Some thoughts on working with film...

It was by chance that I started to work with film. It was three years ago, when I wanted to make a promotion video for my one-on-one performance Hamlet private. I realised that the filming of the performance would not really work as the performance is too personal, too private to the spectator - a film could not really convey what happens in it to an outsider. Together with film-maker Emma Suominen we thought of something different, a kind of documentation that didn't give away what really happens in the performance. This became my first short film A Piece of Hamlet, a documentation but also an artwork in its own right.

The method we chose for making A Piece of Hamlet was very intuitive. We simply spent time together: Emma with the camera, the three performers Cécile, Nini and Claudia, each one in her own location, and me. In addition to this film material, we had recordings of interviews the performers conducted with the spectators after the show. The feedback we got through these interviews - particularly the ones Claudia did in Berlin - was very touching. It showed us in a very direct way how personally the spectators related to the performance. It was only after we had gotten all this material, film and feedback, that we asked ourselves what the narrative of the film could be. Once we found our story, we shot some more material in a theatre in Helsinki with Cécile.

For me the film captures something of the feelings and thoughts that we might have when we are faced with a decision. It's about how we are all walking our path of life, each one of us in our own world but somehow connected to others - even if they are far away.

This process with Emma and the three performers inspired me and I wanted to continue working in this direction. This is why I embarked on the journey that led me to my most recent work Reverie. For this process I decided to work mainly on form, rather than content. I tried to put aside questions related to the meaning of the work or a possible message I might have. Instead we focused on movement, images, atmosphere, feelings, places. Whilst I was aware of the different interpretations that the material might invite, I didn't take any decision on what it should mean. I left it open.

© Saara Autere
My background is in theatre and I consider myself a live performance person. So when I was thinking of how Reverie should be presented to its audience, I wanted there to be a live contact as well. We worked on the presence of the performers Jasmiina and Inari in a shared space with the audience. Our aim was to give both them as performers and the video a place from where to engage the audience. This artistic process was very different for me. Usually, when I start a rehearsal process I know very little about what the final performance will look like. This way of working is conscious: I like to react to how the questions that led me to a project take shape in the rehearsal room. I like to react to my co-creators and give them the possibility to bring in their own ideas. That Hamlet private would be a one-on-one performance only became clear while working on the material, I didn't plan it beforehand. Now, with Reverie, I knew half of the performance's material (the video part) many months prior to the premiere. The phase of the process where I am looking for the actual thing that will make the performance what it is (I cannot name this) didn't take place in the rehearsal space but in front of the computer during the cutting of the video material.

In a way I felt very calm during the actual (very short) rehearsal process prior to the first night. There was already so much to trust in, so much to lean against. At the same time there was also a lot of material we could use from the work during the shooting and the rehearsals we had had for that. I don't know yet how this will influence my next artistic process but I did take me one step further in finding my own way of making art. Thanks to all who were part in it!


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