CONVERGENCE, 7min., USA, Experimental
Directed by Anahita von Andrian-Werburg, Maya Marzuki Peters
Breaking a long slumber, a mysterious rope leads a soul through a decaying world as he attempts to connect with another.
Convergence grapples with fear, loss, and ultimately, connection, but the film is also deeply personal to our relationship. We had collaborated creatively before, but when we decided to co-direct this project, we were actually coming out of this awkward period of distance. Neither of us could understand why our friendship had fizzled out. We decided to reconnect and slowly started to piece it all together, together.
And so we began this process of equal exchange, of contributing, disputing, and building, and this beautiful thing happened! We realized that our experience of ambiguous loss and hurt is a universal feeling. Much like a home, even after it falls into a period of neglect and abandonment, there could be a strong foundation to rebuild upon again. The question is one of time and willingness.
The more we rebuilt our relationship, the more convergence itself was built. It was a completely new experience of artistic method. We leant away from a traditional literal narrative and more towards an experimental style of filmmaking using allegorical expression. Our use of abandoned locations, dystopian art design, purposeful VFX, fluid camera movements, and an emphasis on contemporary movement and expression as a form of communication allowed for a fluid and inclusive visual language.
Throughout production, we were fortunate enough to work with a fantastic ensemble of incredibly talented creatives to contribute to this auteur method of “empathy art.” We were able to facilitate an intimate atmosphere with a very small crew: just the two of us, our highly intuitive gimbal extraordinaire of a cinematographer Tony, and our eclectic dystopian costume designer (& rope wrangler) Sia. Our two incredible contemporary dancers, Sean and Anya, were able to take our direction and completely transform the emotional progression through their application of dance improvisation. In post, we worked for months with soulful and hard-working musicians; Pius, Erika, and Irlaith, to create a lyrical score based off of a poem we wrote.
Everything about Convergence was about coming together and solving problems collaboratively, even in making it. Ultimately, this is a story of hope, and the beautiful power of what humans can do when they unite.
Get to know the filmmakers:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
A desire to understand the theme of loss in the experience of our own relationship. The act of making the film itself was very healing and felt very forgiving. The biggest take away is that making Convergence brought us closer together.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
From concept to a finalized cut, the film took us 7 months. Pre-production took four weeks. Production was the fastest aspect as working in tandem was effortless. That's the beauty of two directors who have an almost telepathic connection. We shot everything in a day.
We had a picture lock in about 4 months. However, the scoring process took us the longest because we scored to the visual, and used the visual to inspire and guide our musical artists.
Pius (Singer) & Irlaith (Producer) live in Dublin so the work we were doing was entirely over Zoom. So constructive communication and cherishing moments of silliness were really key in creating something we could all be proud of as well as keeping everyone motivated through hard COVID times.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
Maya: Intimate and reconciling.
Anahita: Resilient embrace.
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
Maya: Perfectionism is the biggest obstacle for every artist, I suppose. However, aside from ourselves, navigating the post-production process was our largest hurdle - especially the rope VFX.
Anahita: Post-production. Yes. The rope. It actually had a bright green chroma color; we were planning to VFX it in-post to resemble Wonder woman's lasso of truth. And well... we don't talk about it anymore.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
Maya: Aww I'm so touched. It is always intriguing to find out what aspects connect with a certain person, and sometimes a viewer reacts to something that we didn't even notice! That's the beauty of art.
Anahita: "This is so cool. People are actually taking the time to watch our piece, voice their opinions and... they enjoyed it! That's awesome."
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
Maya: When I began to discover where I fit in the big wide world.
Anahita: I'm still realizing. I realize it more every day.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Maya: The honest answer is the Scooby Doo live action movie.
Anahita: Rat race. It was my first rated R movie.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
Maya: I would have loved to have the chance to engage in discussions with other filmmakers or just any opportunities to connect with other festival winners on a personal level.
Anahita: ^ retweet.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
10. What is your favorite meal?
Maya: Salmon Chirashi.
Anahita: Khoresh-e Fesenjoon with tahdig rice
11. What is next for you? A new film?
Maya: Yes, there's always something new on the horizon. Art films, dance films and narratives coming up!
Anahita: Hopefully many more films filled with feeling (especially experimental & documentaries).