'The Blue Suitcase', a music video for Angela McCluskey's heartfelt cover of George Harrison's 'Here Comes the Sun', is an exercise in gorgeous restraint. The promo is directed by Jason Armstrong Beck, lensed by Academy Award-nominated DP Seamus McGarvey, and edited and graded by The Mill N.Y. For Sweet Relief Muscicians Fund-a nonprofit charity for musicians-'The Blue Suitcase' depicts a woman’s poignant resolve to say goodbye to one life and start anew.
"When Angela initially approached me about the project, I
thought the cause was incredible," says Director Jason Armstrong
Beck, who has photographed McCluskey for various projects over the
years. "Then she told me about the song and that sealed the deal.
Paul Cantelon, Angela's husband and a legend in his own right, did
the arrangement. When you cover the Beatles, it's not the easiest
thing to do. But, as she has a tendency to do, Angela made the song
Armstrong Beck reached out to his old friend, cinematographer
Seamus McGarvey, who happened to be in New York. He offered
McGarvey the chance for a true creative collaboration, unencumbered
by clients or studio brass. He admits to sweetening the deal by
taking McGarvey out for a pint. 'The Blue Suitcase' was shot over
one day at St. Luke's Church in Greenwich Village, with crew who
donated their time. Sharon Angela ('The Sopranos') stars, and
tellingly portrays the woman's internal struggle behind her eyes
and in refined movements around the small bedroom set. Armstrong
Beck and McGarvey took the project to The Mill to finish,
where our Ryan McKenna edited and Sal Malfitano graded.
"Working with Jason and Seamus' footage was a real treat!"
McKenna says. "It was obvious each frame was set with tremendous
thought. It was nice to be cutting at full HD so we could make
choices based on all these fine details, even better was having Sal
pop down to the edit at several points to get thinking about the
grade in conjunction with the story."
"It is subtle, soft and beautiful, starting a little cooler,
ending warmer with a transition that's very gentle," Malfitano
explains. "It's as if the visual transition reflects the implied
conflict-should I stay or should I go-happening in the woman's
mind. It's the same with the contrast, it increases slightly as the
narrative progresses. We embraced the muted palate, mindful of
maintaining the natural feeling of the room. The footage I got was
great and I let the essence of what Jason and Seamus captured
"I think of our collaboration with The Mill with a big smile,"
Armstrong Beck relates. "It was an absolute honor. Ryan and Sal
went above and beyond, day and night. They had good ideas and were
very passionate. Music touches everyone's life and the Sweet Relief
Musicians Fund is a profoundly important organization. This project
was a pleasure!"