While many were sitting inside waiting for 2020 to end, Canada’s Michael Stevantoni has been having a year to remember. As a director and production designer with the production company Trikon, he has worked on many successful projects seen by millions around the globe.
Founded in 2015 by Santiago Cervantes and Celina Biurrun, Trikon is a media-production collective that produces commercials, music videos, narrative feature films and much more for some of the biggest talents in the industry. It is a culture-driven creative studio that represents a collective of influential creative talent. Whether it’s an agency, artist, brand, or entertainment partner, Trikon collaborates with those who are known for making a lasting impact on culture. Its headquarters are in Los Angeles and it has operations around the world. Working with brands like Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Costco, Paper Source, GarageEasy and Acapella and musical artists like G-Eazy, Cuco, Beam, Joey Trap, Rin, Vonnie D and Levitation Room, as well as some of the largest music labels in the world including Atlantic Records, Epic Records, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, RCA Records, Interscope Records, Farwire Records and First Access Entertainment, Trikon has made a name for itself as an industry leader in its 5 years of operation. Now Stevantoni has stepped into the fold and has shown audiences everywhere why he is such a rare young talent.
“Trikon encourages me to take creative risks and explore new ideas while also building
partnerships with some of the most influential musical artists and brands in the world. It’s always thrilling to work on a project with Trikon because you never know what to expect,” he said.
Last year, Trikon and Stevantoni helped to create the stunning music video for “Yuna” by Blank Marquee feat. G-Eazy, which has been viewed over 3 million times on YouTube alone, “Bossa No Se” by Cuco was Vevo’s fourth most viewed indie music video in 2019 with 6.5 million views at the time, and over 12 million to date.
The true star of Stevantoni’s work with Trikon, however, is the short film The Banality, for which he wrote, directed, and did the production design. In 2018, this Trikon production went on to win several film festival awards including at WorldFest Houston, where Stevantoni was recognized with an award for his direction, and Southern Shorts Awards for both direction and production design. The Banality also received nominations at the Georgia Shorts Film Festival, GA, and a nomination for Best Short Film at the Fort Worth Indie Showcase, TX. Due to this success, the film was able to gain enough attention to warrant production of a feature-length version of the concept by Trikon in 2019, directed by Stevantoni and his frequent collaborator Strack Azar. This is now set to be a highly-anticipated tentpole release this year. This is Stevantoni’s second-feature film as director after 2019’s award-winning Salton Sea, distributed by Cinema Epoch.
“The Banality is my most ambitious film to date. We knew which locations and characters we wanted to sculpt from, but did not exactly know what the final product would look like. The end result is clear in its emotional intent, but is as raw and at times inexplicable as life itself,” said Stevantoni.
Set in a small farming community in the American South, The Banality is the story of Father Moss, a priest in remission after a battle with ocular cancer, and his newfound search for clarity in the face of a local tragedy and a series of unearthly visions. As the answers begin to reveal themselves, those involved in the case must grapple with the balance between forgiveness and judgment, unable to shake the feeling that Father Moss’s visions are a sign of darker days to come.
The region has aptly developed its own folk traditions characterized by its rich artistic history. The Banality simultaneously portrays the day-to-day lives of those living and working in this rural landscape, and their elaborate folklore, composed of tall tales and legends enduring within the present moment. This effort is apparent in Father Moss’s struggle to achieve a moral footing between judgment and forgiveness, as well as the larger-than-life circumstances at the heart of nature—and his eventual demise at the hand of man.
“It was essential to visit the Mississippi Delta many times during the writing and pre-production phase. It took falling in love with the location and exploring every dirt road and diner in town to be able to present our version of it. Production was very intense for the whole crew.
We were faced with temperatures in the triple digits and a tight shooting schedule,” Stevantoni described. “The team, however, had already become extremely close during a tumultuous pre-production phase, so everyone was extremely dedicated and fueled by passion. As the director, it’s my personal responsibility to channel that passion and guide everyone’s instincts, be they musical, visual or logistical, to create a consistent and honest work.”
To have the opportunity to develop his short film into a feature-length project is a dream come true for Stevantoni, allowing him the chance to delve deeper into his characters and their world, and doing so with Trikon at his side has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the filmmaker.
On top of The Banality, Stevantoni has many more projects in the works with Trikon, such as the feature film Pop Verve which he production designed and had it’s premiere at the Rhode Island Film Festival. Also coming from Trikon are the feature films Soltando, and Fuzzy Head from award-winning director Wendy McColm, which are now in post-production now. Stevantoni is also developing an untitled feature film for Trikon that he is looking to direct within the next year. Keep an eye out for all these exciting projects as we head into 2021.