Kimya (silence, in Swahili) is the story (six minutes) about the first silence in the life of twelve year old Josephine. Josie is being raised in a house where the door is never locked, with an ever expanding family, by marriage or simply by showing up on their doorstep. She doesn't really feel like she belongs. She doesn't like noise, detests clubs and loud music, and contrary to her big brother and sister, Josie loves school. A place to thrive, a place that demands quiet. She's a little bit embarassed of her family, all of them piled together in that tiny appartment, too present, wherever they are. But when disaster strikes, and big brother Jonathan gets into a fight, and subsequently, the hospital, the entire house goes empty and Josephine is left to fend for herself in an eerily silent house. A silence which, she then finds, is way too loud.
Josephine is twelve years old. She's the babysister of hoodlum Jonathan and the princess Delilah. She is the daughter of the courageous immigrant Imani, who moved here from Kenya with nothing in her pockets and three children in tow. Josephine is the smartest of the family. But in a way, also the most rebellious. Her family often gets under her skin, but she's never considered the fact that one day, she'll have to make do on her own.
The moment in the film, is exactly about this realisation. The first silence she ever encounters. She realizes her life won't sound the way it does, forever. She'll leave someday, to go somewhere that doesn't always smell like chicken. Where there aren't three radio's and a television on at the same time. This, in itself shouldn't come as a shock of course. Everybody grows up eventually. But when everyone leaves, she realizes that rebelling against her family, might have been the exact thing that gave her her place in it. And them in her. As frustrating as they may seem. Josie's calm was born from the chaos they surrounded her with.
Aside from researching the emotional journey of child's first time alone, we would like to experiment with something else. There's a lot of emotion that comes with sound. For instance, it's hard to remember what certain things look like exactly. But you know just how they sounded. The rain clattering against the window, or a whisk, clanging against a bowl. We would like to attempt to write a screenplay solely from the hearing perspective of our main character Josie. We go on her journey with her, through sound. To be as effective about this as we possibly can, we will tell the story within one location. We will write a script and simultaneously create an indication of the sounds that may be heard in it, through foley. We will use this to do a rewrite and finally, to decide on our shots. We will let the sounds of Josie's empty home inspire us while shaping scenes.
For instance, when her mother lights a cigarette, Josie will hear it because she was listening for it. She'd quit right? When a fight is about to happen in the family, things might quiet down, for a storm is coming. What does Josie hear? Why does she hear it? And how does she feel about it? This is what we're basing our artistic choices on and how we expect to draw in our viewers.
We also want to wonder, what does home sound like? What makes it sound that way? This basically means that we'll write in an interactive way, sound and cinematography completing each other to pull you into Josie's world.
Kimya will be made under the guise of 'De Ontmoeting'. Maarten van der Ven of VENfilm has taken Kimya under its wings and will be supporting the production.