Published: July 7, 2021

Kelly Sears in the Green Studio directing dancers movement in the green screen space in front of the camera. Professor Kelly Sears directed and created a new music video for Sleater-Kinney’s "High In The Grass", a colorful and surreal ode to radical empathy and collective care. It is one of many of her inventive and affecting works. Watch it here.

How did the collaboration with Sleater-Kinney begin? 

I received an email about making a video for Sleater-Kinney from the secret album they recorded during the pandemic. After listening to the incredible song, I imagined a video about radical empathy and bodies swapping heads as a form of collective care. I shot some sketches in the ATLAS Studio Lab 2, an intimate green screen studio, and after teaching that day, stayed up all night, making some rough collages for the video. Sleater-Kinney dug it, and I had less than a month to flush out sketches and build a world.

Who did you work with? 

Laura directs Graduate dancer Madison Palffy who is wearing a green screen mask and they are both standing nearby a camera and the green screen. I am infinitely lucky to call on the immense talent and phenomenal resources available to make films at the University of Colorado. I immediately turned to former CINE graduate student and current adjunct Laura Conway (MFA 2021) to be the Producer and Director of Photography for this video. She brought former CINE BFA student Mariah Diaz on as Production Coordinator and COVID Safety Officer. Laura also suggested Madison Palffy, a graduate student in the Dance department, as a Movement Director for the project. I have had all these women as students in various courses, and it was energizing to work with them as peers on this project!  

Laura and Madison reached out to members of the CU dance community and there was such an abundance of talent on the shoot, ranging from undergrads to faculty from the Dance department. 

What was the shooting day like?

We held a one-day, 10-hour shoot in the ATLAS Studio Lab 1, a state-of-the-art broadcast studio with an impressive green screen built by Bret Mann from the ATLAS Institute. After we shot the video, I began animating that night as the video had to be delivered in less than two weeks.


Kelly Sears teaches an Experimental Digital Animation course each spring.

“All the techniques used in this video – green screen, masking/rotoscoping, looping, and collaging – we explore as a class, both technically and theoretically.”