Straight8 we said
Simon and I have been taking excursions into analogue filmmaking before. Our first Super8 short 'Schwarzer Kaffee' we shot in a small attic room in Stuttgart that for a week we turned into a lost writer's chamber: paper all over the walls, diffuse light coming in through the windows, and the occasional cigarette in the ashtray. Two years later, we shot 'What To Do With Life' in New York, fitting the story, on iPhone 7, but couldn't keep our hands off the Super8 cassettes. Partly because of the workflow, partly because of the unique, dreamy look that tied into our story; but also very much because we enjoyed merging two media that both, when they came out at their time, enabled really anyone to make films.
The thing with Simon and me is that our paths are straying and work hardly ever brings us to the same place, but there is always this time when one of us says 'hey I miss working on a project with you' and the other one goes 'well I've been thinking about this recently' - 'sounds good enough' ... and so on. This time, it happened because Simon found one film cassette that was left over and unused from New York. We also had both heard of and talked about the Straight8 Festival before that looks for films shot on one Super8 cassette, unedited, undeveloped, unprocessed. You sent it in, and if they like it, they'll develop it for you and premiere it at the Festival in Cannes.
So what better to do with a week off and being roughly in the same area? It took us a night at a concert in Germany and a drive to Switzerland to figure out what we wanted to shoot: a miniature rip off of a lone wanderer in tweet suit, playing around with Caspar David Friedrich motives. Admittedly, the idea could have done with at least a coffee pot of more of script development, but that is surely the charm of Super8. Take what you get. Together with knowing - or trying to guess - where the cut has to be, when to release your finger from the record-button. Playing the film out in your head again, to find how many shots you need to tell that someone is walking up a hill trying to get to the top. It is a nice mixture of planning to the second and letting go and accepting and trusting your judgement. What we learned: always check the focus, the sun in mountain valleys is incredibly fast, tweet suits incredibly hot, Super8 and dog wrangling go well together.
Now, working plenty with the 'easy' and 'accessible' medium of webseries through our festival, I do enjoy the contrast of the two. One giving you the freedom of shooting anything, however many times for free - the other one requiring a thoughtful, planned and sort of take-what-you-get approach. I truly celebrate both ways and I think working on analogue has a nice influence on your filmmaking in general, even if it's just holding on for a second before you press record, and trusting your creativity.