They’re only up against, well, just about every star in Nashville. But never discount the appeal of the Nevada desert, stunt planes and Kelsea Ballerini in a windswept blue dress.
Ballerini’s “Peter Pan” is up for video of the year at Sunday’s Academy of Country Music Awards. It was filmed in Sandy Valley and at the dry lake bed near Jean with the help of pilot Kyle Napier and Henderson-based Sky Combat Ace, which offers stunt plane experiences.
“It was beautiful chaos,” Nashville-based director Kristin Barlowe says of the two-day shoot in February 2016. Barlowe says her parents’ fondness for stunt planes and parachutes — “My mom used to pack my dad’s chute” — inspired a means to illustrate what became a No. 1 country single without storybook Peter Pan literalism.
“How do you take a ballad and make it really exciting? I thought that would be a fun change for a ballad,” Barlowe explains of actually putting the “lost boy” of the song “up in the clouds.”
“I wanted it to be super-cinematic and regal and dramatic because I hadn’t really done that for a video yet,” Ballerini said. “I want to be someone that fans can expect a really good music video from.”
The video is a long shot to win the award, which will be presented off-camera. It’s up against “Forever Country,” the all-star video packed with 30 country stars, which opened last year’s CMA Awards.
But that one was achieved with green screens and digital effects. If the judges value realism, the Nevada desert provided it for the “Peter Pan” clip. “That scene with the blue dress blowing and it’s all amazing? That’s all natural wind and us trying to hold her dress from blowing off her,” Barlowe says.
“We had to shoot that really fast. A storm was coming and we had to get off the dry lake bed or else risk being stuck out there.”