High in the mountains, three people walk in the snow, above the clouds that lie at their feet like a white sea. With their backpacks on their back, poised to carry on, the girl and two boys stand still for a moment to look out over the landscape. In this special moment, they feel connected to each other and to the mountains. They have only met a few moments before. The three leave the scene together to continue on their separate ways. You witness the stories gathered from the memories of these three hikers that we no longer see in the frame. You hear only their voices. They were searching for something in the mountains and are surprised by the mystery surrounding them. You see a timeless, dreamlike contemplation of mountain images, which conveys the experience of the sublime in the landscape.
The mountain is mythical and majestic. It lures and repels. The mountain calls me and once I start hiking, there is no way back. I want to translate that indescribable attraction of the mountain into a film experience. I am interested in the mountain as it presents itself to any mountain hiker. Many mountain films are about extreme experiences, alpinists or spectacular sports. To me, they ignore the essence of the mountain.
During a hike you follow your own footsteps. You let go of your thoughts. It brings peace and you encounter the beauty as a Buddhist. You allow yourself be led through the environment. Weighed down with only your backpack, you want to achieve the ultimate - that which you have not achieved before. The landscape overwhelms you.
Walking in the mountains can seem safe and serene. And yet danger is everywhere. This you realize when you find yourself unable to move forwards or to turn around. In these moments the danger lies in overestimation or choosing a route that is above one's capabilities, or perhaps fear of heights or sickness.
This sense of togetherness connects all who share in this pursuit.
Nature has me in its grip. The feeling that I am small and insignificant is spellbinding and overwhelming. Here I want everything to stop.
Settling back into daily routine after returning from the mountains, I feel I know what life is about. Healthier and stronger and with a soft voice, I go about my life as usual, but continually aware of the call of the mountains.
The film will be a sort of primal memory of a universal mythical mountain. I have opted for a sober approach that leads to a concentrated and restrained way of looking. Anything remotely resembling a spectacle is avoided. Joined by cameraman André Schreuders, I take the equipment into the mountains, walking for days until we see an image that grabs us. While we concentrate on walking and all physical experiences that we have to endure, we absorb the imposing scenery.
The footage is exclusively from the Triglav National Park in Slovenia. This choice is content-related: the Triglav area offers many different, quite extreme landscapes. In addition, the area is neither too vast nor too inhospitable, and it boasts an array of divergent landscapes within a small distance. Mount Triglav itself is a beautiful peak that protrudes from the surrounding mountains that form the Eastern Julian Alps. However, I am not concerned with this specific mountain but with the abstract idea of a universal mountain. The image consists entirely of a massive mountain. This one mountain represents all mountains.
I will shoot digitally in very sharp 4K but also on 16mm film with a bolex, everything in black and white in 4 by 3 format.
The voices of the three main characters are based on interviews I did in 2017 with hikers I encountered in the Triglav mountain huts.
The soundtrack is created on the basis of realistic sounds from the mountains. The sound will vary from hyper real - not realistic but purer than you can actually hear - to surprisingly absurd or abstract. With that I aim that you can be as surprised in the film as in the real experience of the mountains.
In addition, I will work with minimalist music by composer and sound artist Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek). The meditative images are recorded in a musical stream.
BERG becomes a purely visual experience of the mountain landscape and the insignificance of man in it. Although the film starts from the experience of hikers in the mountains, it is ultimately also a meditation on the place of man in the world.
The film is intended for screenings at international film festivals and at the many mountain film festivals. With your support, it may also visit your local cinema.
Thanks to the support and trust of the Netherlands Film Fund and the City of Rotterdam (Art and Culture) we were able to do research by filming in the mountains. In the past 2 years I have been able to develop the first idea into an extensive film plan.
In order to make the film of about 70 minutes that I have in mind, we need something more. To collect images and sounds, I want to make three more trips in the Triglav with the cameraman in different seasons. After that, the editing, the music recordings, the sound edit and mix and the image grading and processing in 4k are neccessary to make the film suitable for screenings in the cinema.
These are all steps that cost a lot of money. Fortunately, the Dutch Film Fund has already made a positive decision about financial support for the realization and completion. We still need at least € 9,000 to realize the film. If you like to see the film next year, support us now. We will keep you informed about the project.
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