Chris Cunningham

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Chris Cunningham
Born 1970
Origin Reading UK
Occupation(s) video director
Years active 1996–present
Label(s) Warp Records
Associated acts Aphex Twin

Chris Cunningham is an acclaimed English music video film director and video artist. He was born in Reading, Berkshire in 1970 and grew up in Lakenheath, Suffolk.

The video collection The Work of Director Chris Cunningham was released in November 2004 as part of the Directors Label set. This DVD includes selected highlights from 1995–2000.


[edit] Music Videos

Cunningham has had close ties to Warp Records since his first production for Autechre. His infamous videos for Aphex Twin's "Come to Daddy" and "Windowlicker" are perhaps his most well known. His video for Björk's "All Is Full of Love" won multiple awards, including an MTV music video award for Breakthrough Video and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video. It can still be seen at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His video for Aphex Twin's "Windowlicker" was nominated for the "Best Video" award at the Brit Awards 2000. He also directed Madonna's "Frozen" video.

His video work, "flex", was first shown in 2000 at the Royal Academy of Arts, and subsequently at the Anthony d'Offay Gallery and other art galleries. Later, he released Monkey Drummer in the same set.

In 2005 Cunningham released the short film Rubber Johnny as a DVD accompanied by his first book.

[edit] Music Production

In 2004/2005 Cunningham took time off from filmmaking to study film music composition and to learn about music production.

In 2008 he produced and arranged a new version of 'I Feel Love' for the Gucci commercial that he also directed. He travelled to Nashville to work with Donna Summer to record a brand new vocal for it.

In December 2007 Cunningham produced two tracks, 'Primary Colours' and 'Three Decades', for the new Horrors album 'Primary Colours'. In the summer of 2008, due to scheduling conflicts with his feature film script writing he couldn't work on the rest of the album which was subsequently recorded by Geoff Barrow from Portishead.

Live Audio/Visual

In 2005 Cunningham played a 45 minute audio visual piece at the Electraglide festival in Tokyo and Osaka. It consisted of new video mixes of old videos and new videos and music created especially for the show.

[edit] Photography

In 2008, Cunningham produced a fashion shoot for Dazed & Confused using Grace Jones as a model to create "Nubian versions" of Rubber Johnny.[1] In an interview for BBC's "The Culture Show", it was suggested that the collaboration may expand into a video project.[2]

In November 2008, Cunningham followed on with another photoshoot for Vice Magazine. [3]

[edit] Films


In 2000 Cunningham and William Gibson began work on the script for Gibson's novel Neuromancer. However because Neuromancer was due to be a big budget Studio film it is rumoured that Cunningham pulled out due to being a first time director without final cut approval. He also felt that too much of the original book's ideas had been cannibalised by other recent films.

On November 18, 2004, in the FAQ on the William Gibson Board, Gibson was asked:

Q: Is it true there's a movie of Neuromancer in the works?

A: Perpetually, it seems, and going on a quarter of a century now. The most recently rumoured version, to have been directed by Chris Cunningham, is now definitely not happening.

In an August 1999 Spike Magazine interview, Gibson stated "He (Chris) was brought to my attention by someone else. We were told, third-hand, that he was extremely chary of the Hollywood process, and wouldn't return calls. But someone else told us that Neuromancer had been his Wind In The Willows, that he'd read it when he was a kid. I went to London and we met." Gibson is also quoted in the article as saying "Chris is my own 100 per cent personal choice...My only choice. The only person I've met who I thought might have a hope in hell of doing it right. I went back to see him in London just after he'd finished the Bjork video, and I sat on a couch beside this dead sex little Bjork robot, except it was wearing Aphex Twin's head. We talked."

It is rumoured that in Gibson's 2003 novel Pattern Recognition that the character Damien Pease was based on Chris Cunningham with the character's apartment featuring a female robot which had appeared in one of his videos.

Feature Films and Production Company

Development funding was in place for Cunningham to direct and co-write his first feature film for Warp Films, with whom Chris was at the time committed to "for all future full-length film projects." He has since left Warp Films to set up his own production company 'CC Co' to produce his films independently.

[edit] Early Work

In 1989, Cunningham worked at Spitting Image, building animatronic robot arms and sculpting caricatures for the TV series. In 1990 he worked on sculpture and animatronics for the film Alien³.

After seeing Cunningham's work on the 1994 film version Judge Dredd, Stanley Kubrick head hunted Cunningham[4] to design and supervise animatronic tests of the central robot child character in his version of the film A.I. Cunningham worked for over a year on the film A.I., before leaving to pursue a career as a director.

Earlier work in film included model making, prosthetic make-up and concept illustrations for Hardware and Dust Devil with director Richard Stanley, as well as Nightbreed. In 1990–1992 he contributed the occasional cover painting and strip for Judge Dredd Megazine, working under the pseudonym Chris Halls, the surname of his stepfather.[5]

[edit] Director Filmography

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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