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The Future is Now: The Artists Behind the IFL Student Short Showcase

Until Monday 6th September 2021, Indy Film Library is streaming some of the best short student films we have received over the last year. The Student Short Showcase can be viewed here for free. As part of the event, four of the films’ directors outlined the inspiration behind their work, and what their art ultimately means to them.

Lieve (2019)
Director: Vincent Groos

“In 2011 I met Nele Vreys, at that time still a nursing student. We fell in love; I moved to Antwerp to be with her, started studying film at the RITCS and so began my new life in Belgium. Now, years later, we live our lives separately, in a completely different way and with other people, yet inseparable; because if it hadn’t been for her, I would have never gone to Belgium to study film, and my life might have turned in a very different direction.

During the time we were together I saw Nele make incredibly long and hard days working as a home nurse, sometimes until tears ran down her cheeks at night, just so she would get up very early the next day and do it all over again.

Even then, I was terribly impressed by the strength and perseverance she showed and I kept wondering what kept her going. During my research going along with home nurses in Antwerp and (secretly) recording audio of their conversations with their patients, I stumbled into the most incredible and moving situations and I started to understand, at least emotionally, this sense of importance and urgency that kept propelling Nele forward. The nurses often had to visit 20 to 30 patients in a 4-hour shift, were often late as a result (which leads to complaints) and then after arrival had to quickly move on to the next patient, which meant they couldn’t even spend the time and attention their people really needed and deserved.

As many complaints as there were, at least the same amount of gratitude was given to the nurses, as they were often the only help for these people, often old-timers living in poor living situations with no-one visiting them.
So this is for them.

This is the story of Lieve, a young home nurse who wants to help everyone and therefore falls short of everyone, especially the people who matter most to her. I hope to shed some light into a world yet unknown to many of us. A story about resilience and the power of vulnerability.”

Alvorada (2020)
Director: Carolina Neves

Alvorada is my first step in expressing myself through filmmaking. The film is based on life experiences, world events and social issues that are important to me, transformed through very personal storytelling.
The concept started as a critique of social intolerance and oppression, evolving into the story of a young man facing what he fears. 

Alvorada can be anyone’s story, of facing these issues and how they deal with them. To me, cinema isn’t only entertainment but an art form and an act of activism, expression, and freedom to show the world what you really want to address and make the audience question and debate.”

Coo-Coo (2021)
Director: Svetlana Belorussova

“A few years ago, I defended my PhD thesis in anthropology. I was working on one of the indigenous small-numbered peoples of Russia. I liked this topic very much and had deep sympathy for the people I studied. The defense procedure itself (preparation and distribution of documents, communication with opponents and reviewers) was not related to the quality of the work and my personal attitude because correct execution of formalities turned out to be much more important. A formal system is one thing, but when people become an indifferent part of the system it is another thing, much more difficult and frightening. Therefore, when I first heard about the “Coo Coo” story (and this is a real case that happened a few years ago in the Zoological Museum), I was deeply touched and I felt an urge to understand and to show how this could happen.

In the film, people surrounding Dasha seem to be inanimate: her mother who is carried away by religion and cannot see any value in what her daughter does; her supervisor who worries more about her own status during the defence than about Dasha’s real interests and feelings. I wanted to draw an analogy between the stuffed animals that can constantly be seen next to Dasha and the “unhearing” society surrounding her. The real animal that she has always wanted turns out to be an impossible wish and a mere dream. In sum, my movie is a reminder of how crucial it is to be able to hear and understand those we love. It is important that love is not just a dream or a hope but a real feeling that we can share with each other.”

Nothing Important (2020)
Director: Yael Elbee

“While making this short I was occupied by thoughts about lonesomeness as opposed to loneliness. The joy of anonymity versus a fear of staying unseen and, unavoidably, the need of romantic companionship.

In the film’s centre is an introvert who’s happy to be one, a person who enjoys their lonesomeness and uses it to go through an independent experience. She’s an outsider- to basic social norms and doesn’t speak because the world is doing enough speaking for her. She’s usually a bystander but when she comes across the opportunity to do something disruptive, she savours it, as a way of regaining control of her own existence and taking a temporary break.

The film was adapted from a short story. We had to translate literal observations written in text into daily situations and sounds. The use of no score had developed from watching Gina Henkel playing Michelle and while making it, it became clear that silence will play a big part. The foleys and sound design began dictating the pace of the film and to reflect Michelle’s internal world. Creating a film with spiritual and zen inspired elements, intending to also provide us with a little break of our own.”

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