VIP - VideoChannel Interview Project

Oja, Martin

Martin Oja
from Estonia

  • artist biography
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    Interview: 10 questions

    1) Tell me something about your life and educational background

    My childhood made me a spectator of changing worlds – the fall of Soviet Union and new independence of Estonia. These were emotionally charged, but yes, interesting and optimistic times. After my studies (bachelor in literature and semiotics) and wanderings through different periods of life the world seems rather difficult, not optimistic. But still beautiful, if you know where to look. I have always liked to read, paint and to be in the contact with nature. In the recent years I discovered the power of music and films. I have published one book of poetry.

    2) When, how and why started you filming?

    I have known quite long that animation is The Thing I would like to do. As “Rain Terrain” is my debut animation (made with the help of my girlfriend Kudrun, whose ingenious designs helped to get the true feeling of the depicted world), it just had to wait for an idea good enough and for a load of emotional power to start from the scratch.

    3) What kinds of subjects have your films?

    This film has definitely a wide range of hidden meanings – for example the issues of existence, power, freedom. As well as relationships between higher and lower beings (some could say between men and god), or between a system and a part of it.

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

    In the case of animation you must rely on the storyboard, which is the backbone of everything else. So, at first you must think up the storyboard. Of course, while creating it, its extremely useful to see all the following in your mind… the movements, colors, compositions, cuts, even hear the soundtrack in your mind´s ears.

    5) Tell me something about the technical equipment you use?

    I use Pentium 4 computer, scanner for pen and pencil drawings, Photoshop with a tiny wacom tablet and 3D software.

    6) What are the chances for the new media for the genre film/video in general and you personally?

    Its actually a topic proper for a book or an essay at least, but in a nutshell, I see many interesting perspectives in interactive projects, using film or video as their component – mostly VR and computer games, which by far dont use all the artistic and inventional possibilities. Quite the other way for these medias is to find use in strenghtening the Global Village, as Marshall McLuhan once said, helping to communicate knowledge in these ecologically hard times coming.

    7) How do you finance your films?

    I “financed” my film, taking break from university studies and being the only, non-payed, but ultimately happy workhorse in my project. After all I dream about, like I use to call it, “digital democracy” – the time when even cheap equipment and computing power will give a lo-fi filmmaker high-end technical possibilities. Of course, always remains the aspects which need funds to raise – using actors, professional lab services etc.

    8) Do you work individually as a video artist/ film maker or do you work in a team? If you have experiences of both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?

    I strongly feel that the compromise between these two ways is the best. The multiplicity of opinions and ideas doesnt let your well run dry. Many eyes can see mistakes you may make without noticing. On the other hand, the control and final say better remain for the director.

    9) Who or what has a lasting influence on your filmmaking?

    In every way of creation – writing, painting, music or film, I feel the strong influence of the world itself, its power to surprise and make people wonder about things seen and not seen yet.

    10) What are your future plans or dreams as a film maker?

    I hope to work on contentful projects with good people, hoping to find a job which is somehow connected to films and lets me mind my own business as well. All another range of dreams contain certain new ideas about animations and films, which are waiting for to be realised.