Interview with Filmmaker Arturo Bandinelli & Celina Liesegang (VISCERA: AUTOPSY OF A (NON)HUMAN BODY)

VISCERA: AUTOPSY OF A (NON)HUMAN BODY was the winner of BEST SOUND & MUSIC at the December 2021 DANCE Film Festival

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Celina: After having “stumbled” across the location, I was immediately inspired by the decaying decadence of this once glamorous hotel. It very much mirrored ideas I had been exploring around the decay of the human body, how it is shaped by the memories and traumas we all experience throughout our lives. I had been reading ‘The body keeps the score’ by Bessel van der Kolk. I saw the body of the hotel as a metaphor for the human existence and wanted to bring the memories of the hotel back to life.

Arturo: When Celina described to me the location, and then showed me some pictures of it, I was immediately fascinated by the possibility of shooting something there.

She then explained some of her ideas, and I understood that there was scope for a very productive collaboration. I had no doubt this film had to be made.

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

Celina: Well considering the seed was planted in 2015 – about 6 years of thinking and making on my end.

Arturo: Practically it took nearly three years! The post-production was quite laborious, it was a slow and sometimes painful process of subtraction. It wasn’t easy to find the right pace and emotional tonality, especially when transitioning between scenarios.

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

Celina: Accepting that it needed a lot of time, and with that- space. Producing work often entails very tight deadlines but that was not the case for Viscera. Moving away from feeling the pressure to speedily “produce” and actually to let the process unfold in it’s own time was a challenge but actually a great opportunity to let go of habitual ways of working.

Arturo: I think that the biggest challenge was to find a coherent logic that would make sense to us without resorting to any standardised narrative structure. Transitioning between scenes, as mentioned previously, was also quite tricky.

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

Celina: Absolute joy! To hear from people who are on the other side of the world, to see their enthusiasm for the work and their individual interpretations and reflections was a wonderful reminder of why I make work in the first place! The intention of the film was to get people to feel, to viscerally experience what they are seeing in relation to their own lives and memories, and it seemed to do just that. Thank you to everyone for sharing your thoughts.

Arturo: I think they got the movie better than we did! I was really impressed by the perceptiveness of some of the comments which highlighted aspects of the film that I didn’t fully take into account myself.6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

5. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

Arturo: I think I was around 6 or 7.

Celina: When studying at the California Institute of the Arts. The wonderful teacher and creator Francesca Penzani lead a “Dance for Camera” course, teaching how to frame dance within film and to work with Final Cut. I loved the way working with film choreographically opened up seemingly endless possibilities.

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

Arturo: If we do not consider the usual Disney films (Lion King, Dumbo etc.), which I used to watch over and over again as a child, then probably Bernando Bertolucci’s The Conformist.

Celina: The Lord of the Rings. All of them. Too many times…!

7. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

Celina: I think actually what you are already doing! The audience feedback, in particular was of interest to me, but also giving us space via the podcast and interviews to discuss the work.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

Celina: Easy! It’s very simple to navigate and the fact that all the festivals can be found in one place is a great time saver!

9. What is your favorite meal?

Arturo: It’s a tough one, but probably some kind of pasta meal, or a particular Libyan Couscous my grandma used to make (my father’s side of the family lived in Lybia for some years)

Celina: My mum’s ‘grießnockerlsuppe’ – a simple but delicious broth with semolina dumplings!

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

Celina: Don’t tempt me ! We are joking about a Viscera part 2… Otherwise I’m currently making an album(music), so let’s see where that goes!

Arturo: I am currently working on a new experimental movement film.

By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival www.wildsound.ca

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