Around this time last year, 21-year-old Elisa Lam went missing during a solo trip to Los Angeles. A month after her disappearance was reported, her body was found in a hotel's rooftop water tank. While it's unclear what happened, investigators ruled out foul play, leaving everyone to speculate wildly about her mental state and possible motivations. But a new video from the Canadian pop duo The Zolas, for the song "Ancient Mars," focuses instead on the innocent and simple joys Lam might have experienced during her last day alive, as she traveled alone and discovered new sights.
"I want to believe in time travel / That one day I'll come back to you," Zolas frontman Zach Gray sings, as a woman wanders unknown streets, visits strange shops and snaps photos.
"This video is one I've been thinking about for a long time," Zach Gray tells us via email. "When Elisa was still missing, there were all these reported sightings of her on street corners or at beaches further north. It was as if she was both alive and dead at the same time. I wanted to live in the dimension where she was alive. [Director] Kevan Funk and [director of photography] Benjamin Loeb and I wanted to capture her in that feeling of freedom that only comes when you're young and traveling alone. And we wanted people to see her portrayed the way she was — a normal, bright, 21-year-old woman, instead of a bipolar drug partier, the way the media painted her in order to explain her death. This video exists in the dimension I wanted to live in."
"Ancient Mars" is the title track to The Zolas' most recent full-length album. You can view another video for a track from that record called "Escape Artist" in an earlier First Watch.