UCTV distributes music video created to spotlight mental health issues
UCLA Alumni and current students work together to creatively spotlight relatable issues of trying to fit in, overcoming depression, and forging a path forward in what they called "UC Student Life- Dance Edition" in Bridges (4m. 12 sec.), a music video which premiered on UCTV YouTube Channel & cable television channel, March 3, 2020.
Bridges addresses what it’s like to break the mold as a young adult in college and embracing that sense of individuality through music, dance, and visual effects. The video was entirely shot at iconic locations on the UCLA campus, an integral part of Southern California culture.
UCTV Executive Director, Lynn Burnstan, said, “Bridges is a great addition to the UCTV line-up. With our large national and international reach, this high-quality short film will engage a younger but equally engaged audience.”
The story was born out of real life college experiences depicted in 3 acts, from gray and disconnected to the act of breaking out of being a duplicate and a nobody with a blurred face, to truly feeling what is possible in claiming your own better self in all types of environments. The dancer’s expression highlights the importance of individuality and the transformation that happens when breaking free.
The visual effects (VFX) throughout the video were all used with deep intention. The gray blur of not having an identity started the video and evolved to duplicates with a blur of searching for an identity. The final explosion of color shows the arrival of coming to finding the character’s best self.
The director, Jay Weneta, from the Unmapped Cinema production team, stated, “The video is worth viewing because it's cool and fun and it's nice to see what these kids do when not bound to class. Expression outside of the mold of class is where the true beauty lies. The music video sheds light on the beauty of the college student being themselves and finding their potential outside of a classroom. Raphael [the main character] is part of the mold, then he breaks it, and he’s beautiful because of it.”
Dalida Arakelian, executive producer who wrote the proposal and won the grant, recruited top tier talent from UCLA, who aligned with the story and were motivated to live and tell this story.
The music drives a sense of determination to discover this bridge to claim the true self and true path, regardless of the societal pressures around. The music was a collaborative effort produced by Dalida Arakelian and Stephen Spies with guest rapper, Aristotle, a student of University of California, Berkeley.
Dalida went to the piano for melodic inspiration. Stephen Spies was the master at adding synthesizers and special sound effects.
The lyrics add to the inspirational feel of the video, giving permission to the viewer to dream while relating to the structure of the college experience. Dalida’s statements about college/young adult life are repeated throughout the song, “searching for,” “falling away” “dreaming” “let’s start building these bridges” “I know there’s a place for me.” Aristotle’s rap adds a layer to guide the story with strong statements like, “ Do not be scared of a thing,” “You’ll be alright if you dream,” “Do you ever want to run around,” as a metaphor for dreaming and exploring what’s possible for us.
The short film is a high quality, professional production featuring emerging, fresh talent across multiple disciplines such as School of Film, Television & Theater, School of Music, and the Dance department. Scenes filmed at iconic UCLA spaces such as Powell Library, UCLA School of Law, the UCLA Anderson School of Management Center for Health Sciences, and UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior.
Make sure to check out the video here and share your thoughts in the comments section!
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