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Director Colin Tilley on Nicki Minaj "Freedom"

The staircase? Miniature. The massive structure that gave me a Serra sculptural vibe? An archaic sound mirror made of concrete on the beach at Dungeness, England.  Director Colin Tilley provides lots of answers, but leaves some mystery about his latest Nicki Minaj video, "Freedom."

Colin Tilley, director:

Nicki Minaj Freedom"Nicki was in London, doing the last leg of her tour, and she called me like four days before we shot the video and asked if I could fly there for it. Time was of the essence, so I put together a quick page of what I wanted to shoot out there: black and white, awesome exterior locations, iconic photography, and symbolisms. She approved right away...

Next thing you know Me, Rob (DP), Alex (PD), and Jamar (1st AD), flew to London the next morning and drove straight to the coast in England, about two hours outside of London. Weather was SHITTY! Raining non-stop and only nine hours of sunlight, if that. But England is beautiful so its hard to complain. Our location had so much to offer and I knew it was going to be such a different look for Nicki. After a great conversation w/ the UK stylist he pulled some amazing outfits that worked perfectly with the location and vibe of song.  

The day of the shoot, it never stopped raining either! We literally had to wait for the clouds to clear in order to shoot Nicki, as it was just too heavy of rain to put an artist in, no matter how tough they are. So it really came down to prioritizing my shots and looks with Nicki. Some of our plans got thrown at the window, but that didn't stop us from having a blast and shooting super hot shit. I sometimes forget the enlightening feeling of being in the great outdoors creating, and having fun with your friends....Luckily Nicki was really cool with doing a pick up shoot the next day at her hotel in order to complete the video. So we got a bonus half day with her before her show that night. 

Colin Tilley Freedom Nicki Minaj video
Director Colin Tilley and crew on the set

Fun fact...The stair set? That was a miniature! Alex pulled that from some antique shop in England.

Fun fact#2... the wall we are standing next too thats super curved was an old sound satellite they built back in the day that was supposed to receive messages from England to Paris.... kinda awesome. If you stand on one end and whisper the person on the other end can hear as if you are next to each other...

I was so excited to shoot Nicki in b&w and that she was open to the idea. The video needed a more mature look than we have done in the past, that's why the styling and the desaturated look were so key. Once we wrapped, Me and my boys (Rob, Alex,Jamar, and Luti) rolled to Amsterdam for a couple days. So I edited the video out there on my laptop in different coffee shops, on a boat, etc. Def one of my funnest edit sessions ever.... Big shout out to Luti for pulling everything together for me so last minute too!"

Tommy Labuda London Alley Nicki Minaj
"Freedom" (Cash Money/Universal Republic)

Colin Tilley, director | Luti Fagbenle, producer | Luti Media, production co | Tommy Labuda, rep | Rob Witt, DP | Alex Delgado, production designer | Bob Curreri, colorist | Jamar Hawkings, AD |  Jeffrey Panzer, exec. producer/commissioner

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