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Atelier 105, en résidence / February 22, 2021

SOETKIN VERSTEGEN TALKS ABOUT HER FILM FREEZE FRAME

Freeze Frame (2019) by Soetkin Verstegen is part of the Atelier 105 film program that you can watch here from Monday 22 to Sunday 28 February 2021.


Can you elaborate on your ideas about movement and stillness as treated through the motif of ice in this stop-motion animation film?

I thought of ice as flowing movement that comes to a stop, and I wanted to re-animate this movement. This material, used in animation, has an interesting relation to stretching and condensing time, just like the invention of film has allowed to analyze time differently. In ice cubes I saw decaying celluloid images, with their fragility, luminosity and capricious textures. On celluloid film, stillness needs to keep moving, otherwise the image would melt away.

Your film shows a vivid interest in early cinema experiments and the purely visual aspect of filmmaking. Can you tell us a bit about your sources of inspiration?

For this film I was mostly drawn to early cinema's enchantment with scientific observation and discovery, with its poetic and haunting images of microscopy, underwater films, movement analysis and early medical imaging techniques like the X-ray. It was a fascinating period full of technological optimism, but now there's a lot of decay in this optimism. Other sources of inspiration were old films of the ice harvest, as well as negatives that were found frozen and thus preserved in ice, and which were developed a century later. The figures in the film are capturing, exploring and preserving, as in a ritual. They go as far as to try to capture themselves, digging into their own bodies. In the process of immortalizing something in an image, they may harm or destroy the original.

The film also experiments a lot the relation between image and sound. How did you work with your collaborators on the sound?

I made notes for every shot on what I had in mind for the sound. For example, I wanted the sound to be confusing – is there a projector playing and we are watching a film or is the sound coming from the puppets' actions? Or how I wanted the sound to make a bridge between shots. I sent it to Andrea and Michal, and they started working on the sound before the film was finished. Then I went to Berlin and the three of us sat in Michal's sound studio to create the entire sound.

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