Alma Har’el’s Jellywolf is a Psychotropic Celebration of Female Creativity
Alma Har’el is the person who kicked off #FreeTheBid, the movement to open up opportunities for female directors, so it’s exciting to see that the filmmaker’s latest project is all about women and their creative power.
But the luminous short is no flag-waving polemic – instead it’s a shamanic journey about a woman finding her voice via a series of vivid visions.
The film was created for the The Fifth Sense, I-D’s content partnership with Chanel, and it’s the most ambitious and electric film of the series, which have been largely documentary-based.
With Jellywolf, Alma takes things in a more magical-realist direction as she weaves the story of a young woman who visits a beauty parlour in Los Angeles and ends up hurtling inwardly, through space and time, to find herself.
Aesthetically, the film fizzes with originality as Alma combines electric colour, sharp geometric designs with galactic glitter. And it’s packed with myriad visual ideas and images, from the totemic jellyfish and wolves, to misty morning dances to lightning storms.
But Jellywolf’s exaltation of female creativity is not just an on-screen exercise. Central to the film is Kiersey Clemons, who plays the protagonist and delivers a sombre, resonant voice over. Kiersey also collaborated with Alma in the writing of the voice over, which combines fragments and lines that the filmmaker had written with elements drawn from a lengthy interview between director and actress.
Fellow BRF director Natasha Khan (a.k.a. Bat for Lashes) contributes her own skills in the shape of the song ‘Ha Howa Ha Howa’ by her band Sexwitch as well as collaborating with Emile Haynie on the original score.
For Chanel, the film is a bold piece of branded content which is explicitly psychedelic. The brand connection here is the link between scent, synaesthesia, emotion and memory.
Music and Sound
Sound Design: Eddie Kim
Song: Sexwitch ‘Ha Howa Ha Howa’
Composer: Emile Haynie & Natasha Khan
Producer: Cait Campbell
Editor: Lenny Mesina
Edit Company: Therapy Studios
Edit Assistant: Thomas Tedesco & JT Bowers
Head of Production: Allegra Bartlett
Post Production / VFX
VFX Supervisor: Diego Valesquez
Producer: Simmone Tort
Post Production House: DetEast Mexico
Colourist: Brandon Chavez
Writer: Alma Har’el
Production Company: BRF (B-Reel Films)
Producer: Margo Mars & Christopher Leggett
Director: Alma Har’el
Actors: Kiersey Clemons & Lisa Bonet
Category: Music video , Short films
Genre: Scenic , Storytelling , Visual VFX