Liquidator

35 mm, 8 minutes, colour, 2010
film: Karel Doing
music: Michal Osowski

Winner of FOCAL award: best footage in a short production 2012



The project Liquidator started with a research question; where lies the ultimate border of film preservation, and how does it look? In other words I was looking for a filmprint that was on the brink of complete deterioration.

My friends at the Dutch film archive (EYE) came up with a newly discovered print of Haarlem; a commercial 'city branding' film made in 1922 by Dutch film pioneer Willy Mullens. This particular print was interesting to me for two reasons: The deterioration of the nitrate had caused stunning visual effects and the original utilitarian nature of the footage was in stark contrast with the drama of this deterioration.

I isolated the sequences where transitions took place between well preserved images and, partly or completely, vanished images. I reworked this footage zooming in, slowing down and reframing these sequence. The most dramatic moments I reworked using optical flow and morphing techniques. With the resulting material I composed a new film with the same duration as the original. I then asked composer, software developer and distortion specialist Michal Osowski to make a soundtrack for the film using a direct link between image and sound.

Although Liquidator started from pure fascination with the deterioration of film material, it is no coincidence that this film appears in a time of liquidations, radioactive water and Wikileaks.


Screening History:

Filmmuseum Biënnale (Eye Film Instituut, Amsterdam)
Ex-is (Seoul, Korea)
International Film Festival Rotterdam (Rotterdam, Netherlands)
Nederlands Film Festival (Utrecht, Netherlands)
International Filmfestival (Rotterdam)
ISFF Hamburg (Hamburg)
In the Palace (Balchik)
Festival on Wheels (Ankara)
TIE (Milwaukee)
Nouveau Cinéma (Montréal)
OK Video (Jakarta)
IDFF Jihlava (Jihlava)
Signes de Nuit (Paris)
Aesthetica SFF (York)
London Archive Film Festival (London)
Cinémathèque Française (Paris)
European Short Film Festival at MIT (Boston)
Arsenal Kino (Berlin)
Latitude Festival (Henham Park, Southwold, Sussex)
Insitut Lumière (Lyon)
Kino Bize (Riga)