JAZZ PROCLAMATION vol. 3 at the Bellaria is a collection of original songs by Cécile Nordegg|No-Ce & Band. The project is a collaboration of musicians, artists and filmmakers of various genres, cultures and generations and is filmed in Vienna/Austria. The story of a song is the song of a story as the artists claim. It is our pleasure to interview Cécile at the Toronto Film Magazine.
How did you start making films and what was the first film project you worked on?
Well, I started doing production work in theater. We put on quite a few fringe productions a few years back. I am a singer and an actor. Therefore, my body is my instrument and at some point, you just begin to visualize the instrument in a certain surrounding, in a certain light. The visualizing starts to be your second breathing. You want to tell stories with your songs and songs with your stories and you start to make videos/films so your audience can feel alive in sound and pictures.
What was the inspiration behind the making of your film?
Making films for me means sharing, sharing the stories I want to be told, giving feeling to my audience and giving the opportunity to create their own stories with their own eyes in their own minds, making their own “films” in their perception. What inspired me most with the project BELLARIA, which we produced entirely during covid times, is certainly the fact that music overcomes restrictions and borders, strengthens existing friendships and connects people of all cultures and generations, even with the regard of social distancing. We used the time of lockdown and retreat to go to the studio and work with musicians from all over the world to promote solidarity and to unite through music. And then we started to show our work through filming. Telling sensitive, complex and emotional moments, telling stories and snapshots of strong personalities doing music. The writers and composers are mainly female, personalities who are brave enough, who are strong enough to tell moments of supposed weakness and vulnerability. Committed, aching, dedicated, indulgent. “We all have our story. We should tell it. No matter whether happy, sad or funny, it is important to share. It is important to know that even if we feel like we are alone, we are not, there are so many people out there, that in that same moment feel the same way!” Telling the stories of a song and the song of a story.
What is the most challenging aspect of being an independent female filmmaker in the film industry?
Live is challenging, so difficulties are everywhere when you decide to see them, but you can also perceive them as a normal approach and a ‘parkour’ to be run for finally getting to your
goal. It makes the challenge not easier, but you don’t overly feel the burden.
How difficult is it to fund indie films?
Funding indie films always is a challenge. We are very good at low budget work, which always enhances creativity because you must come up with solutions that are most of the times not
the obvious ones. And sometimes one gets lucky, and someone decides to answer your request for financial support.
Please name three of your most favorite directors. How have they been influential in your work?
Both my parents were in theater, my dad more on the technical side, my mum more on the artistic side, so I spend a lot of time in the theater, saw rehearsals and plays, met a lot of interesting people – so that experience has great influence on my work. Rainer Werner Fassbinder – love, love, love his work, the way he worked with light and visual images Sofia Coppola – “Lost in translation” – one of my all-time favorites, she has a very special feeling for storytelling.
How did your project go into production and how did you finalize the cast and the crew?
little.egg.productions is a family business my husband Jonathan Berkh is a painter and a graphic designer, my daughter Tahnee Nordegg an actress and screenwriter, and I am a singer and actress. We created a civil law company, an association of individual artists with the aim of project development, production, graphics and parts of the management etc. in order not to have to outsource anymore, everyone works for everyone, everyone does part of the background work for the others. So, the first steps of production lay directly there. Cast is everyone involved in the music and album production and crew basically also. Loyalty is a very important attribute for us.
How was the film received by your audience and film festivals and what is your plan for further distribution of the
The film was received quite well, we had several selections, nominations and wins at festivals. The original plan was to distribute via streaming platforms.
What do you recommend to other filmmakers regarding the making and the distribution of independent films?
Think out of the box, be true to yourself, go for it, and keep going!
What is your next film project and what are you currently working on?
Basically, we still are in post-production mode in terms of dealing with the outcome and looking into further ideas and possibilities of distribution and marketing etc.
Why do you make films?
In first place, I am a singer and songwriter, a musician, a storyteller. In order to get seen and heard and understood I must produce videos and films about my work and about me. Besides I love filmmaking – the whole process is just fascinating and the amount of people that have to come together to make a film possible is just amazing and each time a wonderful experience.