On Tuesday (Nov. 22), Kendrick Lamar and Dave Free held a private screening for their short film “We Cry Together,” which is centered around Lamar’s Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers song of the same name. Following the screening, the duo sat down with actress Tessa Thompson to discuss the Alchemist, Emile Haynie, Bēkon, and J.LBS-produced cut and its accompanying clip. According to Lamar, the idea for the emotionally charged track — which features Taylour Paige — began with its visual aspect:

“The crazy part about this joint is that it started with the film first and the music — putting it on the actual album — came after. The idea was always to capture this writing, not no song, [but] the writing and the film and the texture and the cinematography of it in order to get the full experience out.”

He continued: “I always had trust in Dave, and vice versa, to trust all of our ideas as a collective. And I think the energy that we bring, and the groundwork that we put forth, brought us individuals like Taylour and Jake [Schreier, who helped to direct the short film] to come and say, ‘Okay, this is a collective I want to be a part of and not be blocked in by the margins of what people perceive is okay.'”

Free added to the conversation, elaborating on the film’s creation:

“[We were like] let’s find super intense moments that have a lot of atmosphere in the room. And as we went through the process, we started talking about how this should be a film. We settled on a one-take format that was essentially a dance in the room. There was a lot of people in that room, even outside of Kendrick, dancing around to capture that. And Jake was a huge help. He did some one-take work that we were really inspired by, so we asked him to join us, and we started putting the pieces together.”

You can read more on Lamar, Free, and Thompson’s discussion here.