Around the World with Music

Diana Boccara and Leo Longo

by Sherif Awad
Brazilian filmmakers Diana Boccara and Leo Longo are a couple who decided to tour the world while shooting a music video with a regional rock band in each and every country they step in. Their project Around the World in 80 Music Videos (ATW80) became the first global series of music videos. It is an independent and collaborative project that has the goal to shoot 80 music videos with rock bands in 20 countries all over the globe. All the music videos, always shot in one take, are an episode of the weekly series for the web. Every Monday, the couple launch a new and official music video on their channel on YouTube and Facebook, followed by a new episode of Behind the Trip, their reality web show on the making of each music video. Boccara and Longo premiered 29 music videos so far by bands coming from Brazil, Portugal, France, Italy, Germany, England, Scotland and Ireland. In Egypt, they also premiered a music video they shot with the band Cairokee, for the song El Khat Dah Khatty (This Is My Handwriting). After Egypt, the couple went to Moscow to find a Russian band. Their next stop is India.

Tell us about yourselves. What do you do and how did you meet?
I am Diana Boccara, 29 years-old, TV producer, assistant director and screenwriter in Brazil. I have worked for several networks and production companies there, especially in reality shows. Leo Longo, 35 years-old, is a TV director, who has also worked in broadcast TV for over 15 years, directing shows for MTV, History Channel, NatGeo, Globo, Record and others. Both of us share the love for music and filmmaking, each in a particular way.
Exactly three years ago, we were both hired to work in a Brazilian reality show. Leo was one of the directors and I was on the writing team. That is where and when we met. And that's when we started to date as well! It was really good because we saw how each one of us is working on the set and under pressure. And that first job together led us to a relationship, that inspired us to create ATW80 two years later. In the project, both of us do everything. Leo is in charge of shooting and editing of the music videos. I am in charge of the web episodes of our weekly Behind the Trip web-series. All the rest, we do together… We are the ones who take care of 100% of our project and there is no one else. We do the posting on social network, we answer the comments online, we produce, we book our trips, we find and negotiate to have the best home for our headquarters every time we move to a new country, we edit, we shoot, we write scripts, we take the pictures... And we do all the interview ourselves! It is a lot of work, but we do what we love, so it is easier to deal with so much on our hands.

How this idea of doing 80 videos around the world started?
We always wanted to work on a project of ours. After a road trip we took thru the south of the US last year (2014), visiting Nashville, Memphis, Clarksdale and New Orleans, all musical cities, we came back with the desire to keep travelling and to work with music. We ended up combining our expertise on filmmaking with travelling and music and that led us to the perfect final visual material, the music video. We also wanted to create and to establish a new way of working, which would not involve any currency exchange, just collaboration between artists and filmmakers around the world. So basically, we do art because we love to, with people that would love to do it to.
We then decided to really take ATW80 out of the paper and make the "dream" come true. So, I quit my job, Leo refused many directing projects for TV and commercials and we spent over a year building up the idea that today is Around the World in 80 Music Videos, a project that seeks to rethink the relationship between music and filmmaking, throughout the world.
How do you fund your trips?
For us, to be able to get the project out of the paper and into reality, besides bands, we needed to find a way to pay for travelling, accommodation and food for two people during 18 months on the road. It is how long the project will last. It seem very little and it is, if you think of a daily expense... But when you multiply by 80 weeks, it's a considered amount of money. We spent over 6 months last year trying to find sponsors or partners for ATW80. But no one believed in the project, no one thought it was possible, no one said "yes" to us. By then, we had already spent almost a year working to build the project, many nights planning and researching… But there was no way back… So, we decided to sell everything we had in Brazil.. Apartment, car, bike.. And we added that with all of our savings. We did it because WE believe in our project, even if some did not, back then.
After we began to talk to the media about our project and the bands started to accept our invitation, some companies in Brazil came after us, wanting to do something together with ATW80, something different, something new.
They were brave to believe in us and in ATW80's concept. For the Brazilian "leg" of the project, we had HP and Smirnoff as partners. Then, for the European part of the trip, we had SWISS (Swiss International Airlines) that was responsible for flying us all over Europe, taking us to Cairo, to Moscow and to our last trip with them, New Delhi. We also had Victorinox with us, during our time in Europe and we have the support of Premium Assistance Brazil, our travel insurance company. Here in India, we have Airbnb partnering with us during our stay in New Delhi.  We are really happy because Airbnb believed in the project, since all of our homes around the world have always been different and amazing Airbnb's houses and apartments. And so  along the way, we had great partners who believed in a idea of doing something unique like we are doing with this project. And now, to be able to complete our project, we are looking for more partners to join us for the next stops of ATW80.
How many countries you have visited? How many music videos you have realized?
We have started the project in Brazil, where we shot 10 music videos with Brazilian bands. Then, we went to Portugal, France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, England, Scotland, Ireland, Egypt, Russia and now India.  So far, 12 countries. Then we will go to Honk Kong, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Mexico and South America. 31 music videos shot and premiered till now.. We might shoot a new one today!
For each country, how do you choose the song for which you direct the video?
The choice of the song really depends on the band or artists we are working with. Sometimes they choose one specific song, sometimes they send us options for us to choose... And sometimes we invite the artists knowing what song we would like to shoot the music video for.
In Egypt, why and how you choose Cairokee?
Our research process is mainly done by a lot of "googling", reading music blogs, online magazines, watching interviews and music videos, line-ups of festivals and YouTube search. When we find all the important information and details that make a band stand out for us, such as the identity of the bands, constancy on their albums , the quality of the music, their presence in the digital world, that's when we know we have found a new act for the project. And that's exactly how we found Cairokee. But the amazing thing of our relationship with them was how fast they answered our invitation, something very rare for such an important and big band as they are, with over 2 million followers on the web.For us, starting the journey through Orient with Cairokee was just the best way to enter this new world we have never been before. And also the best memories will have during our time in Egypt.
What were your impressions about Egypt?
We first arrived in Cairo a bit insecure. It was the first country we were going to that we actually did not know how it would be. It was our first stop in the Orient, so everything was new. The language, the traditions, the religions... Even the days that are the weekdays are different. So, we really had no idea what to expect. But we were really exited not knowing what to expect! My father was born in Cairo and had to leave the country when he was a kid because of the war. So, all my life I've heard stories of his childhood in Cairo, the pyramids, the food.. Molokhia was always a big tradition in my household. So it was unforgettable to be in my dad's country, eat the real Molokhia, experience Egypt. And we were amazed with how welcoming Egyptians are and how many similarities that are between Cairo and São Paulo, our hometown in Brazil. And we don't even need to say we love the food, right? Because we do. A lot.
Any problems you faced when visiting a country or getting a visa?
The big challenge in every country is always to find the things and places we look for to shoot the music videos, since we do not know the cities we visit and we don't speak the local language. So, we always look for local filmmakers and producers that would like to collaborate with us into the making of every music video we do. This collaboration with artists like these have added so much to every single music video and to all our experiences around the world.
When you plan to wrap the project up?
We are almost have way into the project, having shot 31 music videos so far. By the end of 2015, we will have probably have reached 50% of ATW80. We will shoot our last music video in September of 2016 in Argentina, so there is still 10 months to go and probably 10 more countries to visit.
Any future projects ?
After we complete the trip around the world, we will launch a book with some of the stories we have lived and experiences we had on the 18 month we were travelling and shooting music videos independently. And we also want to keep this wave of collaboration we started, that has been an incredible way to live and to learn from others and the best way to work. That plus music and filmmaking of course.
We can follow Diana and Leo through their social media links:

Next Post Previous Post