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here’s something about metal that has captured up-and-coming director Fernando Cordero’s imagination. Two aspects seem to fascinate him: the cold, sleek shine of the material itself, and the bellowing music that has taken on its name. Certainly, both are present in the music videos he creates. Clean, crisp lines dominate the screen; black and white silhouettes flicker like light bulbs; toy robots traverse a nutsand-bolts laden terrain. Meanwhile, electric guitars blare and men with eyeliner scream into microphones. This visual double entendre has become the signature of the work he directs and produces with his brother, Vicente Cordero, at Industrialism Films.


Fernando grew up in Orcutt, CA, which he describes as “a blue collar town centered in the middle of strawberry fields.” He knew from when he was a child that the agricultural lifestyle wasn’t for him. Instead, he drew robots. “I was always very interested in drawing and painting, trying to paint the world in a different way, to grasp my perspective and share it,” Fernando remembers. He was lucky, he says, because despite living in such a small town, he had access to film programs at both his high school and the nearby Allen Hancock Community College that helped to encourage his interests and nourish his talents. He credits his high school mentor, Mr. Garcia, as the first teacher to push the boundaries of his creativity. With a strong foundation under his belt, Fernando moved on to Cal State Northridge and teamed up with his brother, Vicente, who was already making strides as a director. “It was more of his idea to pursue music videos,” Fernando says. “I followed him along and helped him when I could.” Fernando was still in school when the



brothers booked their first major client, the revered rock band Mr. Big. They had done a promo for the band’s guitarist, Paul Gilbert, who was so impressed with the brothers’ work that he referred them to his management company, Frontiers Records. Before they knew it, they were hired to direct the group’s single, “Undertow.” “We had five days to do the video,” Fernando recalls. “Usually, you get two to three weeks. I was still in school; I had no experience.” Instead of deterring the brothers, however, this fueled them. “We gave it our all,” he says proudly. The video is classic in its simplicity; the band is in what looks like a dingy basement, performing as if to a crowd of thousands. Panoramic shots effectively capture both the passion of the band and Industrialism Film’s technical skill. The result is a video at once moody and energetic, dark but not depressing. He says of the feel that emanates through the majority of his videos. “Not in a negative way… but in ways that don’t get touched by the light.” The main influences for his visual style are the Industrial Revolution and German Expressionism. The latter was an artistic movement in Germany before World War I that celebrated the absurd and was a decided departure from realism. And of course, the magic of machinery that arose from the Industrial Revolution has always been a passion for Fernando. “I like shiny things,” he says. “Things spinning, metallic items, rusty items.” The marriage of these interests produces the highly stylized look and shadowy, mysterious feel to his videos. It is easy to imagine the brothers shooting a Nine-Inch-Nails video, for instance, back in the day.


she’s in blue lipstick and a black go-go outfit, dancing in the darkness with hip-hoppers, break dancers, and even people dressed as bananas or—of course— robots. The contrast then comes between day and night, reality and imagination, echoing his exploration of light vs. darkness. The videos for Mr. Big and Mandy Rain acted as a straight showcase for the artists. Others, like Heaven Below’s “The Mirror Never Lies,” or Vera Mesmer’s “Back from the Dead” tell more of a story. Ultimately, Fernando explains, it depends on the artist. “Obviously, the bands have their own image that we like to contribute to,” he says. Despite this, because the Cordero brothers seemingly choose to work with bands from or reminiscent of the metal/hard rock era, there is a consistent through line that connects each project. Fernando’s work can be seen on MTV or VH1, and can be purchased in stores like Best Buy. With the interest that music managers, labels and production companies have been showing in Industrialism Film’s growing body of work, Fernando plans to keep his focus on music videos. “I’ve found my niche,” he smiles. “I’ve found the freedom to do films the way I want to.”

Even his video for teen starlet Mandy Rain, “Boogie” has an edgy feel. The singer struts into a dance studio wearing a tight, white, mid-drift baring tee, baggy pants and high-top sneakers. As she dances in the daylight her fantasy takes over, and suddenly PHOTOS PROVIDED BY FERNANDO CORDERO

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