Cologne Residency Artist Talk

Sunday, March 21 at 2PM
Winnipeg Cinematheque
Admission is free

From Uptown Magazine March 18, 2010:

A cinematic odyssey
Three Winnipeg filmmakers return home to tell of their recent filmmaking journey

Winnipeg’s film community is making an international impression.

As part of a sister relationship with the Winnipeg Film Group, local filmmakers Jaimz Asmundson, Danishka Esterhazy, and Jeffrey Erbach recently completed a two-week residency at the Kolner Filmhaus, in Cologne, Germany.

The trio will be giving a free artists’ talk at Cinematheque this Sunday afternoon to share the details of the experience.

“We definitely made a stamp,” Asmundson says.”Hand-processing your film, for instance, is common in Winnipeg, but for them it was completely fresh.”

Erbach taught an acting class, and WFG production coordinator Mike Maryniuk – who came briefly to lend support – led other workshops. The filmmakers’ primary work, however, were the self-defined projects outlined in their proposals.

Each filmmaker was challenged during the stay. Esterhazy’s recent work – such as her debut feature Black Field – has tended to veer toward traditional narrative. This time, she created a new, experimental short on the theme of Cologne itself.

“It was a more improvisational process,” Esterhazy says. “I waited for inspiration to find me. But it actually gave me more energy to ‘find’ the film as it evolved.”

Asmundson had been working on and off on a film with his dad; his time in Cologne was focused mainly on editing the project. It primarily concerns his father’s subterranean journey into a self-contained, self-created other world.

“I wanted to really push myself,” Asmundson says. “The way this film mixes styles is unlike anything else I’ve done.”

Erbach, in collaboration with local actors in Cologne, continued worked on ways of applying biomechanics, an acting process developed by Russian theatre giant Vsevolod Meyerhold. It’s a system Erbach, the acclaimed writer-director of The Nature of Nicholas, had explored for the last year and a half.

“It’s a more physical way of finding the ‘composition’ of a performance,” Erbach says. “How cinematography works with this -how to place the ‘notes’ of a performance in a film – is what I’m still trying to figure out.”

Although they brought WFG equipment with them, the filmmakers found there were many unique opportunities afforded by Cologne.

“I found the very sound of Cologne was different,” Esterhazy says. “Not just the bells and subway, but how sound echoed off the old stonework.” She walked around with a digital recorder to collect raw material for her film’s soundtrack.

Asmundson also shot new footage in Cologne featuring his dad, who visited. The two also shot in the Paris catacombs. “All this added production value,” Asmundson says.

Still, there is realization of how good filmmakers have it in the ‘Peg.

“We have great resources available to us,” Asmundson says. “That’s less the case in Cologne. We’d love to host some Cologne filmmakers.”

Those filmmakers there reacted in some unexpected ways to the Winnipeggers’ work.

“They loved Attack of the 50 Foot Chihuahua from Outer Space!” Asmundson says. “That surprised me.”

“It goes to show how important it is to have your work travel,” Esterhazy says. “People can relate to film across linguistic and cultural barriers.”

– Kenton Smith

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~ by cineflyer on March 18, 2010.

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