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Film Code Odessa: “Natural selection”


The story of an alien sent to a doomed earth to try and ‘correct’ the mistakes humans have made. We’re speaking about “Natural Selection”, the video clip which was shoted in Odessa for Black Orchid Empire by Alina Gordienco


This year the British alternative rock band Black Orchid Empire premiered three music videos for their singles ‘Evergreen’, ‘Winter Keeps Us Warm’ and ‘Natural Selection’. Having been shot in Odessa, Ukraine, this collection of music videos are directed by Odessa born, London based filmmaker and producer Alina Gordienco, whilst cinematography was led by Vadim Dusman. For Alina, ‘Natural Selection’ is the fifth music video she has directed and recorded in Odessa.

Shot in the iconic Odessa district – Kotovsky Borough, ‘Natural Selection’ video centres around an alien creature landing on a post-apocalyptic like Earth and arrives in the heart of the city’s suburbs to study the local lifeforms amongst the Soviet brutalist architecture. The alien roams among the surreal constructions, coming across the wired inhabitants and even having a close call with local police, however luckily his extraterrestrial ability to freeze people using his magic necklace helps him avoid any trouble. The overall negative state of the world is examined by the alien before it weighs up the ultimate decision of whether the planet and its inhabitants should be allowed to exist or be ‘reset’ for good. It is only when the alien witnesses a parent and child share a moment of love for the planet and each other, the final choice is called into question and in the concluding moment the alien seems to favour saving the planet, although that is left ambiguous.

I think this video is my best work so far. This is a product of a true love for fabulous music and great people with whom I have worked. And I am endlessly grateful to my wonderful team that helped to do all this.

Alina Gordienco
Alina Gordienco
Behind the scene

Speaking to Alina, who grew up in the Kotovsky Borough area, it was important to pay homage and showcase the realism of Soviet brutalist architecture as a backdrop to the experiential video plot. The aliens arrival conjures a mirror to society, in which we reflect on the day to day living and call into question the way humanity exists. Seeing the world through the alien’s eyes, Gordienco felt that it was essential to “show to the audience our world from a different perspective if we don’t have any knowledge about the history or background of the place”. The illustrated mosaic facade of School Number 14 of the Kotovsky Borough is set as the backdrop of the aliens appearance and as the alien traverses deeper into the urban landscape, the local suburban architectural provides a post apocalyptic feel to the footage. For Alina, who has a degree in Architecture, the “rhythm” of the music can be emphasised through the concrete structures and particularly in this case the “worn out pieces of Soviet brutalism architecture” provide a glimpse into Odessa’s past. The significance and special connection Gordienco has to the city stems not only from her childhood but lies in “a strong need to introduce her hometown all over the world”.

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Black Orchid Empire - Natural Selection (Official Video)

Having been awarded the title of Goodwill Ambassador of Odessa in 2018, Gordienco feels a strong personal need to display the “many unique” aspects of the city, as well as the “special Odessa spirit” on a global platform.

The honour of representing Odessa is further supported during the annual Odessa International Film Festival (OIFF), which according to Gordienco has been the “biggest game changer” in recognising and promoting the city world-wide. Alina has also collaborated with OIFF for years as the curator of the Art Program. Despite the OIFF being held virtually this year, Gordienco believes the “dedication, commitment and hard work” in finding new approaches is vital to keep the Ukrainian cinematography industry going despite the difficulties faced in 2020. The directorial work produced by Gordienco highlights her individual ties to the area and recognises the cultural heritage of the city that helped shape and mould her creative vision.

“Natural Selection” the fourth track taken from the new studio album  Semaphore  via  Long Branch Records

Director – Alina Gordienco
Cinematographer – Vadim Dusman
Producer– Alina Gordienco
Executive producer – Vadim Dusman
Featuring Bogdan Aksanyuk, Oleg Topor, Stanislav Obrashchenko, Inna Radyukevich, Maksym Mikhnevych, Felix Chaklosh, Oleksandra Chaklosh, Anton Lysykh, Anastasia Potapova
Editor/Colorist– Maxim Denysenko
Produced bySaturn 8, Bazooka production
1 AC – Sasha Chernov
2 AC – Vyacheslav Shevchenko
Production designer – Alina Gordienco
MUA – Tetiana Mikhnevych
Production Manager – Mikhail Sorvachev
Key Grip – Anton Lysykh
Jewelry by Alligator Jesus
Outfit by Nimble Scissors
Special thanks: Lena Kosenko, David Tamargo
Music – Black Orchid Empire

Behind the scene