ESSENZA

Experimental Short Film (Italy / 2020)

A memory of glass

“ESSENZA” is for various reasons a rather strange project. It all began in the beginning of 2018 when I found myself in a period without any work but with a strong desire to be creative. I have always been attracted to cultural and traditional handicrafts as they are usually very interesting, approachable and visually pleasing. One morning I spontaneously decided to go to Murano, a small island in Venice that is famous for its high quality glass production, and began to ask around if it was possible to  get inside one of their studios to create some footage for a personal artistic project. Many studios though immediately declined my request by explaining me that their productions are protected by a high level of professional secrecy (some glass studios are producing articles for Armani and Dior etc.).

After a long day of constantly being rejected I almost gave up, but fortunately I got a hint from the locals that there was a glassmaking studio in Murano that focuses manly on the production of prestigious and artistic exhibition pieces. The studio is called Berengo Studio (www.berengo.com) and has worked with internationally renowned artists like Ai Wei Wei and his likes. It is also one of the few manufacturers that held on to many of the traditional ways of glassmaking and thus it seemed the perfect place for fulfilling my goals.

Berengo Studio was so kind to allow me to film there for a couple of hours, an honour that they normally do not concede unknown filmmakers like myself. Some days later I got up at sunrise, packed my equipment and went there to film my scenes.

This was the moment when everything started to fall a little bit apart. Even though I was able to capture some very beautiful footage and was generally satisfied with the scenes, I was not able to film the whole process of the glassmaking from start to finish. It seemed that I would not have been able to create a satisfying video without a real beginning or ending and I felt a little bit discouraged. So comes that I did not touch the project for the months and years to come, always worried that I would not have been able to finish it.

Finally, after more than two years, I wanted to give it another shot. I decided to use the footage to create a visual poem, an abstract meditative video that does not convey any kind of story, but rather a mood. A memory of sorts – a memory of those days that I spent in Murano. Sure, the video that I ended up creating is weird and probably not to everyone’s taste, but in the end, I figured that the only thing important was that I liked it. That it has value to me.

Inside the workshop of the block printers in Bagru, India

The Grand Canal in Venice

Molten glass mirrored

Molten glass dorps mirrored in a symmetrical way

My friend, the Italian composer Alberto Bellavia, helped my communicate my vision by providing one of his beautiful scores. I highly encourage everyone to take a look at his body of work as it is truly astonishing.

I hope that you enjoy the video, the brief glimpse into that distorted memory of mine, the project that was on my mind for two years.

Credits

FILMED and EDITED by Tiemo Weidemann
 
SPECIAL THANKS to Berengo Studio
(www.berengo.com)

MUSIC by Alberto Bellavia

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