L'eau faux

L'eau faux
An Experimental film by Serge Onnen/Sverre Fredriksen
Crowdfunding teaser: 
funded project
donated of €4.000
days to go

Project Information

About the project
LOCKLINEWhat happens when you mix mineral water, tap water and holy water?

While exploring the sewer system with our first film Cloacinae we found another underground system that caught our attention: water!

Water is an element that’s part of everything alive on our planet. When water became a ‘thing’ that you can buy in a bottle, something strange happened… 

L’eau Faux is a sparkling new shadow puppet film with animated ice, water and steam. What happens when you mix mineral water, tap water and holy water?

To make the sets of L'eau Faux we will need to modify these 1000 liter tanks. Inside we’ll build a whole new world where most of the action will take place... 


2 worlds of bottled water

L’eau Faux takes place in two locations. One is recognisable as our world (live-action with actors) where bottled water is sold and consumed. Water is an attractive thing you can buy. 

The other world is a spectacular and mysterious one, animated with shadow puppets and sets made from ice and water. An underworld with different laws of physics, where water is produced. Who makes water and how? 


Technical inventions and Cloacinae

In our first film Cloacinae we developed a new technique combining shadow puppets and animated ice.

Serge Onnen started exploring the ancient art of Chinese shadow puppets in 2009 when he worked in Beijing with traditional puppet makers. The semi transparent puppets are cut out of animal skin by craftsmen, who pass the skill on from generation to generation. The craftsmen were willing to collaborate and helped make Onnen's puppets. 

This lead to the idea of making a film, using the more than 1000 years old technique. 

Sverre Fredriksen had already been experimenting with many types of frozen liquids, and captured the melting process with time-lapses and animation. With Cloacinae these two techniques and worlds came together for the first time, shadow puppets and ice. The results were surprising and exceptional, pointing towards a new and exciting visual film language.

Cloacinae is a 25-minute experimental short art film about the financial & sanitary system. The film premiered in 2017 at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and was nominated for a Tiger Award. It is currently screening at film and animation festivals around the world, and there's also a looped gallery version that will premiere in a museum exhibition in September 2018. 


Help us reveal the unseen images that are still hidden in the magical and organic world of ice, water & puppets!

For Cloacinae we aquired two big freezers and worked for more than a year developing and researching all kinds of liquids and ice. We discovered so much potential and possibilities of this technique to create images that have never been seen before. With our new film L'eau Faux we will go deeper and further to create an extraordinary film experience with just the simple elements of water & light.


And real actors! Like scenes with the eminent Harald Austbø and Joachim Robbrechts.


3 stories that have inspired L'eau Faux:

A. Years ago while traveling in a country far away, someone warned me 'Don't buy bottled water on the street! It could be counterfeited.'  

This warning made me think about my vulnerable self. Bottled water in this distant country was only sold for hypersensitive and hyper-fragile westerners like myself. As an artist I find it inspiring to think about these everyday things, that we take for granted. It motivates my art and and gives it reason, because art is about asking questions. 

B. When you enter a restaurant in New York (e.g. Wall Street, the centre of the financial world) a glass of water is automatically served. No questions asked. It has always surprised me and I have never asked why. It's nice to keep questions open to yourself, especially if you're quite sure the reason behind it will disappoint you anyway.

C. When I was in Beijing I often saw people picking up empty plastic bottles of the street and putting those in their pockets. Only later I figured out why: the reason was not to keep the streets or environment clean, but to sell the little bit of plastic to the recycling centre.



This is our second crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding is a fantastic idea, but it's very difficult. As an artist you need to make art and hope other people will like it and help you have it shown and sold. But making a film, you need to start selling your idea, and talk about it long time before you have made anything, that is a strange feeling. To be so public about what you plan to do.

Nevertheless it's also very encouraging and nice when people trust you by making a donation. This second film project has started off well by winning the AFK's (Amsterdam Fund for the Arts) competition for experimental films. This means:

The Amsterdam Fund for the Arts will DOUBLE your donation!

All donations are highly appreciated and make it possible for us to make art and realise our film plan.

Join us on this adventure, with your support we can turn the ordinary into the uncanny! 

For us it will mean getting cold and dirty in the freezers of our laboratory, for you there are some great rewards that you'll get in return for your donation. (in addition to an unforgettable film experience later of course!)



Art objects! Art books! Shadow puppets! Come join us on set! And even the opportunity to get your own look-a-like shadow puppet that will star in L'eau Faux!

This bottle of L’eau Faux is a limited edition art object, blue glass embracing a special water brew like none other…

Hand carved shadow puppets are also available as a reward for our supporters, and art books:

A pierced graphic novel: The Lost Cent.

160 beautiful pages of shadow puppets on rice paper and text in both Chinese and English that can be read as biographical notes on each puppet. 

Read more here: I am a lone monk walking the world with a leaky umbrella.


Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom.


Please donate and help us make L’eau Faux!




Quote that inspired the maker

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”
Bruce Lee
This project was successfully funded on 14-02-2018

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