Bits + Pieces
How does it feel to fall apart into bits and pieces? And what if the wind takes these bits and pieces on a journey? Maybe the wind knows way better than us where to go and where to stay and when to return to the point where it all began. This is a short film about thoughts and longing, about the wind and the sea. And about the harbor and the ferry as places that perfectly represent this kind of longing.
“Bits + Pieces” is based upon a poem that goes by the same name. It takes you on a melancholic, but hopeful journey.
The film was shot on 8 mm black-and-white film stock and is accompanied by text animations that where etched into 16 mm black film leader. This technique is called direct animation and is as old as the medium of film itself. The voice has been recorded with a dictaphone that uses mini cassettes.
Filmed on location in Hamburg, Germany and Gothenburg, Sweden in the summer months of 2022.
Credits / Collaborators / Cast
The story behind the film
During summer 2021 I wrote a poetic text which I titled “Bits + Pieces”. The idea to turn this text into a film was there immediately. But it took a while until I decided to start filming. Partly because I revised the concept several times.
In summer 2022 I then took my trusty Eumig C3 double 8 mm camera for a ferry ride in the harbor of Hamburg capturing fleeting moments. Later – it was already late summer – I met with Alexa, a talented actress and lovely collaborator (we had worked on films together, before) and we filmed scenes with her on the ferry and at shore until the sun went down. Additional footage was captured during a weekend trip to Gothenburg in Sweden.
Alexa was so kind to record the text on an old dictaphone I gave her. The device is using mini cassettes and the sound aesthetic is therefore very special. I wanted it to sound that way. It matches the grainy 8 mm footage nicely and provides a nostalgic mood that is inherent to the text as well.
To further enhance the 8 mm footage I did some etchings into 16 mm black film emulsion. Frame by frame. The titles and the animated text were created this way. I etched the whole poem into the film. In the editing process I decided to use parts of the etched text as an overlay. It was not important for me that you are able to read it, instead it should add visual interest. And as the text represents the poem, there is not only the voice reciting it, but also the (illegible) animated text showing it on screen. It serves as a connecting element.
The whole film then came together in the editing process. I started with a silent edit. Later I put the voice recording and the foley and ambiance sounds underneath the edited version and adjusted the pacing of the recording accordingly. The music was the last element I created. First I was in doubt if I really need music, but after I tested it I was sure music could help to transport the emotions. And so I wrote music to support the voiceover. Most of the time the music is in the background, only at the end it feels like a warm wave of sound is coming over you. It is a very satisfying and beautiful moment I think.