Meet the Cambridge director up for a Juno for Scott Helman's Hang Ups video

A Cambridge music video director is up for a big prize this weekend – a Juno for Music Video of the Year.

Ben Knechtel nominated for Video of the Year at 2019 Junos for work with Scott Helman

Ben Knechtel (left) directed Scott Helman's (right) music video for Hang Ups, now up for a Video of the Year award in the 2019 Junos. (Lee Zavitz)

A Cambridge director is up for a big prize this weekend — a Juno for Music Video of the Year.

Ben Knechtel is nominated for directing Scott Helman's music video for the song Hang Ups.

The video features a spinning room that rotates with Helman inside it.

He's forced to climb, slide and jump from wall to wall as the room moves. Helman spent about 10 dizzying hours inside it for the shoot.

"A company in Hamilton actually built it for us. Essentially, the entire room rotates like a hamster wheel, so all the furniture, basically all the set pieces have to be drilled into the walls so they stay perfectly still," said Knechtel.

"We had this amazing effect where it looks like he's walking and dancing on the walls and ceiling. There's no special effects to this video at all."

Knechtel said he was thrilled and surprised when he heard he got the Juno nomination.

"I've been making music videos for over 10 years and it's just a very hard — I don't do it for the recognition or awards or anything like that — it's just a very, very hard thing to get nominated for," he said.

Knechtel said the video is one he's most proud of and the video is special in part because of his long-time creative collaboration with Helman.

"Even before he released any music, his record label brought me in to meet him. This one really is a culmination of working with friends, and a working relationship that spans five years so that's why this one's so important," he said. "It's not just a one-off video that I happened to do with an artist. It's five years in the making."

He'll be competing against big names in Canadian music, including the video for Bahamas' No Depression, Alaskan Tapes' video Places, Classified's video Powerless and Sonreal's video Have a Nice Day.

This is the first time Knechtel has been nominated for this award, but he's no stranger to award season.

Ben Knechtel is nominated for a Juno for directing the Scott Helman music video Hang Ups. He's shown here on set (left) with Helman (right). (Lee Zavitz)

Knechtel has directed other well-known Canadian music videos, including Carly Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe. That video won Video of the Year, Most Streamed Video of the Year and UR Fave Video at the MuchMusic Video Awards in 2012, and the same year it was nominated for Most Share-Worthy Video at the MTV Video Music Awards.

Knechtel says a Juno nod is especially significant to him because it recognizes the video director, not just the artist.

"I'm thrilled. It really is an honour. I'm just stoked to be in the mix, to be honest," he said.

Knechtel will be at the awards show, hoping for a win on Sunday.

The 48th Juno Awards air Sunday, March 17 at 8 p.m. ET on CBC, for full coverage, check out CBC Music.


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