Director X knows a thing or two about music videos. From working under Hype Williams on the set of the 1998 classic movie “Belly,” to directing music videos for hip-hop heavyweights like Kendrick Lamar and Drake, the visual artist — whose real name is Julien Christian Lutz — has been delivering outstanding visuals for three decades and counting.
Today, Lutz’s production company Fela teams up with Insight Production in announcing the launch of a new series dubbed “Video Star.” The show will explore the behind-the-scenes process and cultural impact of the most groundbreaking, innovative music videos dating back to the ’70s. It will additionally spotlight videos of the ’90s (when seven-figure budgets were introduced) leading up to modern-day examples, including some of Director X’s own innovative creations.
“We’ve been talking about doing something that really celebrates the history of music videos and gives this genre of entertainment the credit it deserves for having so much cultural influence and also as a sandbox for breaking new ground in filmmaking,” Lutz tells Variety. “There is a reverence for old movies and old TV shows, but this show will look at the history of music videos and talk about what they’ve done to shape culture and filmmaking.”
Fela, which Lutz co-founded with talent manager Taj Critchlow, specializes in culture-defining content, while Insight Productions has produced some of Canada’s highest-rated programs and beloved music-focused series and specials. Together, they are developing “Video Star,” with each episode aiming to examine the artistry, craft, and legacy of videos ingrained in the musical zeitgeist.
“When we were mapping out show concepts we looked at ‘Hotline Bling,’” Lutz says of the 2015 video he directed. “Not only did that video blow up, but after its release, the artist James Turrell, one of the most iconic artists of our time, released a statement to say that while his work was not featured in the video, he was flattered to provide visual inspiration — and even quoted from Drake’s lyrics in his statement. It’s that magical intersection between art and music and cultural impact that we want to dive into in the show.”
“Video Star” will see music writers and pop culture experts placing each video within a historical context, while the artists and creative teams explain production elements including direction, production design, cinematography, and choreography. The creators will also reflect on the inspiration for each video, along with the collaboration process between the artist and director.
As far as the impact of “Video Star,” Lutz comments, “This show will be a place for a kid like me who loves the art form to learn about how videos are made. When you look under the hood of each of these projects, there is so much depth, and we need to make sure that these stories don’t get forgotten.”