VIP - VideoChannel Interview Project

Brentjes, Arjan

Arjan Brentjes
Dutch videomaker


Interview: 10 questions

1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background

After graduating from art academy in 1996, I worked as a painter and a musician until 2008, then I switched to video.

2. When, how and why started you filming?

At the end of 2007 I tried to express something about cinema history in paintings. This just didn’t work, so I tried animation instead. Looking back, the start of 2008 turned out to be a clean break towards a new life as a filmmaker.

3. What kind of subjects have your films?

I use the visual language of cinema history and art history as a way to express something about the current events and often also about myself.

4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?

I always try to discover some unexpected quality. This can happen writing a script, but there are also projects where I have to wait until the final editing to find it. Most importantly, first there is a dialogue between myself and the work, and then hopefully a dialogue between the work and the audience.

5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.

I mostly use a combination of live acting (often green screen) and animation. I try to do as much as possible myself, this makes it easier to adapt changes along the process. The equipment: dslr camera’s, Adobe suite, Pro Tools, some 3d-programms, pencil, paper and not to forget Word, writing is an important part of the process.

6. What are the chances of the digital video technologies for creating art using “moving images” generally, and for you personally?

Art can be made from anything. Art doesn’t live in any material, but in the mind of the artist, and in the mind of the audience. Technological developments have just provided us with a new material to work with.

7. How do you finance your films?

I mostly pay for it myself. I can finance the project I’m currently working on, using the award money I won with my last film. But I don’t expect to be that lucky every project. In the past I’ve received a subsidy to make a film, but the truth is that this only obstructed the process. It’s better to be as independent as possible, if you want to keep your artistic freedom. Still, I can imagine needing funds for future projects. It’s just always a struggle.

8. Do you work individually as a video artist/film maker or do you work in a team?
if you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?

In my commercial job, I am very much a team player. But as an artist I need to be in full control of my own work. So I can only work with others if they agree to serve under captain Brentjes.

9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?

I’m a fan of many film directors and visual artists. But lately the most import influence comes from the late Argentinian writer Julio Cortázar. His short stories are always a dialogue with the reader. He always presents the reader with a problem, an impossibility, an experiment. And as a reader, you have to figure out how to solve it, and figure out what your role is in this game between writer, story and reader.

10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?

My plan is to make art in the form of moving images.
And also to get quite old, so I can keep trying.

Can works of yours viewed online besides on the CologneOFF platform? Where?