The Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) was a dynamic, four-day international event that took place in the City of York from the 3 – 6 November. After screening 150 films in 15 venues across 4 days, and after hours of deliberation, the judges announced the category winners on Sunday night at our Awards Ceremony. Amongst the winners was Maria de Gier, whose music video for Amatorski, Soldier won the Best Music Video category. We caught up with Maria post-festival to talk about the video, and her future plans.
A: Congratulations on winning the ASFF Best Music Video Award. What impact do you think this will have on your career?
MDG: It’s a great kick-start for my film career! This is my directorial debut and this prize really means a lot to me. I have a feeling the benefits will slowly present themselves to me over the next few months, which is an exciting prospect.
A: How would you describe your work?
MDG: To me Soldier is a mixture of pain and beauty. I feel it contains great sorrow, yet hope. It is a collection of lost dreams, but you can still catch a glimpse of them. The overriding message is that all is not lost. War breaks, destroys and tears apart. I wanted to show, not only the horror of war, but also the personal face of war, sort of like a stream of consciousness, or a memory in the mind, perhaps one of a dying soldier.
A:Could you tell me a little bit about your music video and how it came about?
MDG: At the time (and now still) I was very much interested in the possibility of different layers of film merging with each other. I made a short clip that I sent to Amatorski, which they liked very much. That little experiment is the very first beginning of what was to become the music video. Soldier is composed of stock material, mostly from an internet library; an amazing initiative containing accessible knowledge of all sorts mixed with all new material that I shot myself. (www.archive.org) Mixed with all new material I shot myself. When I was editing I felt like I was piecing together an enormous puzzle, but this puzzle came without a box! There were moments when I felt it was an impossible project I had made for myself but somehow I made it all fit. I’m really glad it came out the way I hoped and imagined it to be.
A:What were some of the challenges involved in making your film?
MDG: Mixing the, often very short, fragments of film, collected from hundreds of hours of old news reels and documentaries. It was a real struggle to make everything work together. At some points in the video there are up to nine layers of film that had to merge into one. Finding balance in image, pacing, movement, transition and meaning throughout the whole timeline of the music video was a big challenge.
A:What is your all time favourite music video?
MDG: I have several, it is hard to pick just one. I admire Jonathan Glazer’s video for Radiohead’s Street Spirit (Fade Out), Royksopps’s What Else Is There? by Martin De Thurah. Björk has so many amazing video’s, I could go on for a while…
A: What are you working on next?
MDG: I’ll be working on a cross-over film, art and music video project with the wonderful musician Ozark Henry. You will definitely hear from me in the future, I feel like this is the start of really something.
Maria travelled to York from Brussels via Eurostar and East Coast Trains.