Interview with Dancer/Choreographer/Director  Lena Strützke (CONTEMPLATION)

CONTEMPLATION was the winner of BEST MUSIC FILM at the March 2022 Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

My first inspiration for this film was the sound designer Hélène Vogelsinger and her latest album I discovered in 2020. I immediately wrote her a personal message to let her know how much her music touched me and that I would like to work with her. At this time, we were already deep down in the Covid pandemic which did not allow me to produce stage works because all possible venues were closed. So I used this as a chance and opportunity to create dance for a film format for the first time. My good friend and the talented dancer Patrizia Bieri was a person very close to me at this time and inspired me to tell a personal story about identity and perception. As soon as I told her about the idea and showed her the music we started working.

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

As soon as the idea was born, I started to collect ideas and began a long writing and observation process with Patrizia. We met at least once a week in the studio and talked, wrote and played with movement ideas. My goal was to portrait her in the way I perceive her as my friend, as a dancer, as a woman, as a human and let her see what I see in her. This was one of the most enriching and intimate work processes I have ever been in. After we build the base of the movements and atmospheres I started to put a team of creatives together, mostly friends who supported the concept and added their artistry. 5 months later we shot the film one day in summer and took some months on off editing so we were able to finish the film in the same year the idea was born.

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

HIDE & SEEK

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

For me it was important to be able to create a healthy and joyful work environment which includes being able to pay all people included in this project. Financing this all by myself, I wished for more money I could pay the crew to recognize and compliment their skills.

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

When I received the feedback video I was actually in another work meeting but then I was too curious to wait and took a break to watch it. I was overwhelmed by the positive feedback and loved each individual comment on styling, the performer, camera work, dramaturgy and setting which encouraged me in my choices. Even though I have my personal story and interpretation to this film, I enjoy listening to an audience observation and the elements
(such as the mask or the drone shots for example) that stick out. I think I will have to watch it some more times 😉

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

I never knew I wanted to make films. I am a dancer and performer and lots of the things I perceive in life I translate quiet fast into an performative setting. Being able to shift peoples attention on something I would like them to see, was what interested me originally.

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

I don’t know why but I believe one of the movies I have seen the most is „Requiem for a dream” by Darren Aronofsky.
I guess I was impressed by the way of story telling and the great music.

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

I always enjoy a networking which gives also the film makers a chance to get to see each others work and eventually share and exchange.

9. You submitted to the festival via Film Freeway. How has your experience been working on the festival platform site?

This was the first time so I don’t really have that much experience to be honest. This was the first festival I applied for.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Eggs, in any form. Scrambled, cooked, sunny side up. I could eat eggs for the rest of my life probably.

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

I am currently in a research project which is recalling my works of the past two years („Contemplation” included) and finalizing this in a print.

Also, I would love to deepen the work relationship I started to build with Hélène Vogelsinger and could see myself doing another project again this year… lets see what the future brings.

By matthewtoffolo

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

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