Zanmi Films: Missy Elliott “WTF” f/t Pharrell Williams

Happy Hump Day Earthlings,

Finally, the wait is OVER.  Missy Elliot  is back with her same classic formula we all have grown to love. Her originality is always a breath of fresh-yet-familiar air that real hip hop heads gasp for.  It’s been 10 years since her last album and 3 years since the last single.  Missy co-directed this new one (“WTF” featuring Pharrell Williams) with her long time collaborator Director Dave Meyers.  Mr. Meyers has directed some of Missy’s most award winning videos (“Get Your Freak On, “Work It“, “Pass That Dutch“), He’s also known for manning the video lens for megastars such as Ciara, Rihanna, Janet Jackson, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, PinkOutkast, Limp Bizkit, Britney SpearsIce Cube’s “Coors Light” commercials, etc).

The Atlantic RecordsZanmi Films produced video starts out with shots of people from all the various parts of Los Angeles’ “boroughs” bumping her new jam.  This is symbolic to the universal reach that Missy’s music has on folks of all ages and nationalities.  Missy Elliott brings back the nostalgic golden era of early 90s.  She rocks a Biggie-inspired ensemble (skully and jersey) representing ’93-’97.  Ms. “Work Itreligiously sports her custom line of Addidas wear, and as always, shows off her B-Boy breakdancing and poppin’ skills with loads of female talent and dancers. We find it interesting how both Pharrell and Missy have procured heavily celebrated Adidas lines.  The Marionette Puppeteering is a great touch, showing the symbolism of how Iconic both Missy Elliott and Pharrell Williams actually are. The Puppets stole the show on The Voice 2015 finale performance as well. This is “VA All Day” (representing their hometown of Virginia Beach 100%).

SwitchFlip Media‘s head honcho Damon Howard got a chance to sit down with Zanmi Films‘ Co-Founder and Leader Knoko Chapple for a “10-Question” interview.  We are lucky enough to have worked with Zanmi Films and have a personal relationship with Knoko (who is also Dave Meyers‘ main Assistant Director over the past decade), so the inside scoop was provided straight from the source.  I’m sure they are riding high from the exposure Missy’s song is getting in the new Samsung Christmas commercial, and last night’s The Voice Finale performance!

Zanmi Presents

1) SM/DH: How did Zanmi Films get involved with this project?

ZF/KC:   We have been working with Dave for little over a year. This was an Important job for him personally and I had no problems jumping in to help out where necessary.  As a unit, Zanmi Films has been working with Dave for over a year.

2) SM/DH: How long have you worked with Dave Meyers outside of the Zanmi Films collective?

ZF/KC:  I have worked alongside Dave on various music videos and commercials for almost 10 years.

3) SM/DH: What’s your individual relationship vs. Dave Meyers’ historical connection with Missy Elliot?

David Meyers

ZF/KC:  It’s Dave’s relationship. They have a long history of creating visuals that many great filmmakers reference to this day.

4) SM/DH: Why wasn’t Pharrell available for the video…because of The Voice?

ZF/KC:  I don’t know the exact reason.  He’s a very busy guy, as we all know well.  He’s Pharrell Williams: Producer, Artist, Philanthropist, Writer, TV Host, Author.  However, we made it work and represented him with the Puppeteering. It’s also obvious that the song was produced by him as well as his highlighted guest verse.  His presence is all over the track.  Another “Neptunes” Banger!

Missy Puppet

5) SM/DH: What’s Zanmi films’ goal for 2016?

ZF/KC:  More visuals.  More success.  We are a hungry young company as a group and its still time to just put our heads down and work.  Five years from now ask me that again.

Zanmi Crew on Set

6) SM/DH: Both Pharrell and Missy are from Virginia.  How did you pick the video’s locations, and why make LA look like Times Square?

ZF/KC:  You thought it was Times Square? Nice!! The video was shot entirely in Los Angeles. You know how the tricks of the trade goes, Damon. You’ve PA’d many major videos over the years, don’t be shy now bruh hahaha.

7) SM/DH: True, you got me.  Just saying it’s still craft magic!  How do you feel about making big budget music videos and the effect that the internet and mobile devices/smartphones has had on them?

ZF/KC:  Technology has changed the game, but as long as you grow with it instead of against it, you won’t get lost in the old school rabbit holeAgain thank you for thinking it was big budget…that means we were able to convey a quality product!

8) SM/DH:  You are welcome my dude.  So, how do you collaborate creatively with the director and the artists?

ZF/KC:  Missy is like no other artist we have ever worked with. She has ideas and she wants to see them.  You gotta work your tail off to research and figure it out.  It’s problem solving at it’s finest. It’s our duty to create and produce her vision within specific boundaries.

Missy headphones

9) SM/DH: How long have you been in the film business?

ZF/KC:  A very long time.  Let’s see….since 1998.   17 years in this Video/Film business.  I started in my hometown of NYC and then moved west to Los Angeles over the last 10 years, where Zanmi Films was founded.

10) SM/DH: Any words you have for up and coming directors, producers & filmmakers in these new age times?

ZF/KC:  Get your foot in the door,  and be on your game seeking opportunities.  Stay more focused then anyone around you until you find people just as focused.  And work together to create the films of your dreams!

Zanmi Films Knoko Chapple

SM/DH: Hey man, thanks a lot for taking your time Knoko.  We go back a long time, and it’s great to see you doing big things with Zanmi Films as a full service production company.  I look forward to visiting you soon and seeing your two sons!  That’s it Bro; enjoy your holiday season.  D-How Out!

-Damon R. Howard 

SwitchFlip Media

The Voice Finale Performance 2015

2 thoughts on “Zanmi Films: Missy Elliott “WTF” f/t Pharrell Williams

  1. Nice. This is a head banger. Catch their performance on The Voice? Dope.

    1. yup sure did; also embeded the performance at bottom of blog. Glad “Thicky Lake” won!

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