AG Rojas, one half of the LA duo, talks youth culture for this week's takeover
Having directed music videos for artists as diverse as Spiritualized, Florence + The Machine, Purity Ring and Earl Sweatshirt between them, this week's Dazed Visionaries are here to offer something new. LA-based filmmakers AG Rojas and Vince Haycock have spent the last year curating the video series Mainline, a collection of short-form documentary portraits of youth culture across the world, directed by some of the best young filmmaking talents around. For their takeover, they've picked their favourites from the series, which you can see below, and they found time to speak to us in the middle of prepping their latest project. Check out what they had to say below.
Dazed Digital: What was the idea behind the films you selected for Dazed?
AG Rojas: Vince and I had always felt like there was a dearth of short documentaries on youth that needed to be made. We wanted to create a series of portraits that didn't have a logo, and that weren't in any way influenced by an outside force. What you see in the documentaries is 100% the director's creation without any notes from anyone. The intent was never to amass the most amount of views or to go viral or anything like that - the intent is to create an indefinite archive of global youth which will live on for decades. It's a collaboration with our fellow filmmakers, and also an exploration where we get to tap into parts of a global generation without any dilution. There is no end date for these films. They'll continue for as long as we can find filmmakers to go out and create them.
DD: Youth seems to be an important element of both of your work. What makes you want to make movies about young people?
AG Rojas: It's such a transitional moment in people's lives which makes them really fascinating to photograph and talk to. I love the idea of documenting these kids' personalities and ideas with the full knowledge that most likely they'll change soon. We're creating specific memories for these kids to look back on years from now and marvel at how free they used to be, or how many hardships they've overcome. They're usually very idealistic at this age, too. They aren't bogged down by distractions or failures - they're pure and focused, having such a simple and passionate view of the world.
DD: The stories in these films are incredible. How did you and your collaborators find these kids?
AG Rojas: Every director has a different story. For me [AG], we found Cody in a McDonalds in a desert town in California while scouting for a different project. Cody had an incredible face which instantly drew us in. Vince on the other hand spent a few weeks trying to infiltrate the coming-of-age, 18 year old porn industry, finally finding a girl who was willing to let them into her world. For most of the directors, it begins with finding a location, usually a small town or community. From there, you just have to be open, walk around, get to know people. You usually know instantaneously when you meet someone if this is who you want to base your film on.
DD: I guess you guys are more renowned for your music video work than your documentaries. How does your approach change when going between the two, and which do you prefer - if any?
AG Rojas: This project is all about freedom. At the end of the day on a music video there is a client and a schedule and a crew. With TRIBUTE, there is no client, there is no schedule, and the crew is usually just you and another person. You can shoot for 24 hours straight if you want to. It all comes down to the director's energy which is such an incredibly rare concept. I think the reason we have been able to gather such a high calibre of young directors is because of this freedom and the camaraderie of doing it together, just because we can.