interfilm Festival

Behind the Screen: Interviews & Portraits

Festival coverage

Background information, interviews, films and filmmakers: Immerse yourself in the International Short Film Festival Berlin!

Interviews with directors:

- Michael Spiccia and the female junk-yard-superhero
- Kingdom Director David Downes and the musical culture of eating
- Maarten Koopman and his revenge on the waiting loop
- O. Serdyuk from Ukraine about his clip OIL and attitudes towards ecological issues in his country

Yardbird-Director Michael Spiccia and the female junk-yard-superhero

Yardbird

by Michael Spiccia, Australia 2012, 13min

Yardbird is shown in the Fokus Australien / Neuseeland

Michael, please introduce yourself.

My name is Michael Spiccia and I'm a filmmaker based in Sydney, Australia.

The atmosphere of Yardbird is really intense. Did you have specific examples concerning the staging?

I had pretty specific idea of how I saw the world of Yardbird. I really wanted to make sure that Ruby's world consisted of juxtaposition, both prison and playground. My father worked in smash repairs and as a child I was always surrounded by and visiting wrecking yards filled with destroyed vehicles and parts. I suppose on a subconscious level this informed me on how I wanted the world to look. As far as the staging was concerned it was all a matter of finding the right location. I scouted a number of wrecking yards along the east coast of Australia and was getting increasingly worried as I couldn't find the right one, until I came across the last one! It was perfect. The man who ran the yard (his name was Kelly) was so gracious and allowed me and my team to take over the yard for a week and arrange and move vehicles that would aid the film. I then worked quite closely with my production designer Joseph Kiely in placing vehicles where I needed them. From creating and building stacks of vehicles to organising a quadrangle it was quite physically intensive! But I was really happy with the result and incredibly grateful what the entire team produced.

Your protagonist is a woman respectively a young girl and she is a female superhero what is a extremely rare thing these days. What do you think about the lack of women as superheroes in big blockbuster productions?

It's an interesting question because I never went into this film with the idea of making a superhero movie. But I understand how many people could perceive it that way. Many people have asked me, why a female protagonist? I think the main reason why I wanted to pursue a young girl is because she represented a certain fragility with which I wanted to find and proved to be a powerful contrast once we find out about her true abilities and how she handles them. With Ruby I wanted to find a girl who was on the cusp of adolescents. A young girl of this age is on the brink of many changes, both physically and emotionally. Much more complex and involved than a boy. I felt that this was an important aspect to Ruby's conflict as she was a young girl on the cusp of change trying to understand and 'control' who she is.

With regards to the female superhero thing I am not entirely sure. I wasn't a big comic book kid or gravitated to blockbuster productions as I find them mostly all the same. I think it really comes down to who the characters are, their origins and what is essentially their conflict. It just so happens that most of the more intriguing characters of this world seem to be male. But hey, I was a fan of Wonder Woman as a kid!

Kingdom Director David Downes and the musical culture of eating

Kingdom

by David Downes, New Zealand 2012, 12min, animation

Kingdom is shown in the Focus Australia/New Zealand 

David, please introduce yourself.

I'm a filmmaker and composer from New Zealand. I started working in the late 1980s as a composer for contemporary theatre and dance, producing short experimental films in my spare time. I saw film as a natural extension of my music work. In 2000 I taught myself 3D animation and started making 3d animated films. I currently hold the position of Jack C Richards/Creative New Zealand Composer In Residence at the New Zealand School of Music.

Music seems to be an essential part of your animation films. In your opinion, what is the relation of picture and sound?

Music is very important to me. I enjoy films in which the music plays an essential part of the overall experience. When I make films I like the music and the imagery to inform each other and essentially occupy a singular creative space.

Kingdom examines social upbringing in connection with the culture of eating. What did you have in mind when you had the idea for the film? What is your opinion on these topics?

Kingdom was originally a commission to compose a piece of music for New Zealand piano trio 'NZTrio'. I have had a long standing fascination with psychology and my initial idea was to portray an 'archetypal trio' of mother, father and child. I wanted to explore the ways in which food can influence family relationships. I became interested in the 'language' of food consumption through Canadian author Margaret Visser's descriptions of the family meal as the arena in which many of our darkest fears and desires are played out. The acknowledgement of death as sustenance for life has traditionally been a catalyst to deep spiritual awakening. The contemporary approach however, seems to be a rather fierce systematic management of denial in the face of an underlying sense of absurdity and chaos. I wanted Kingdom to explore the boundary between these conscious and unconscious worlds.

If this interview with David Downes got you curious, you should visit the programme Animated 1 - Transformations. The director is travelling all the way from New Zealand to answer all your questions personally.

Maarten Koopman and his revenge on the waiting loop

One Moment Please

by Maarten Koopman, Netherlands 2011, 6 min, short fiction, animation

One Moment Please is shown in the section Delicacies in the programm Steffi likes this - Social Media unlimited (also the programme at Shorts Attack in November)


Maarten, please introduce yourself.

Maarten Koopman. Animator, composer, painter. Born and living in Amsterdam, Holland. I make my movies because no one else makes them the way I want them to be. I teach animation at the St. Joost Academy in Breda, Holland.

One Moment Please is about a guy, who has to waste his time in the waiting loop. How did you get the idea of translating this ordinary annoyance into something creative? What is the purpose of your film; revenge, criticism or just fun?

I got the idea while hangin’ on the telephone waiting for the right connection, doodling away on a newspaper. The purpose of my film is revenge and criticism and fun. I guess a lot of people do recognize the situation and can understand the reaction of the poor man (although I hope not too many people will shoot themselves in the end…).

Your film basically shows a newspaper that somebody is drawing on. Why did you choose this way of presentation and how long did the animation work take you?


I choose a newspaper because I think more people have a newspaper or magazine in front of them while calling a company than a blank piece of  paper. It also gave me the opportunity to do funny things with text and pictures.

Oleg Serdyuk from Ukraine about his clip OIL and attitudes towards ecological issues in his country

OIL

von Oleg Serdyuk, Ukraine 2012, 2 min, short fiction, music video clip, animation

OIL is shown in the section Delicacies in the programm Body Talk: Dancefilms!

 

Please introduce yourself
 
My name is Oleg Serdiuk, I live and work in Kharkiv, Ukraine. I work as a programmer and I make some music as well. I started making videos not so long ago, because it just seemed a good idea to me to make video clips for my music projects by myself. We have formed a creative team with a friend of mine, Olexander Kratinov, who specializes in graphics and visual effects.

Your film criticizes the way human kind treats nature. What is your message?

To start with, it is important to say that we live in a country, where the topic of ecology and environmental protection is not popular at all. Ukrainian society is cynical and it doesn’t believe in any social or ecological initiatives. It is normal to think that if anyone starts addressing the topic of ecology, it means that his or her only goal is to make some profit. This point of view is deliberately spread in society, because it is convenient for the authorities. It gives them an opportunity not to think about ecological issues still not having any problems with public opinion.

Besides that, Ukraine experiences strong influence of another country, a huge empire, which has been built on the oil resources. In this empire the indifference of society to the ecological problems, irresponsibility towards nature and unwillingness to change anything in the situation are the norm. This topic really bothers us. Our film is a warning. We need to change something; otherwise we will end up in something really tragic.

OIL is very stylish and abstract. Why did you choose this special approach to your topic?

Our friends from Grafprom studio (grafprom.com.ua), who were consulting us during the filming process, were the ones to suggest that mode of visual presentation of the topic. Initially, our idea was to film a girl in a dress, with miniature cities on it. But this idea was more difficult to implement technically, that was why we all have agreed upon the approach that is presented in our video.

To my mind, the abstract and sharp mode of presenting the idea that we have finally chosen helped to convey the message in a more dramatic way.

In November you will be our guest in Berlin. What do you expect of the International Short Film Festival?

It is a real pleasure that our film was selected for the festival programme, though it was a big surprise for us. Surely, we are in anticipation of a great number of wonderful films, and at the same time we are looking forward to meeting interesting people. Moreover, seeing your own film on a big screen should be an extremely exciting event.