High Society Event Review: Prism Award 2017, Tiff Lightbox


The summer never really starts until the Prism Prize has been awarded. Now in it’s fifth year, the Prism Prize has clearly established itself as the most important award in the Canadian music video industry and one that is easily more respected then say, the MMVA’s. Consisting of over or exactly 100 jurors, all the Canadian music videos go through a rigorous screening and voting process to get down to the final ten. For your pleasure, the final ten in the 2017 were:

- A Tribe Called Red feat. Black Bear, “Stadium Pow Wow” (director Kevan Funk)
– Andy Shauf, “The Magician” (director Winston Hacking)
– BadBadNotGood feat. Kaytranada, “Lavender” (director Fantavious Fritz)
– Grimes, “Kill v. Maim” (directors Claire Boucher and Mac Boucher)
– Harrison feat. Clairmont the Second, “It’s Okay, I Promise” (director Scott Cudmore)
– July Talk, “Picturing Love” (director Jared Raab)
– Kaytranada, “Lite Spots” (director Martin C. Pariseau)
– PUP, “DVP” (director Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux)
– PUP, “Sleep in the Heat” (director Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux)
– Wintersleep, “Amerika” (director Scott Cudmore)

So it is with this list of nominees that we all gathered at the Tiff Lightbox on a warmish Sunday night to award one winner.

The event was hosted by Aisha Brown who was absolutely hilarious and the awards show consisted of various other awards handed out interrupted by the screening of nominated videos. I really appreciated the amateur hour operation of this award show, as it made for a loose and fun vibe. It was also refreshing to see good non-rehearsed victory speech that were so short that the person accepting the award felt the need to tack on an additional 30 seconds saying how important the Prism award is. It all made for a fun event.

As you can see, Kaytranada won but here are my rankings.

10. Grimes, “Kill v. Maim” (directors Claire Boucher and Mac Boucher)
This Mad Max influenced video was filled with quick cuts and didn’t really stand out in anyway. If anything, the Mad Max influence made the video feel dated. This video could have been nominated for costume and design, but it was pretty much a mess of quick cuts, weird looking costumes and random dances. Not very impressed.

9. Andy Shauf, “The Magician” (director Winston Hacking)
For the 2nd time in three years, I question how this “audience voted” award works as this video was the one the peasants deemed most pleasant. For me, this video was not much more then a series of artsy shapes and visuals put together in a random sequence. If I’m missing something, then shame on me but really, it’s a music video and I shouldn’t have to think too hard about it. The video didn’t necessary capture the essence of the song or did it enhance it in anyway. I suppose there were probably a lot of people from Saskatchewan voting for it, either that or an arts and craft club took a look at it and started a viral campaign.

8. A Tribe Called Red feat. Black Bear, “Stadium Pow Wow” (director Kevan Funk)
It’s pretty hard to do videos for electronic music, and while the collection of shots of Native Canadians doing their thing was nice, this video’s struck me as something a ministry of tourism would have made instead of an actual music video for the song.

7. Wintersleep, “Amerika” (director Scott Cudmore)
A very pretty video absolutely ruined by a Donald Trump audio clip at the end. Pretty much everyone is sick of hearing this guy talk, no need to have to hear it every time you think about the song. An end of world theme was nice, but didn’t really have the conclusion it deserved.

6. July Talk, “Picturing Love” (director Jared Raab)
I learned two things during this video. One – I learned what July Talk looks like and two, I learned what July Talk sounds like. The video is creatively shot (maybe with some David Fincher inspiration) and told a story of some sort. It reminded me of the 90’s Edgefest rock kind of videos, but perhaps that was more the music then the audio. Either way, it pairs pretty well, like a fine wine and a tenderloin.

5. Harrison feat. Clairmont the Second, “It’s Okay, I Promise”
A very creative video that at times felt a bit disjointed, nevertheless, this video was well done and probably caters to film makers as much as it does with the audience with it’s multi-camera one shot setups. When I watched this video i was questioning whether or not I was watching a music video or an art film. That’s a good sign.

4. BadBadNotGood feat. Kaytranada, “Lavender” (director Fantavious Fritz)
A clever and cute video about Dungeons and Dragons. The video was funny and creative and thoroughly enjoyable. Normally this could have been a winner, but the next three were just better. This is kind of like how someone like Dame Lillard feels in the NBA. Very good point guard and otherwise an allstar, but then there’s Steph Curry, Russ Westbrook and James Harden. Tough luck.

3. PUP, “Sleep in the Heat”
It almost pains me to put this third. A sequel to Pup’s excellent video Guilt Trip, this video once again follows the trials of a young band (maybe Pup?) as they live out the rock and roll life, only this time they adopt a four legged furry friend. The video tells a complete story that will tug at your heart strings and does it all within three minutes. Excellent music video making here. It also stars the kid from Stranger Things. I really hope the third part of this Pup music video series shows the parents of the kid in Stranger Things adopting this kid.

Fellow music video enthusiast Sarah says:
“I am not surprised people didn’t vote for a video about a dog dying. If that video was about a dog being happy and alive and a successful independent business owner, Pup would definitely have walked away with the prize because people love a good success story. They should keep that in mind for the third video.”

2. Kaytranada, “Lite Spots” (director Martin C. Pariseau)
This video won the Prism prize and it’s a great video, featuring Kaytranada, a robot and absolutely gorgeous shots of a sunny Los Angeles. Kaytranada’s had an excellent 12 months and this award caps off an awards season that also saw him win the Polaris. There is nothing wrong with this video, and the cute animations on the robot will make you smile. Kind of similar in tone to Blur’s Coffee and TV in that an inanimate object that comes to life becomes the heart of the video.

1. PUP, “DVP” (director Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux)
As a person who grew up in the 90s playing video games, I could not deny the absolute joy I had trying to identify all the games featured in this Pup video. Therefore, it is my favorite.

What was your favorite?

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Posted on by Ricky in Everything

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.

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