It would take you a while, but it would be worth it. I guarantee that if you went out to a show in the Twin Cities every night and asked every person you ran into if they knew him, you could count up to 100 and not find a single one that would have a bad thing to say about Andre Durand.
A talented filmmaker and music lover, Andre will leave behind a collection of stunning, evocative moving images in the form of music videos and short films. At only 32 years old, his career was off to more than a promising start. But what I’m thinking about today, and what so many friends from around this sprawling scene are realizing, is that Andre’s biggest legacy just might be his capacity for kindness; the warmth and curiosity he showed to everyone he met; and the genuine, infectious passion he poured into his art and his life. He was always smiling. Laughing too, if you were lucky. He always managed to be the shining bright spot in the room.
I first met Andre back in 2010 through his work with MPLS.TV, the prolific and downright giddy video site that burst onto the scene around that time. Durand was part of a new crew of filmmakers who were reared at MCTC and ready to work, and he brought a tireless energy to projects like the “City of Music” series (which I helped support in my former role at City Pages) and other music-related videos alongside other blossoming directors like Dan Huiting, Lauren Josephine, and Chris Hadland.
In many ways, Durand and his cohorts were part of a new school of thought in Minnesota arts media. They weren’t waiting around for legacy media outlets to hire them, or resting on their laurels waiting for permission to try new things. They were just doing it, making videos for free because they wanted the artists to look awesome, and working 12-hour-plus days shooting, scheming, and editing, simply because that’s what it took to make the work they wanted to see. They raised the bar for what kind of coverage we should expect of our hometown artists, and showed us that music videos could once again be relevant and essential to fans.
Over the years Durand began developing his own style and breaking out on his own—his role developing the storyline of Bon Iver’s “Calgary” video along with Huiting and Justin Vernon was a career milestone—and he soon began directing his own videos, like No Bird Sing’s apocalyptic “And War” and the Pines’ “Cry Cry Crow.” His cinematography work also found him jet-setting around the world, from Haiti to Iceland and Scandinavia.
Andre died on Sunday, September 20, following a tragic accident in Bushwick, New York. A fundraiser has been set up for his family, and I’ll share information about any memorial services as soon as it is available. For now we are left with his work. Which is beautiful, just like he was.