Empires Falling

Rotoscope animation music video for the song "Empires Falling" by Austin, Texas-based band The Black Angels.

  • Craig Staggs
    Tower, Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood, Undone seasons 1 & 2
  • Craig Staggs
    Tower, Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood, Undone seasons 1 & 2
  • Steph Swope
    Tower, Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood, Undone seasons 1 & 2
  • Alex Maas
    Key Cast
  • Christian Bland
    Key Cast
  • Stephanie Bailey
    Key Cast
  • Jake Garcia
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Music Video
  • Genres:
    Sci-Fi, Fantasy, music video
  • Runtime:
    3 minutes 40 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 13, 2022
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Craig Staggs

Animation director Craig Staggs co-founded Minnow Mountain after a lifelong career in art, theater, and film. He’s an acclaimed independent producer known for his ability as a visual artist. Craig is the mastermind behind Minnow Mountain’s rotoscope approach, advocating for a focus on story, character, and acting.

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Director Statement

"Empires Falling" was an amazing opportunity to work with The Black Angels, a band I have been a fan of since one of their songs was used in my first film, "Tower." The band requested a style similar to Ralph Bakshi's iconic rotoscope animation, mixed with the trippy visual weirdness they're famous for. I felt this would perfectly encapsulate the dystopian hellscape depicted in the song.

In the foreground we see the march of destruction through archival footage of imperial leaders, technology, and war. Black silhouettes with glowing eyes and a thirst for power ride the weapons of war into battle. In the background we see the surreal and the experiential in gaudy, lush, and deep colors.

The sky menaces, paint dances, ink spreads, snake scales slither, fire burns, and a giant eye watches as we fight in the foreground.

A mix of the brutal and banal. The psychic, psychological, and personal. A future terrifying and surreal, that is also the present.