduvalov’s videography since, after it, he began to recognize himself as a director.

The video was shot on the snowy streets and roofs of Lviv in December 2002. The video has four storylines in each of which all the members of the band are dying while frontman Sviatoslav Vakarchuk follows them like an angel of death.

Tartak & Katia Chilly – Понад хмарами (2003)

The video for the sad song where lyrical character Sashko Polozhynskyi experiences the death of his beloved girl was noted for the atmospheric scenery of the laboratory with a capsule flooded with bright white light and a singer inside.

As a result, the tragic-romantic story became one of the most powerful Ukrainian hits of the 2000s.

Skriabin & Iryna Bilyk – Мовчати (2003)

2003 is the time when the band Skriabin began to get drawn toward pop sounding. The song Мовчати (Be Silent) became a vivid example of this stage in their career and one of the main hits of independent Ukraine.

The decision for the video was corresponding – it was a love story in cold tones played by Kuzma Skriabin and Iryna Bilyk.

TOL – Хто я? (2005)

The iconic Kyiv alternative band released their first album on the InshaMuzyka label which was made by Pryduvalov himself. He shot the music videos for two songs from it. One of them was Хто я? (Who am I?).

The nu-metal sounding of the band was also reproduced in the visual series – a gloomy video in which the leader of the band Vasyl Pereverziev holds a self-reflection session inside four walls. It was performed in the best traditions of the masters of the Korn and Linkin Park genre.

Druha Rika – Спи до завтра (2005)

In 2005 Viktor Pryduvalov worked with the Druha Rika band for the first time. He shot a music video for a song from their third album Rekords.

The filming took place right on the central streets of Kyiv. The plot is classic: frontman Valeryii Kharchyshyn is walking around the city and singing about a quarrel with a girl.

Except him, you can also see the band’s guitarist Serhii Bilichenko who has hardly appeared in the band’s music videos since 2003. One more time when he appeared was the video for the song Ти зі мною (Я здаюсь!) (You’re with Me (I surrender)) (2010)

Boombox – Вахтерам (2007)

Viktor worked with Boombox from the very beginning of the band’s existence and shot videos for their most prominent songs of that period. Among Квіти у волоссі (Flowers in the Hair), Super-puper and E-mail there should be singled out Вахтерам (To Watchmen) which became a popular hit.

They tried to make a video for the song three times. The first shooting was canceled because the money that had been set aside for the shooting was stolen from the flat of the band’s producer Oleksii Sohomonov.

The second version was shot in the Taras Shevchenko park in Kyiv, in the Shalena Mama café, and in the director’s office. The video was re-edited several times; the date of the premiere on the M1 TV channel was disrupted because neither the band nor the director were satisfied with the result.

There is also a third version which came out at the suggestion of Anton Pronin, the head of the Monolit label with whom Boombox had a contract. The song was included in the soundtrack of the film Червоні перли кохання (Red pearls of love) (2008) the footage of which was used in this video variation.

Translator: Inna Khrystych (+380993094694)

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