by Alexandra Fairweather
BLAKE FARBER sees things his way— and that has made him a sought-after music video director and rising filmmaker.
Yes, BLAKE FARBER is already a rising international director, cinematographer, and editor. But if he ever needs a little inspiration, he can draw it from his collaborators. You may have heard of a few of them: Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Dropkick Murphys... In fact, when Farber was co-directing Beyoncé’s “Countdown” video, he was blown away by the singer-songwriter-dancer’s ability to work 14-hour days while six months pregnant. “She’s a great person to work with. She is nonstop working—she was even moving the lights, because she knows how they look best on her. It was great,” says Farber.
But despite the glitz and glam—the young director has also worked with such luminaries as Sepultura, David Sanborn, Anitta, Dead Fish, Negra Li, Onree Gill, Joe Sample, Branford Marsalis, Hank Jones, Jonatha Brooke, John Mayer, Nile Rogers, and Jordin Sparks—the NYC native still considers himself “more of a downtown punk guy.” And that’s actually how he described himself to me when we first met at the Cavalier Gallery, where his father, world-renowned photographer Robert Farber, was exhibiting his gorgeous photographs to benefit the National Meningitis Association.
After hitting it off at the gallery, I suggested we meet again at a wine bar. But Farber teased, “Wouldn’t you rather go to some cooler, hipper café?” (We ended up compromising and met up at a Czech café in Chelsea, Café Prague.)
As it turns out, growing up with photographer parents allowed Farber to see everything as a potential photograph. “I see this table as a photograph,” he said of our café table. “I even see that door as a photograph.” He’s seen things his way since he was 16, when he dropped out of Santa Monica High School to pursue a career in film. “I was already writing screenplays, drawing storyboards during class, and the teacher would take them from me, so I thought, This isn’t the place for me.”
The boy wonder landed a job at Fox Studios. “I learned filmmaking from watching. I helped set up the lighting on sets and I learned by faking—I faked it completely and got yelled at a lot. That was my Film School 101.”
FARBER started to get noticed as a director when he combined his developing film craft with his other passion: music. Having formed his own punk rock band, Olde York (which has already toured Europe twice), he casually started shooting music videos for
his friends’ bands. The response was encouraging. “People loved it and said I should keep doing this,” he recalls.
Since then, Farber’s career has skyrocketed—and taken him all around the world, including shooting K-pop videos in South Korea, music sensations in Italy, and rap videos in Qatar. Then there was that time in Brazil when his whole apartment building was held hostage by machine-gun-toting thugs until every bit of cash had been stolen. But even in adversity, Farber finds a way to spin things his way: When the thieves set the hostages free but took Farber’s dog with them, he steadfastly searched for his dog, which resulted in his search becoming a Brazilian media sensation.
These days, in addition to his already successful music production career, Farber is working on several feature films that are in pre-production. To learn more, please visit blakefarber.com.