When Freda Felcher frontman Leif Routman shared the title track off his band’s new album “Got To Be Love” to filmmaker Kathryn Jeffords, she started seeing things.
“I told Leif, ‘Whoa, this song is giving me visuals,’” Jeffords said.
Routman and songwriter Hilary Camino were in the earliest stages of mixing the tune. The idea for Jeffords to create a music video for the song came organically.
“I was just closing my eyes, listening to it like you do when you’re listening to a song for the first time and really feeling it,” Jeffords said. “And I told him I could see somebody’s body moving slowly through water. There was this eerie, sort of mysterious feel to it.”
Jeffords took that idea and ran with it for her directorial debut in a nondocumentary film project, which was released Feb. 3 on YouTube (visit TinyURL.com/gottobelove to view it). She and Camino both applied and were awarded grants from Wyoming Arts Council to make the concept a reality.
“It was enough to get it off the ground and to get people intrigued,” Jeffords said.
While taking visual cues from the music, Jeffords worked closely with Camino to develop a narrative that felt true to the songwriter’s own story.
Camino first wrote “Got To Be Love” as a love note to her husband. But it evolved into a love note to herself.
The song “was derived from looking at the dichotomy of expecting to be loved unconditionally and realizing that’s not how love works, that it is conditional with boundaries and self-introspection,” Camino said. “Self-love needed to be at the helm of the growth of the relationship with my partner.”
Jefford’s cinematic interpretation of “Got To Be Love” translates the song’s atmospheric elements into a spectral visual performance of a woman grappling with new motherhood — “an important story to tell,” said Camino, and one Jeffords hopes all women will be able to relate to.
“The work Kathryn has done as a budding writer and director is really impressive,” Camino said. “She took many different viewpoints and a complicated narrative and molded them into this symmetrical story line with strong imagery in the under-water shots and aerial views, really capturing the depth of this introspective struggle of the narrator.
“The video so strongly represents the essence of the song which can be hard to do,”Camino said. “But Kathryn had a strong viewpoint and she took the time to hear my voice, both in the song and in my narrative and beautifully represented it in the video.”
Jeffords moved to Jackson in 2014 to work for the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival (now Jackson Wild). She’s since held several positions in the Jackson art world, first at Jackson Hole Public Art and then the Art Association of Jackson Hole, before starting up a freelance film and production career in Boise, Idaho, last year.
“Jackson will always be one of my homes,” the filmmaker said. ￼