Yulia // Wolf Parade + Scott Coffey

Scott Coffey is a very busy man.

Ever since his video for Wolf Parade’s “Yulia,” debuted last week, we’ve been trying to pin down the director while he furiously works on his new projects. Not only a diligent multi-tasker, Coffey seems to be an all-around Renaissance man. “I was an actor for a long time,” Coffey explains, but “always wanted to be a filmmaker.” After acting alongside Naomi Watts in Muholland Drive, the two “became fast friends and [I went on to write] a movie for her called Ellie Parker. It was at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005, got great reviews, and I’ve been writing and directing ever since then.” Not a bad directing debut. Coffey explains that it is the “honest, weird, messy, and emotional moments that happen between people,” that inspire him to make films. “Also the filmmakers; Woody Allen, Robert Altman, Gus Van Sant, and [his] great friend, David Lynch.”

Coffey and Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade linked up to shoot “Yulia” after they worked on a video for Boeckner’s other musical project, Handsome Furs. “I did a video for the song ‘I’m Confused’,” Coffey says. “I fell totally in love with Dan Boeckner and Alexei Perry. I was a huge fan of their first record Plague Park, so I wrote them, knowing that they had a new record coming out and asked if I could make a video for them. It came out great, a zombie video!”

He envisioned the video for “Yulia” as soon as he heard the track. The song was “so cinematic to me,” says Coffey. “I was flooded with images the second I heard it. It’s so sad but totally unsentimental at the same time. ‘Yulia’ told a story [and] I wanted to see it in images.” Scott says that he wanted to lend an epic feel to the video, while keeping it small “but big in theme and emotion. I wanted it to feel like a dream of a sad memory.”

“I shot a ton of footage in Romania, [however] I only used a tiny bit of it. Most of the video was shot in Portland, Oregon where I live right now.” Said Coffey.  “I shot a ton of other scenes too,” which he didn’t end up using. “There were little kids, a skull and a bunch of other crazy shit, but when I was editing I realized that I needed to keep it as simple and specific as possible, so that it didn’t get in the way of the song or the great record.” The video mostly involved working with only three people: his “amazing cinematographer,” Chris Hornbecker, and his equally amazing boyfriend, Blair Mastbaum, who played the cosmonaut. “I don’t want to give anything away to ruin the effect,” says Coffey, protecting the grand beauty of the video, “but the spaceship was made from car parts!”

Coffey is currently working on a film called Jupiter, which will star Keanu Reeves, and is also writing a new script for a movie, which he describes as “a big Hollywood feel-good thing.”

—Annick Mayer