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Flimmernacht: introduction

Post 1 in a series about my experience in a short movie contest.

It has been a long time since I last wrote around here. Anyway I want to talk now about a crazy contest held in Offenburg, Germany. Actually, it is still going on, the second phase is about to begin. Here are my experiences with my short film…

These will actually be a series of posts because I consider them too long to be in one single post. I don’t like reading big entries, it’s easier when there’s just a couple of paragraphs to get the picture. So bigger posts I find difficult to follow, I want something quick. Anyway here it goes…

Actually, I am going to cheat in this blog post. I already had written these next paragraphs, for a report I will deliver to a lecture in the University. This is why I could mention “report” several times here and there.

This report contains the general tasks developed for the small production, which was delivered to a contest that took place in May 2008, in Offenburg, Germany. It was a very particular contest (Flimmernacht), which consists on a film that must be shot in an old Super 8 camera.

The film maker is not allowed to develop the (one single) cartridge used for the film, with all the consequences: he’s not allowed to edit it, he’s not allowed to see it, he’s not allowed to correct mistakes.

That represents a lot of problems, being one of the most notorious is that if the film requires different locations, they have to be shot in the order of appearance in the film itself, thus consuming, depending on the story and screenplay, more time on the shooting.

There is a second part of the contest, which consists in sound designers producing sounds for one of the films delivered. But there are also rules: the film maker can not design his own soundtrack, and the sound designer should not make contact with the film maker and discuss the film. Other than that: creativity is allowed 100%.

There is a topic for the contest, “Zitterpartie”, which I haven’t yet understood its actual English translation, but I have been explained that it is about “shaking nervously” or something similar.

One of the important things to notice in this particular production, is the lack of budget, cast and tech staff. The script, direction, all cast plays and some shots are done by the same person: me. There are two camera men who helped one on one day and the other one on the next: Enam and Anang, I thank them a lot.

Furthermore: there is no professional script as such, and because of the technical restrictions on the cartridge itself (and maybe also mistakes on the actual shooting), some scenes had to be left out on the “final cut”, because we only had exactly 3 minutes and 24 seconds to shoot; no more, no less.

So because of this, and because I lacked a professional, well developed and specific screen play with exact timing, location, camera shots, etc. there was a lot of improvisation on the realization of this film.

I would also like to thank a lot Joachim Trunk and Marco Avella. Without their most valuable help with initial advise, the borrowing of equipment and costume devices, this film could not have been possible.


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