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A Band Aparts Palmieri Directs New Tears for Fears Video

Michael Palmieri of A Band Apart has directed Closest Thing to Heaven, a new video by Tears for Fears and the latest release from the bands reunion album Everybody Likes a Happy Ending on New Door. The cleverly executed video features film star Brittany Murphy as the lead actress in a theatrical melodrama. She is the distressed passenger on a ship at sea, menaced by a sea monster. Later, she escapes in a hot air balloon that lifts her toward the heavens. Tears for Fears Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith perform in the theaters orchestra pit.

The video was accomplished by shooting Murphy and the band against green screen and compositing them into a beautifully realized CG environment. All of the props and environments are rendered in the style of the elaborate, mechanized sets used in 19th Century theatrical productions.

Palmieri worked closely with Meni Things, the animation house that produced the CG environments, in developing the look and artistic design of the video and in executing the more than 150 complex visual effects shots. With just one day to shoot all of the green screen elements, visual effects supervisor Meni Tsirbas brought a computer and the CG assets to the sets and used them to produce rough composites of each scene as it was shot.

Placing Murphy and the band into the colorful, pop-up style sets wasnt a mere technical exercise. ?For me, the challenge of the video was mostly about getting the video to match the sense and feel of the song, said Palmieri. ?The animators immediately latched onto the idea of theatrical animation. Having a background in animation myself helped as we spoke the same language. We were able to work together quickly and efficiently.

Palmieri had a similarly easy rapport with Murphy and the band and was able to elicit strong performances from them, even though they were reacting to environments, props and set pieces that they could not see. ?Brittany knew exactly what I wanted and brought everything to it, Palmieri said. ?We have a similar way of approaching things and that made it very easy and comfortable.

While acknowledging that his time and budgetary resources were limited, Palmieri insisted that he did not feel creatively restrained. ?We incorportated the budget limitations into the idea and designed it to make use of the constraints, rather than be hindered by them, he said.

A Band Apart is headquartered at 7966 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048. For more information, call (323) 951-4400 or visit

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