LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD 2021
WRITTEN BY JUAN MONTES,
DIRECTOR OF BUENOS AIRES MUSIC VIDEO FESTIVAL
Simón Brand is a Colombian director considered one of the most recognized filmmakers in the music video, advertising and film industry in Latin America. With more than 40 video clips in more than 25 years of videographic career, he has been able to explore and use the great global trends in the audiovisual world, applying them to videos of successful Hispanic artists.
He began his career in the 1990s with great artists from the music industry such as Shakira, Chayanne, Ricky Martin and Thalia; following the artistic movements that characterize his work with a marked aesthetic that encompasses fashion, technology, music and especially the urban side of society.
In its beginnings, and from the hand of the Y2K aesthetic, Simón Brand knew how to provide a futuristic aspect to his productions hand in hand with the optimism that existed at the time with the arrival of the new millennium. Videos such as “Salomé” by Chayanne or “Regresa a Mi” by Thalía, are examples of productions that encompass these elements set in locations and decorations of postmodern architecture with curved shapes, liminal spaces and clothing made of shiny synthetic materials.
This techno-utopian imaginary of the director, accompanied by surreal computerized images, places him as one of the most avant-garde filmmakers of the 21st century with minimalist productions of chromatic colors and the use of artifacts from the new everyday life of the West. In “It's Alright” by Ricky Martin and “Give me a little more” by MDO, it is cell phones and screens that take on an imminent prominence and adapt to the urban aspect of cities.
The synthetic vision of these multicultural and accelerated urban societies will be a theme that Simón Brand will use throughout his career in an organic way: from “Fijate Bien” by Juanes through “Un Siglo Sin Ti” by Chayanne and the most recent “ LOVE ”by Gianluca Vacchi and Sebastián Yatra.
The impact he has with his music videos led him to make an international crossover and work for Anglo-Saxon artists such as Christina Aguilera, Lionel Ritchie, Westlife, among others. "Irresistible" by Jessica Simpson, filmed in 2001, is the ultimate proof and example of this aesthetic that encompasses Simón Brand's gaze towards technology and urbanity.
However, this feeling of acceleration, excitement and optimism for the future, in general, would be directly affected by international events such as the September 11 attack, the armed conflict against terrorism, and global economic crises that would lead people to rethink your place in the world.
Simón Brand in this sense and in his new audiovisual productions, has known how to resignify his visual style by emphasizing human relationships, thus highlighting the new realities of our societies. In 2008, he released his second feature film in Colombia, Paraíso Travel, with an impressive figure of 1 million viewers that would make it the highest grossing film of that year and the third in history in Colombian cinema: TIME magazine considers it as one of the best Latin American films of the last decade.
The film tells the story of Marlon and Reina, a couple from Medellín, who, in search of the American dream, seek to cross the United States border; thus showing the different edges and challenges that thousands of immigrants have to face to reach their destination. However, Paraíso Travel is also a reflection through Marlon's eyes on the Latino community in New York and the supportive aspect of its members.
Videos such as “Minutos” or “Mojados”, both by Ricardo Arjona, delve into a more humanistic theme focused on different realities in different socio-political contexts such as prison or immigration, respectively. In Calle 13's “La bala” he would join the challenge of showing the urban settings of his first productions under a much more reflective, social-oriented gaze. For these works, Simon Brand will receive various distinctions and awards, including three Latin Grammy nominations for his music videos.
Likewise, the aesthetics of the Colombian director has been coupled with his new productions: the elements that define his aesthetics continue to characterize his works that have led numerous musical hits to the top of the charts. Since he began his career with “I'm Here” by Shakira, with iconic video clips like “Arrasando” by Thalía and visual productions that exceed one billion views on YouTube like “La Mordidita” by Ricky Martin.
His work today became great references in the music video industry and that is why the Buenos Aires Music Video Festival awards the Lifetime Achievement Award to Simón Brand in 2021, for having revolutionized the current scene of the Latin video clip.