Interview with director Jelle Bleyenbergh (THE FLOW)

THE FLOW was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the January 2018 Under 5min. Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Jelle Bleyenbergh: Being active as an editor and cameraman in the advertising industry, I had longed to make something of my very own again for a while. The last time I had made a film was in graduation year at film school. Going on holiday to the amazing country of Iceland with fellow filmmakers, was the ideal spark to create a film from start to finish. Plus, my new life experiences gave me something cinematic to tell.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

I came up with a screenplay around January 2017, which later on, I drastically changed into something shorter and more recognisable. The original idea was far too artsy and long, I felt like I needed something easier to watch for this particular feeling I wanted to convey. So around March, I had written my definitive little screenplay; I successfully contacted Stefán, a local actor and vlogger in Iceland, who was enthusiastic about the idea and willing and able to play the part. We shot environment shots of ‘The Flow’ in the course of a small week, and all the shots with Stefán were shot in one long day. When we got back home in Belgium, postproduction took no less than a month, because I could only edit in my spare time and because I wanted to get the film just right. So all in all, from the original idea to finished product, it took five months.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Let go.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

You’re not gonna believe it, but it was finding the right compass. The compass was an essential prop to tell my story, but I figured it would be easy to find somewhere so I postponed looking for it. Two weeks before we went to Iceland, I found out it wasn’t easy at all. No one I knew had a compass that was small enough; I nearly bought a good one second hand for which I would have had to drive hours to pick up. Then I decided to simply buy one I found online in an international shop… and it nearly didn’t make it in time through the post. I received it a few days before we travelled to Iceland. I never thought a compass would be my biggest source of stress through making the whole film. It now rests on my shelf as a good reminder to always be prepared in time for the simplest of things.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I smiled. And I was happy to hear a woman recognised one of the locations, and that the film gave her the feeling she had when she was there. Job well done, it seems!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

My experience in life these past years, taught me that it’s good sometimes to let go of everything I know and take an unfamiliar but more liberating path. The analogy with driving through the landscapes in Iceland and leaving the car, that was a nice little setup of a story waiting to happen.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Probably ‘Inception’ by Christopher Nolan. Watched it twice in cinemas and countless times at home. That film is the holy grail of spectacular editing to me, from story to music.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

It’s such a handy platform, with an easy search function and a clear overview of your film details. I can’t think of a better nor faster way to spread your work across the globe.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

Big cliché, but probably ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen. ‘Full Circle’ by Half Moon Run is my current favorite song to daydream to, and has been for many years now.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

Not sure yet, but I will at least write a new screenplay this year for a short film. And I will definitely direct one again in the not so distant future, even though my heart is truly drawn to editing.

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