Us by Niv Shank
Niv Shank is an Israeli photographer and filmmaker currently residing in Berlin. Niv describes himself as a kid who continuously explores the world. He has spent several years living and traveling across Europe and the US shooting and developing his career. Niv’s works capture emotions, are built around a narrative and tell a story one can relate to or wish to be one of the characters involved in it.
With Us, Niv places a couple in the city scenery dedicating the shoot to Berlin. Emotionally charged, sophisticated and contemplative the couple takes us to experience the atmosphere of the city through their changing mood. The film shows happiness and joy of togetherness, of taking what the city offers, its urbanist architecture, ability to be alone and fulfilled even when surrounded by the faceless masses, live fully all the moments until the sun sets and then start again. It is complicated, and fun can be easily swayed by melancholy, but what is important is the capability to generate positive emotion from the inner self-will and find the kid inside. Niv explains that “Us was made for the eternal dreamers” to remind of this kid in each one of us, and the beauty that surrounds us.
US IS A LOVE TRIBUTE TO BERLIN AND TO EVERYONE THAT IS A BIT NOSTALGIC ABOUT THAT ERA IN BERLIN, PRIOR TO THE FALL OF THE WALL IN 1991. I NOTICED THAT THERE WAS A CREATIVE MOVEMENT THAT WAS INSPIRED BY BERLIN.
It reached the peak with the Gucci spring 2016 campaign that was tremendously inspired by the movie “Christiane F”. As someone that grew up on that film and that idea that love can be sometimes placed in broken urban scenery, it was matter of time for me, to reference this film in my work as well. I was schedule a three people shoot, but one of my model called sick the same day and my story turn to a couple story, which is very difficult unless you work with a real couple. I was counting on a sunny set up that turn to be rainy day, so my production had to take turn to something more intimate and a bit more melancholic. The idea was to capture the Youth culture of the city around the area of “Warschauer Strasse” (Warsaw street in English) where the cool kids and the skaters and all of the troubles… are hanging out these days.
My process is usually pretty similar whenever I work with more than one person, and it always about the chemistry between the cast, creating an atmosphere that is care free, candid, timeless and safe zone to be childish again. This time is Berlin Clearly…
THE SHORT STORY BEHIND THE VIDEO — MY EXPERIENCE FROM THE SHOOTING DAY WAS DIFFERENT THAN USUAL. I HAD MIX FEELING IF I MADE THE RIGHT CHOICE WITH THE ENERGY OF THE PROJECT, ONCE MY CASTING NARROW DOWN. BUT I LIKE THE RESULT EVEN THOUGH IT WAS MORE SPONTANEOUS IN THE END. FROM A TECHNICAL POINT OF VIEW, IT WAS A CHALLENGE.
It was rainy most of the time and it was difficult to shot. I was planning to shoot with Films, but it was too overcast for it and holding a digital camera in the rain can be challenging as well. The meaning of the name Us came from the simple idea that it’s about the two of us, wondering around in the street of Berlin, playing like kids without any responsibilities.
I choose a song named Killer, which immediately touch me under my skin, from a Californian band named Polaris Rose, that I absolutely love their soft rock ballads.