Oakland University artists-in-residence Benoit and Julien Decaillon received a 2012 MTV Video Music Award for their visual work on the Skrillex video “First of the Year.”
“We were very surprised when we found out we won,” Julien Decaillon said. “We were surprised to be nominated and even more stunned to receive the award, since we were up against other videos with great special effects.”
The Decaillons began work on the video right before Skrillex reached fame. While they have worked on many music videos and films, like their horror flick “Sodium Babies,” Skrillex was the first big artist they produced for.
Both of the brothers and Michael Mannasseri, who works alongside them, were surprised, being that their video was up against many high profile artists.
Mannasseri, a filmmaker, is the founder of Made in Michigan Entertainment and an OU artist-in-residence. He works with the Cinema Studies Program to give students opportunities for film experience beyond Student Video Productions.
Working with students
The Decaillon brothers had been going back-and-forth between France and the United States working on projects. After uniting with Mannasseri, they began working for MIME.
Joining him last January in partnership with OU, they now live here permanently. Being here provides the opportunity to network with other filmmakers, as well as provide students with opportunities for “specialized internships and qualified paid ‘on-set’ positions” to build their resumes, according to the MIME website.
“It’s been great to work with students and give them real-world experience,” Mannasseri said. “Made in Michigan Entertainment’s partnership with OU is a really great partnership. It provides a real foundation for the program.”
According to Andrea Eis, coordinator of film production, Mannasseri and the Decaillons’ partnership has brought the film program to another level, offering something not many colleges have.
Eis said the work of MIME has given students more opportunities to do jobs that provide hands-on experience, rather than observing. It provides them with “a good picture of the real side of the film industry.”
Eis felt them winning the award showed students the importance of hard work.
“(The Decaillons’ VMA) was very exciting and interesting for students to see. It’s proof that they are valued for their abilities in the film industry. Students in the program now have an extra connection to achievement. While it seems like a glamorous industry, it’s a lot of intense work, so it was great that the brothers were honored.”
The road ahead
While it is not always easy, Eis, Mannasseri and the Decaillon brothers think the film industry is worthwhile for students.
“The film market is a long road,” Benoit Decaillon said. “It’s important to be really perseverant and creative. There are a lot of different jobs in the film industry. It’s important to look at things from many perspectives, with a creative mind. Don’t give up, try new stuff and learn from mistakes.”
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