Best known for his music videos, Elam graduate Tim van Dammen began dabbling in acting, bands and photography as a teen. Inbetween drumming for Collapsing Cities, he has directed two no-budget features and 160+ videos, including clips for Sola Rosa, Boh Runga and Kids of 88. His third feature Romeo and Juliet: A Love Story, launched at the 2013 NZ International Film Festival. It combined Shakespeare, many songs and trailer trash. Five years later the festival was set to play van Dammen's action comedy Mega Time Squad.
Having shot a lot to music vids helps because it is very difficult to shoot to music – much harder than shooting standard drama or comedy because everything needs to be in time to a track. Tim van Dammen on making Romeo and Juliet: A Love Story, Flicks website, 26 July 2013
John (Anton Tennet) is a small town crim with a big time dream: to abscond from Thames to Paeroa with his boss’s sister. A robbery gone wrong and a mysterious Chinese bracelet send his plans into a spin, and he finds that going back to the future has a price. Hong Kong action movies, Kiwi slapstick and time travel head to the heartland in Tim van Dammen’s follow-up to Romeo and Juliet: A Love Song. Jonathan Brugh (What We Do in the Shadows) plays the villain; Milo Cawthorne and Yoson An are also in the cast. Mega Time Squad was selected for the Fantasia festival in Montreal.
This musical retooling of the ill-fated love story began life as a concept album by ex Screaming Meemee members Peter van der Fluit and Michael McNeill. In 2010 they sent 38 songs to director Tim van Dammen, who decided to retell Shakespeare's classic romance as "a sort of trash opera — like an updated John Waters type thing". A caravan park is the canvas for a cast of beautiful young things, pop, rap, knives and beer crates. NZ Herald's Dominic Corry praised the film for its "emotionally-assured grasp of what makes this famous story so enduring".
The urgent, pulsating 'Just a Little Bit' was the second single for Auckland electropop duo Kids of 88. On a set lit by suitably retro fluorescent light tubes, director Tim van Dammen's clip echoes the video for the band's debut 'Our House' — but with models fighting each other rather than having paint poured over them. Van Dammen's aim was to create "a fight, but shot to look like an orgy" — and, by the end of the video, the line between passion and aggression is all but indistinguishable. The single and video were both winners at the 2010 Vodafone NZ Music Awards.
Updated Out Run-style back projection effects give this Tim Van Dammen clip momentum, and along with Boh's seductive performance, drive a terrific song. "The 1965 mustang was kindly donated for the shoot, which was during the weekend of the 48 Hour Film Festival ... we were asked to turn the playback down about five times by nearby crews trying to get dialogue [for their 48 Hour films] (no hard feelings guys - I hope)." Blur and Sharpen - May 09