One day me and my two sisters got a letter from our father, stating that he doesn’t want to see us for six months. But as it goes with house renovations, train delays and the formation of a Belgian government, things take longer than expected. That letter is now 12 years ago, and since then our father has refused to either come back or say goodbye. And when people leave without a proper farewell, you’ll have to construct your own endings.
That is exactly what I’ve done through the years: imagine next meetings with my father, who has always remained absent. These scenario’s I thought up were often so childish that they became a bit ridiculous, and for the longest time it was something I was quite ashamed of. But as I talked more to people about it, I discovered that I am not alone in these fantasies: everyone has someone who leaves without a goodbye, and will then only exist in fantasy. This imagining is something almost all of us do, and that makes us all a bit like children - even if we grow very, very old. So as a graduating documentary director, I decided to make a film about this.
In the film ‘byebye’ I re-enact different imaginary meetings with my father, who has already made it very clear he has no intention of seeing me again. For this, it’s a film about the collision of fantasy and reality. To make a film about someone who is impossible to film, I casted myself, my sisters and my father as miniature figurines (like the ones that are used in miniature train landscapes). These mini figurines are at the crossroads between youth and adulthood: after all they are toys, but every box of them states in big bold letters: THIS IS NOT A TOY! Oké, oké… These miniatures are then placed in paper landscapes made of origami, which are both static and easily changed - just like our memory and imagination. So you could see this film as an animated documentary, a bit like Waltz with Bashir by Ari Folman or The Missing Picture by Rithy Panh, if you happen to have seen these films.
Now the paradox making ‘bye’ was that filming really, really small things means you need really, really big and specific equipment. Surprisingly, when your main characters are 1,5 cm, your set becomes bigger instead of smaller.
Although many people have already helped us realise the film so far, there are some things who still cost money. Not only the equipment, but also post-production in sound. Sound is one of the best ways to work on the subconscious and play a game with memory, making it very important for this film. Because sound engineering is such a specialist trade, it is also quite costly. For these things, I need your help.
Support the film and get the film in return, or a miniature extra from the film, or a miniature you, or more! I hope you can help us tell this small story about the big stories we make up in our minds.
*** small remark: if you live extremely far from Belgium (say, another continent, an ocean away), depending on the amount of the donation it may prove difficult to ship the rewards to your country. If this is the case, instead of the physical rewards, you will receive a special digital goodie package with a personal message from the director. ***