Casey Warren and Danielle Krieger, the duo behind the award winning Mindcastle studio, builds its films on powerful emotional storytelling. Passionate about photography and design, they both developed their cinematic eye and specific style, which can be seen in their work for Canon, Elle Magazine, Microsoft, The New York Rangers or Patrón, among others. Mindcastle has also received numerous awards, including the One Club’s Young Guns award, Cannes’ Young Director’s Award, One Screen Festival’s Emerging Writers Award, and a Sports Emmy.
Krieger and Warren are known for creating a “world” for their films where they build scenes and hand-create elements: they made more than 100 basketball team branded mixtapes for their film Mixtape for ESPN as well as did complex location scouting with detailed planning for their film The Journey.
Their recent short Hikari was created in memory of a young woman named Hikari-san, who took her own life after struggling with depression. Hikari-san was a vlogger who made videos reading and speaking in a quiet whisper voice, Japanese ASMR. ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, an experience which creates a calming sensation in listeners. Her aim was to help others who shared her struggles with depression and anxiety. She lost her battle with her own internal struggle February 2016.
We wanted to let her know that people out there are affected by her in a positive way, and also let other people out there struggling know that they are not alone.
The duo also revealed more about the concept and narrative of their film in an interview for NOWNESS:
When written in Kanji, her name Hikari-san (ひかりさん) means ‘light' (光). The film incorporates light as a subtle yet present visual motif, from candles lit in a shrine to the omnipresent florescent lights seen throughout Kyoto streets at night.
In Hikari, Mindcastle merged cinematic visuals, dramatic music and powerful words. The short begins with the words "Nothing stays forever", a real tribute to the fragility of life. The base of it lies in the message, transferred by poetry: in the film, Natsuko Kure reads Shuntaro Tanikawa's "Epitaph For a Poet's Tomb". The entire film was shot in Kyoto, Japan.
Hikari-san's presence is really felt within the piece, every aspect of it being harmonious while moving at the same time. Watch the beautiful visual epitaph!
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Diana is a photographer interested in questions of identity. She seeks smaller stories that tell more about the whole, investigating the daily life of different groups and communities.