ÉCU Film Festival | 2019
Jorik Dozy &
Sil van der Woerd
European Music Video
The symbolic story of a man arriving on a perfect Earth, who encounters his nemesis in the form of ocean pollution.
Hi Sil & Jorik thanks for talking to TNC, how's everything going?
Thank you for reaching out! Here, everything is good and busy as usual. Jorik is in Singapore, I am in the Netherlands. We're currently developing several new projects.
How does it feel to have your music video Birthplace part of this years ÉCU Film Festival?
It is always wonderful that people spent a ton of time to organize a film festival, to get the works of us, filmmakers, to an audience. Due to distance and schedules, we often can't attend the film festivals, but we're always incredibly grateful to the festivals to have our films screened.
The reaction to Birthplace has been incredible, what has it meant to you both to win 28 awards so far?
To rectify, we won 28 awards in 2018 of which Birthplace won 16
It is quite humbling really. This project has been such a tremendous experience. From the inception of the idea to the pre-production process of building the 13m long whale with local bamboo builders in Bali to filming underwater with the most amazing dive crew, to the reaction that the film had online, we absolutely loved every second on this project.
To win awards on top of it is of course incredibly humbling, but it also helps to spread the message.
In the end, we created this video to raise awareness for a pressing issue that we all need to talk about much more often. So whatever helps spark this conversation we are truly thankful for.
Will there be any nerves ahead of the screening?
There won't be. The work has been done, we looked at it like 500 times before it got finished. We simply couldn't have done better.
Can you tell me a little bit about Birthplace, how did this music video come about?
We want to make films about stories that matter, especially when those in disadvantage can't speak for themselves. When we saw a video of ocean creatures struggling with plastic that we humans produce it hit us like a dagger to our hearts. Feeling powerless against such injustice we desperately explored ways to speak out against this global environmental crisis. We realized that the pollution of our oceans is one of the most important stories of our time and that we HAD to somehow share this story.
When we heard Ali's music the specific idea for this video came to us almost in a flash. We don't know how the human brain works, but suddenly the idea was there.
This was the second time you've worked with Novo Amor (Ali) what is the experience like creating work with him?
Working with Ali is like a dream come true for music video makers like us.
First of all, his music is beautiful and allows for cinematic visuals
Second, we have an amazing relation of trust with Ali and his record label. This basically means that when they tell us that they like our idea, we are completely free to do our thing creatively.
"Trust your instinct."
Do you hope to work with him again in the future?
What was the most challenging part of bringing Birthplace to life?
There were several things, apart from building a life-size 13-meter humpback whale made of bamboo and real plastic waste, filming unpredictable wildlife, or challenging strong currents around the beautiful islands of Komodo, as directors the biggest challenge was communication. Filming underwater is very different from a normal film set, where you can say to your actor or cinematographer, 'look up' or 'go slower'. When you have divers at 10-meter depth inside the whale to peddle its fins, 2 more divers 20 meters away from the whale pulling it with underwater scooters who can't look back, and an actor who is practically blind underwater it can be hard to get everyone in the right place at the right moment. Especially in the currents and with a whale that prefers to sink or rise rather than remaining buoyant.
What was the most valuable lesson you've taken from making this music video?
There were 2 things really:
The first is we were already consuming consciously, bringing our own bags, carrying our own water bottles, etc. But making the video was like a deep meditation on the subject of plastic pollution, and we learned some things ourselves as well. Since the shoot, for example, we now carry our own utensils in our bags everywhere. We also became much more aware of how waste and plastics are disposed of and how little we actually recycle. With this newly learned knowledge, we now try to bring awareness to people around us and encourage them to become involved too, in solving this massive problem.
And secondly, anything is possible. That is an idea comes to you, no matter how crazy it may seem, if you surround yourself with the right team, anything is possible. It is important to take risks creatively.
Have you always been interested in filmmaking?
I guess Jorik have more interest in filmmaking than I did. His dad worked in the cinema and it was quite a natural thing for him. I didn't really grow up with cinema. But I've always been a dreamer, writing and visualising stories. It was at Art Academy that I started to develop a serious interest in film.
How did you both meet?
We met in 2008 at Gnomon, School of Visual Effects in Hollywood. We became flatmates and spend about a year working together on a project, as well as having many long night conversations on the carpet of our furniture-less flat. We discovered that we shared a mutual passion for film and that we had many overlapping interests.
How much has your approach to your works changed since you started?
With each project comes additional experience. We feel much more confident now than on our first project. Since our first project, we filmed inactive sulphur emitting volcano, underwater with a 13-meter whale in the ocean, and recently at -35 degrees Celsius all the way in Northern Mongolia. Our films started as experiments but became our expression and our voice. We learned that film can be the place where we can really say what we want and share with the viewer what stirs inside of us.
What has been the best piece of advice you've been given?
Trust your instinct.
Now you can be reflective do you have any advice or tips you would offer a fellow filmmaker?
Trust your instinct. Dare to be bold, take a risk, find a way somehow to make what stirs in your heart. Get it on the screen. Never compromise.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from this film?
We hope that the viewer first falls in love with the beauty of the ocean, that they see that it is perfect. And then we hope to break their heart when we introduce waste. We used recognizable products like a plastic bottle or a can that we all relate to, in the hope that the viewer connects itself to the problem.
If anything, we hope that the viewer becomes aware of what is happening in our oceans right now. That there is a direct relation between the products that we consume and the suffering of ocean life. The first step towards change is acknowledging that there is a problem.