IMF “Folklore Airport” and “Alien Forest” (2005/0:30)

The International Music Feed Films


Created by the Universal Music Group, IMF was the first 24 hour music channel to combine the best music from the U.S. with great music from all over the world. Brand New School created the entire identity — from logo and type design to show packages and live action station IDs. In 2008, the channel was purchased and replaced by Ovation TV.

We wrote two station identifiers that are set in a transnational place where international cultures collide (“Folklore Airport”); and in an archetypal, mystical place that could be on any or on an imagined continent (“Alien Forest”). Rudimentary narratives are strung along musical parameters: In the airport, scenes at check-in counters, luggage carousels or arrival areas are synchronized dances; and in the forest, a troupe of musicians appears and recedes like a melodic motive.

Note how closely production designer Robert Fox matched my storyboard sketches.

The sets are bare and abstract, which has been another long-time obsession for me (we were able to pursue a similar design in our VW New Beetle campaign and, even more so, in our short film for Windows Mobile). The theatrical nature furthermore enhances the non-specificity of the places, and so do the back projections.

At the center is a cast from a variety of places, dressed in imagined, eclectic wardrobes, expressing the idea of a wide array of cultures without resporting to stereotypes. Our brief to stylist Jennifer Johnson called for a multicultural future, creating hybrids of sports and street wear, uniforms and folklore. Most of the clothes shown are from Los Angeles prop houses, where one can rent garments from The Last Samurai and Forbidden Planet and combine the two.


Client: Universal Music Group, Los Angeles
Production Company: Brand New School, Los Angeles
Director, Writer & Designer: Jens Gehlhaar
Director, Writer: Jonathan Notaro

Director of Photography: Pat Notaro
Production Designer: Robert Fox
Costume Designer: Jennifer Johnson
Choreographer: Robin Conrad
Flame Artist: Blake Huber
Producer: Jared Libitsky

Editorial: Lost Planet, New York
Editor: Charlie Johnston
Music: Echo Park, Los Angeles

For more IMF:
IMF Network Identity

For more theatrical sets:
Windows Mobile “Doors”