The video was directed and edited by our lovely in-house videographer Rachel — it also happened to be shot in her very own hometown of Kansas City. Rachel’s such a rad girl, and she first joined the Free People family just a few months ago, so I wanted to take this opportunity to get inside her mind and introduce you to her all. Meet Rachel!
Rach! Your first short film for Free People: complete. Congratulations! How does it feel?
Thank you! It feels incredible! Roshambo and The Cabin blew me away, so to be able to take a shot at doing narrative film for Free People has been beyond cool.
When you first caught wind of plans for a “Sun Chaser” trend for our site, was there something about it that made you think, “We need to create a video around this”?
For sure – it was the “er” in “Sun Chaser”. There’s a lot of power in that word; it implies someone who’s still chasing, who isn’t quite there yet. There’s so much story to tell in a word like that.
Was Kansas City the first place that came to mind? What makes this city the perfect setting? the first place that popped into my mind! It’s my hometown, and when I got this image in my head of our heroine, she was standing on a gravel road, looking into the distance as far as she could see – there’s something about being in the middle of that much physical space that always helped me think when I really needed to think. You feel small in a place like that, being able to see for miles and miles and miles – but you can sense that anything is possible. And it’s gorgeous. And I know so many talented people there who I really wanted to work with again!
Kansas City was
the first place that popped into my mind! It’s my hometown, and when I got this image in my head of our heroine, she was standing on a gravel road, looking into the distance as far as she could see – there’s something about being in the middle of that much physical space that always helped me think when I really needed to think. You feel small in a place like that, being able to see for miles and miles and miles – but you can sense that anything is possible. And it’s gorgeous. And I know so many talented people there who I really wanted to work with again!
We’ve worked with the lovely Annie before for blog editorials, but I don’t recognize the brunette beauty who co-stars. Who’s she?! And the handsome long-haired male we see her with?
That’s Ms. Esther Honig! She moved to Kansas City right after I left a few months ago, but I knew her sister Peregrine, a local artist – and Zach, our 1st AD, suggested her for the film. She was totally into it and did such a great job! Her paramour in the film is Alec Nicholas, our cinematographer, who graciously stepped in to play the role. Isn’t his hair amazing? He and I have decided that this is his big break in the world of modeling. Ha! I got to take over the camera for that scene, which is always great after just directing action for a shoot.
Was it challenging to be the liaison between the Free People team and your Kansas City crew? What was that like?
Only at first, because I was the only one everyone knew! But after a few hours, the whole crew knew each other’s names and it was like we’d worked together a thousand times before, which is something I love about film sets. You have to become a team really fast or you sink. I had a lot to figure out, so our local producer, Mallory, really stepped in and helped coordinate things. Also, Mitch, our production assistant, grew up about 15 miles from Lebo, KS, where we filmed – he knew exactly where to go and who to call, it was magic.
I love the song that you used. Who did the music? Was the song created specifically for the film?
The music is a song by Alec’s band, Organized Crimes! It’s called “Rock Bottom.” We removed the vocals and played around with it a bit to make it fit perfectly.
How do you think people can apply what happens in the story to their very own lives?
In the film, Annie has Esther – her best friend, her support system, her shoulder to cry on, etc – I love the idea of someone having that, then losing it… and still moving forward.
It can be hard to do things alone. But sometimes, what you hold close to your heart and dream about might not fit in with someone else’s idea of what they want in life. And to understand that, and accept it with love, and strike out on your own – I think that’s one of the bravest things a person can do. There are so many people you’ll carry with you in your life, and moments you’ll cherish, always. But sometimes, if you want something enough, you have to reach out and take it on your own. You can be alone – without being lonely.
Watching this film makes me want to hit the road so badly. When I find myself in Kansas City, what are three things I should know?
Kansas City has the best art and music scene! If you go, make sure you’re there over First Fridays. There’s a strong DIY element to art/music spaces there; people really come together and makes things happen – it’s pretty inspiring. FOKL and Front Space Gallery are two really great ones. And music-wise…mandatory KC playlist: Cowboy Indian Bear, LAZY, Your Friend, and of course, Organized Crimes.
Secondly…the thrift stores and vintage shops are out of control. I miss them so much.
Also, about an hour outside of KC are the Flint Hills, where we shot the film – it’s beyond gorgeous out there. If you drive down highway 177, the Flint Hills scenic byway, in springtime… your mind will be blown. Huge, rolling clouds, tallgrass prairie, land for miles!
What was the absolute best part about this whole experience?
The best part was getting to work with an incredibly talented cast and crew. Seriously, I was so lucky – I can’t wait to see where we go from here!
A huge thanks to Rachel for shedding some light on the beautiful film! If you haven’t already, go watch Sun Chaser here!