The World's Story is Yours to Tell
Who are you and what is your profession?
My name is Christian Plähn and I’m doing a lot of different work connected to moving images. Video and film projects in full service, from concept to master, as well as motion design, vjing and whatever comes in interesting.
At the moment my main focus is on documentary movies, which is one of the most interesting things I can imagine doing and I’m really glad about having the possibility to do this work.
My last project just got screened in catalan television, another is in production, and there are a lot of interesting projects in mind. if you’re interested, feel free to have a look, and to give me some critic and feedback!
Can you tell us a little about your background and upbringing?
I grew up in a little village in northern Germany. After school I got trained to be a paramedic in the near city, which was a great and really moving experience. After this I decided to do something creative, and started studying industrial design, communication design and audiovisual communication, in Germany and Spain. Over the last years I worked creating video projection installations, live visuals and motion graphics as well as realizing film projects.
What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
I used to be a bit into photography in my childhood. I think the photos I made were really crappy, but I remember the strong fascination about that blurry and black spot on a blue ground which I knew it was that hawk in the sky. Many of these early photos were kind of abstract, because I simply didn’t know how to use the gear, but they all had a story to tell, and I was proud to catch these little stories.
Later on I started to paint and draw a lot, as well combining photography with it, on the search of a good way to concentrate and to retell certain moments experiences. I was searching a different way of expression, but somehow I never felt any need to work with video. Nobody I knew had access to it, and somehow I also felt uncomfortable with the medium, maybe because back then it was something very technical and expensive and I could whether afford it nor understand how it works.
It happened on a flea market, that I found this 20 year old Super 8 camera in my hands. It was no decision to buy it, it was clear that this was the "new" medium to work with. A simple but strong thought: images that move! I got the films, the glue, old projectors, and made a lot of sequences, time and filter experiments and animations, to use this for visuals and projection installations with music.
But I wouldn’t say that this is how I became a filmmaker. It was more about the fascination of working with film than ever thinking of finishing a film. One of the best things I had back then was that broken projector, which used to burn films while showing them, it was incredibly beautiful, and I loved it, though as a filmmaker it should have been my worst nightmare.
I started to finish films while studying in university, as well as keeping and showing them instead of burning :) Apart from that I still kept filming without making, I started to capture everyday life in tiny fragments, like living photography. It was like the thing with the hawk, but filming was a much better way for me to catch moments, in sense of retelling reality. I love photography, but for what I wanted to do, I needed sequences. A good photo is like a monument, something that can become iconic, a good film sequence is closer to reality and memories.
Over the years I kept catching those reality fragments while I earned my money creating visual content and video installations. From 2008 on I decided to pause work in Berlin and went to Barcelona for the winter to start a documentary film project made of fragments of everyday life situations in my neighbourhood, the Raval. This turned out to be my first long film after university and brought me on the way to realize more film projects.
Aside of this I’m still trying to catch moments and fragments of day life, with the same feeling I had when I was a kid doing crappy photos. And if I find a way to transmit all of this digital footage back to a good old film roll one day, I’ll maybe burn beautiful holes in it :)
Who or what do you most admire?
I admire everybody who manages to live and fulfill his or her "vision" and while that staying a peaceful, respectful and tolerant person. No matter if its about realising art projects or managing to grow a family, I admire people who do what they want with passion.
By the way, and don’t blame me for that as a stupid football fan, I also admire Lionel Messi! :)
What did you film on 10.10.10?
I captured some fragments of everyday life in the very neighbourhood where I live, in Berlin Friedrichshain. Nothing special, nothing spectacular, just the typical moments I see on a sunday noon around here.
The 10.10.10 was a really nice day, so everybody went out to catch some sun and to walk around the flea markets, which are a bit part of the sunday culture here. Later on people went to the bridge nearby, to watch the sun go down, that’s it.
Aesthetically, that time I was trying to get some of the Super 8 film feeling back by using an old and cheap c mount serurity camera lens. It has a terrible quality if you judge technically, but for me it gives back some of the poetic of feeling old film on a very direct way. I believe that the quality and poetry of an image doesn’t come from the technical perfection. Sometimes it comes from the lack of it.
What are you planning on filming for 11.11.11?
I’m not sure where I’m going to be on this very day yet, apart from the fact that a friend of mine finally might celebrate his birthday this year again! I could probably tell you what I’m planning to film in 2014, where are you heading with the concept then? :) Thank you very much for giving me the chance to show you some tiny bits of the day life fragments work, and keep on doing those wonderful projects connecting people all over the world!