Fade Away (United States | 2016, 5 min)
Directed by: Ben Kirschenbaum
Cast: Marcela Corbellini, Italy Morchi, Yasmin, Julian
A surreal and hypnotic tale that meditates the subjectivity of fate. Music by Eitan Reiter.
Interview:Ben Kirschenbaum directed the music video official selection Fade Away. Interview was done by Kerby Pierre.
KP: Tell us a little about yourself as well. (ie. where you are from, hobbies and any other past jobs in film. Degrees earned or certificates.)
BK: I'm 26 years old, from Israel, I've been into visuals from an early age, my hobby as a 12 y/o kid was playing Photoshop, Illustrator and Image Ready, later on I went into photography and then into video.
I got my first stab at video work when I went on a European festival tour with an Electronic duo called Loud - we met for a coffee and had such an instant simpatico that they decided to take me on tour, disregarding my complete lack of experience and portfolio to justify that decision. One half of that same duo is Eitan Reiter - my long lost brother and the artist responsible for the music in "Fade Away" (my music video participating in NYCIFF).
I've been working largely in and around music - live music, music-docu, tour diaries & music videos. I've also participated in a couple of documentaries - one of which was guiding kids at an orphanage in Rwanda on how to self document themselves on video whilst living there with them for a month.
Lately I've been transitioning into narrative film - every project brings new challenges, technical and conceptual, every time I try biting on more than I can chew in order to learn and grow, may it be using a crane or filmstock for the first time or experimenting with abstract narratives and hoping for the best.
I haven't formally been to film school, I always just learn while trying new things, reading articles and analyzing art on my own.
Aside from making film I produce my own music, I like to play around with synths, instruments and my vocal chords, I put together my debut album last summer which is hopefully gonna see the light of day by the end of this year.
KP: What are some of your creative inspirations and influences?
BK: Some of my strongest inspirations arrive mostly in day to day life; maybe while deep in conversation someone would say something that out of context ignites an open-ended tail of an idea I've been incubating, or maybe I find an occurrence that either happened to me or somebody I know metaphorical or bigger than life, sometimes it's a view with a sound or just a sound.
I find inspiration is more a state of mind than anything - when it finally comes around it's everywhere.
In the world of film some inspirations as of late are:
Delicatessen (Jeunet & Caro) - for it’s wonky sense of theatrics, musicality, colors & narrative abstraction.
Dogtooth (Lanthimos) - for it’s metaphorical world-building, weirdness and how it uses the camera on a tripod (which reminded me of Sofia Coppola's "Somewhere").
Mauvais Sang (Carax) - for the awe-inspiring editing, paintings for frames and heartfelt poetry. This movie deeply moved me.
Since music is a big love and inspiration, some noteworthy musical infatuations: Stereolab, Shawn Lee & Clutchy Hopkins, Tim Hecker, Trent Reznor & Atticus Rose, Kendrick Lamar, Max Graef.
KP: What was the hardest thing about making this film?
BK: The hardest part of the process was editing it - when sitting down to do so the original plan for a more linear narrative didn’t come together as harmoniously as I had hoped. At which point it took some strength and belief to wipe the slate clean and embrace the materials for what they were.
This reshuffle became a virtue - the materials have shaped the edit in a much more comprehensive way than I could’ve planned.
KP: What's the most important thing you learned from making this film?
BK: As a result of the post-production hiccups I learnt an important lesson, which is to be honest and cooperative with the materials and to embrace the way I view the world and view the art form, thus using my natural oddities as staples of my own style - at all stages of the process.
KP: What lead you to this interpretive film?
BK: When I listen to music from a coherent artist, I absorb a large spectrum of feelings without picking out the lyrics and literal intention, the story is told through sounds, textures and mood. This is why I feel that implying a meaning and inspiring a feeling through visuals is complimentary to the medium (rather than explicitly illustrating it), in the sense that it embodies a dimension that resembles the ambiguous plane that music operates on.
KP: Did you originally come up with a dance concept or did you have a film concept?
BK: When taking on the music video my first idea was to incorporate Marcela (the amazing aerial dancer). We started from her and built the ambiance simultaneously - my dear friend and Co. Creator (Britt Roger Sas) referenced a beautiful installation “Feelings Are Facts” (Olafur Eliasson & Ma Yansong) that inspired us to have the space defined by our hero's feelings rather than what's in it.
KP: The film captures such intense moods, what does this film mean to you and what would you like the audience to take away from it?
BK: To me the film is a frozen moment in time, it occurs during a hypnotic state of self reflection, challenges past ideals & explores subjectivity. It is by large a projection of my own demons and my coping with them through creating.
I would honestly be flattered if anybody that watched it took anything from it.
That being said, if the sound and image triggered deep self-reflection, inspiration or meditation for anyone that’d be an amazing contribution that I’d be proud of.
KP: Did you film in New York?
BK: Yes. We filmed in a studio/vintage store in Dumbo, Brooklyn. We had quite an international cast/crew with people from Israel, Belgium, Brazil, USA & Spain - mostly friends bravely taking on positions they’re not necessarily acquainted with, and doing a great job at it!
Thank you to Ben Kirschenbaum for taking the time to speak with us! Fade Away will screen at the 7th Annual NYC Independent Film Festival.