We, the initiators of this project, are three young women from Berlin who share a special bond of friendship and a diverse range of professional skills, which manifested itself in our filmmaking process, contributing to the creation of this holistically ‘transmodern’ production.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
Friedi and Halea have known each other since primary school in Berlin. Halea and Lula led parallel lives (same friends, same interests, same parties) until they physically met upon return to their home-city in 2013, after several attempts to meet up during their parallel studies in London.
Halea first encountered the concept of Transmodernity in 2012, when the mother of a close friend published a decisive essay on this philosophical concept, which can be found here. Mother and daughter are both in the film. Halea then shared this wide, deep and radical concept with her friends, where it deeply resonated with the Lula and Friedi.
Fast forward to 2016, Friedi, on her own quest in life, wanted to make a research film about changemakers for her degree and asked for assistance. And since Lula and Halea had been working on several independent film productions together, they dreamt about making a film together one day. Over a cozy dinner in an Indian restaurant in Berlin Neukölln, a heavy rainstorm came down on the city. Protected by an umbrella, this was the very moment we three made a pact that we would embark on this journey together.
THE IDEA IS BORN
We had no budget and no production company behind us. We just worked with the means we had at hand. The camera? Borrowed from friends. The production car? A friend had just bought a little bus and was in emotional need of a landscape change and hitting the pedal. The gas costs? A tiny travel fund. Covering life costs throughout the production? A very diverse range of jobs we had throughout.
But our motor to keep going was strong: We had a strong urge to take action. The question was: How do we make this philosophical concept accessible and tangible? This is why we decided to convey the message through an assemblage of personal stories through the eyes inspiring people, rather than getting deep into theory.
Everything came together much quicker than expected. As soon as we inquired with the people around us, who were already involved in projects that paved the way to more just and joyful future, we were met with excitement and many open doors. One open door lead us to the next. A strong message we want to convey is that the change is happening around you already. You just need to open your eyes to it and look around. Communities and projects are springing up like mushrooms, also in lesser progressive environments. You just have to dig a little deeper. Or if you are living somewhere very remote connect online or incentivise gatherings.
With 12 protagonists, all covering different archetypes and fields of work that we wanted to include, we embarked on our journey in a green VW van that we named ‘Frog’: it took us to Serbia, Greece, Croatia, England and back to Berlin.
The philosophy of the filmmaking process was translated into the making of the film: we did not fly, we tried a holacratic crew structure where everyone got to shoot, interview and do sound, without a hierarchy. Unintentionally, we found ourselves in an all female crew which was a refreshing experience, after years of working on male-dominated productions. What began as a coincidence turned out to be a mind blowing experiment revolving around possibilities of hacking the production process. We believe it is important to stay playful in everything you do and not take the dominant narrative, as the only one of how things should be done.
The post-production took a while, due to the initial lack of funds and the sheer amount of interview material we had collected. We did not restrict the interviews, as one would normally do and had no prior script, no pre-planned scenes to conjunct scenes - all we had was a mutual vision and a lot of material with a message that we, to this day, find hugely important.
We started a Kickstarter Campaign. Thanks to our backers that we cannot thank enough, we received enough money to pay for most of the post-production. We then locked ourselves into an Art Residency in the North of France with our new editor, Isa Kohl. Once in France, we transcribed, we watched, we discussed, we stuck post-its on the walls, we greeted the garden peacocks daily. In the end, we had worked out a film-skeleton, which upon return to Berlin, took shape in its flesh, muscle and blood.
On one of the hottest summer days of 2018, in Isa’s room which lies right under the roof, in Berlin-Wedding we finally reached picture lock - after months of editing. Sprinkle some more months onto that and we finally completed post-production entirely.
THE BABY’S BORN
When the film was ready to share, we couldn’t wait to share it with the world and went on small tours sharing the film in preview screenings or presented snippets in inspirational changemaker workshops with university classes, at festivals or conferences.
It was gratifying to see people’s glowing faces after the screenings, as it showed us that we managed to touch our audience at their core. Some even wrote to us weeks or months later, that they had started their own heart project and were so thankful for the impact that our film had on them.
After going on a one year festival tour, we spontaneously — in direct response to the Corona Crisis — released the film online. In this highly complex and confusion time of transformation, we believe that the film has beautiful capacities to inspire and empower, in order to use this challenge as an opportunity to reassess our values and ways of living. It has been such an adventure and we hope to continue the story. With all of you.
TO SUM IT UP
Regarding any project you might be dreaming of, we say: Just do it. Find your tribe and begin. Go for it while your idea is fresh and your curiosity is flaming. There is no such thing as failure. It’s all a learning process and we grow from every experience. You will only regret the things you did not do and you will evolve in the process!