17th ÉCU
The European Independent Film Festival 2022 

8th - 10th April 2022 
Interview

Celina Liesegang (Choreographer)
Viscera: Autopsy of a (non)human body 
Section: Experimental Film 
ecufilmfestival.com

Like a decaying body; you look and see just the remains… a shell… a worn, corroded entity. But in this autopsy of a once grand Hotel, we catch a glimpse of the past; a storage place for lost memories. Viscera: Autopsy of a (non)human body is an experimental dance film by Celina Liesegang (Producer/Choreographer) and Arturo Bandinelli (Director), exploring the relationship between time, memory and trauma.

 

Hey Celina, thank you for talking to The New Current, how have you been holding up during these very strange times?

Thank you for having us! Well I have to say I have been very fortunate comparatively to many others, but it has been an interesting challenge having to navigate the constant waves of change I have to say!

 

Has this time offered you any new creative inspiration or opportunities?

 

Yes, firstly it gave me time to really try to get "Viscera" out into the world, and otherwise I have had a shift of focus back towards music and so have been focusing on writing an album!

 

Congratulations on having Viscera: Autopsy of a (non)human body part of the 17th ÉCU Film Festival, what does it mean to you to be screening your film in Paris?

 

I’m VERY excited! I have a long standing love affair with Paris; having grown up partially in France I spent a lot of time there and have many friends living in the city, so I’m particularly looking forward to being able to share the work with them in their home town!

 

Can you tell me how Viscera: Autopsy of a (non)human body came about, what was the inspiration behind this experimental film and what was the message you wanted to convey with this film?

The idea arose the moment I walked into the main hall of an abandoned Hotel whilst on holiday. Immediately I could see movement, I saw people running in the corridors, almost like ghosts. I was so inspired by the beauty of the colours, the textures and the brutalist construction, and how over time, much like our very own bodies, all things decay and break down. I was particularly interested in the idea that the body stores or holds on to the things we experience in life, and how that can take it’s toll on our physical body in the long run. After a few years I discussed the idea with Arturo, and the other performers asking if they would be willing to join the project, and that was it. It all happened very quickly, and the film evolved thanks to their creative input.

In the end I wouldn’t say the purpose of the film is to convey a message, but rather that it is an invitation to relate to the emotional content of the film and how it might act as a mirror to elements of your life experience personally. 

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"I enjoyed the subjective nature of expressive movement, how there is so much room for interpretation, however somehow it is also quite a universal language."

How important is the creative relationship between a director and producer when working on a film like Viscera: Autopsy of a (non)human body?

 

Well "Viscera" would not exist without the talent, vision and skill of Arturo as a Director. He managed to decipher my unusual, probably sometimes even impossible desires and produce something that I think is as beautiful as it is provoking. Arturo was amazingly open to fulfilling many roles at once, so we worked together in ways which danced between the practical realities of filmmaking and conceptual artistic creativity.

What has been the biggest challenge you've faced bringing Viscera: Autopsy of a (non)human body to life and looking back is there anything you would have done differently on this film?

"Viscera" really was a passion project, it belongs to everyone who was involved in the process and I am so grateful for the dedication and work they all put into the making of the film. It wouldn’t be the film it is if we weren’t limited in the ways we were; time, budget etc. so I can’t say I would do anything differently.

 

What has been the most important meaning you have take from this whole experience?

 

That trusting the people you work with is the best way for creativity to flourish. By supporting each other’s desires and ideas you end up in places that you would never be able to envisage if it all only comes from one mind.

 

Where did you passion for choreography come from?

 

It came from a desire to express and exchange ideas in a more ambivalent way. I enjoyed the subjective nature of expressive movement, how there is so much room for interpretation, however somehow it is also quite a universal language. I’m still questioning this constantly in my creative process…!

 

How much has your style and approach to your work changed since you started out?

I would say I’ve never felt that I have a “style” but rather some very clear staples of the ways I like to work. I love collaboration, I love giving lots of space for things to emerge of their own accord, but what is definitely new in my approach is giving the process time. Lots of time. Moving slowly away from feeling the pressure of always having to constantly produce. Not creating can be just as valid as creating.

 

Do you think filmmakers/choreographers should continue to push the boundaries of the stories they want to tell?

 

Yes and no! Pushing may be just as good as not pushing…!

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For anyone out there thinking about getting into producing or choreographers do you have any tips or advice you would offer them? 

 

Well I don’t think I need to say it, but just do it. Find ways to “do” it. The reality of the “doing” isn’t always as one might imagine, only through realising it can you know if it’s right for you.

 

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Viscera: Autopsy of a (non)human body?

 

I hope that they will have some sort of a visceral/emotional response to what they see/hear, and that they might share this with other fellow audience members after to see how differently or similar they felt!