Interview with Thorsten Fleisch| director of Energie!

energie!Please introduce yourself .
Good day, I’m Thorsten Fleisch and I live in Berlin, Germany.

When did you start your career?
I started to film and experiment with my dad’s Super 8 camera when I was still going to school around 1991. I immediately discovered single-frame exposure and made some small animations among other weird stuff.

Can you describe us the reasoning behind Energie!”?

Before making ‘Energie!’ I was very much fascinated by high-voltage. I had built my own Tesla coil and wanted to translate the raw power of high-voltage discharges to film. I first experimented with exposing 16 mm film strips with high-voltage but was not happy with the result. When I tried the same process with photo paper I loved the results and used these electrophotographies as the source material. To make it more interesting I experimented with looping and strobing, always keeping the original intensity of the Tesla coil as a point of reference.

How long did the development of your film take?
Hard to say as I was working on it with several breaks in between. Once I had found my source material the actual animation was taking me a few months to complete. Before that I was probably experimenting with high-voltage about half a year or even a year.

Can you describe what was most challenging about shooting your film?
Most challenging was not to electrocute myself. I’m really not a very careful and responsible guy so playing around with a 30.000 volts transformer is a potential life hazard. It could have very well ended in a dumb death worthy of a Darwin Award.

According to your artistic point, who or what is the main inspiration for representing the concept of your story?
Very often it is a certain material or technique that interests me and that I want to explore. It’s in part process oriented. Something leads me in a certain direction and with the feedback I receive from working more with this material or method I go along wherever it may take me. Often I’m driven simply by curiosity.

How do you see the role of an independent artist nowadays?
Regarding film it is now almost ridiculous how cheap and capable the technology and software is compared to when I started. For a few thousand Dollars or Euro you can buy all the gear you need for a decent film production that is actually not so fundamentally different from what the big productions use. This to me is mind blowing. On the other hand everybody and their mother seems to be making films nowadays. The competition is so much greater now. Frankly, this huge amount of moving image production stresses me. Maybe the next big thing will be screens that are just blank. You’d sit in front of them and meditate. I would most certainly welcome some dark screens of oblivion.

What’s next? Are there any other projects that you are currently working at?
I’ve just finished developing a video game together with a small team. It’s called Teslapunk and will come out for Nintendo Wii-U and most likely Xbox One early next year. At the moment I’m working on another animated short and a horror feature film which is way too ambitious.

Screening films online – what are your thoughts about that? What do you think is the future of web and films?
I’ve had my films online from as early as it was technically feasible so I embraced it from the start and I still do. Nevertheless I prefer to watch films on a big screen and not the computer monitor or smart phone. Where it will all lead us I don’t know. The up and down cycle of trends and currents are insane and totally unpredictable to me.

Watch ENERGIE! here

Find out more about Thorsten Fleisch here