Manon Bovenkerk - Ocnophilia

5:30, 2006, Animation
OCNOPHILIA is a visceral ghost story about physicality, the need for contact and the infection in which this needs results. The desolation that the protagonists experience is mirrored by the stark and unforgiving architecture surrounding them. The film is constructed out of soft, detailed charcoal drawings.

DirectorManon Bovenkerk


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Who is Manon Bovenkerk?
I was educated at the Academy for Arts and Design in Den Bosch, and graduated in 1995. For a long time, I made mostly drawings and occasionally installations, some as part of collaboration projects. My films are shown both in film festivals and in exhibition spaces, in which case I usually build specific environments. My latest project was a three-part work called ’Ocnophilia’, which onsists of a cycle of drawings, the animation film that shows in the Streaming Festival, and a book.

I also organise shows and projects; I worked at artists’ initiative Artis (Den Bosch) for some years, and now work as a free-lance curator and advisor. Recently, I co-curated Lopend Beeld #3 in Nieuwe Vide (Haarlem), a bi-annual manifestation on animated art, and I currently work on the Urban Explorers Festival which will take place in Dordrecht from 11-14 may this year.

Why filmmaking?
My drawings were always connected to film, in the way that they seem to refer to ’scenes’, with a ’before’ and an ’after’, like a still image of an action. I use a lot of images from films as a starting point, and my films play with the content and imagery of genre films such as western, film noir and particularly horror films. I was also very interested in narrative. I used to hang a lot of drawings together on one wall, so that the onlooker could make connections between them, but I wanted to influence and direct these stories much more. Animation seemed the logical next step.

Ocnophilia is about...
Ocnophilia is a visceral ghost story about physicality, the need for contact and the infection in which this need results. The desolation that the protagonists experience is mirrored by the stark and
Unforgiving architecture surrounding them. Constructed out of soft and detailed charcoal drawings, the film uses very minimal camera movements - some panning and zooming. The music by Danny Weijermans plays a big part in setting the mood, it is both dramatic and lyrical. It’s linked to my life maybe in the way that I made all the drawings used in the film while doing an rtist-in-residence in Kolderveen, a tiny village in Drenthe. The seclusion I experienced there definitely contributed to the obsessive nature of the drawings and the film.

Financing your movie?
I do most things myself so I didn’t really need funding to make the film; however, the book which I made in conjunction with the film was financed by the Fonds for Beeldende Kunsten, Vormgeving en Bouwkunst, and the Materiaalfonds voor Beeldende Kunst en Vormgeving.

New Media; a challenge for film makers?
Distribution sure is easier! Streaming is definitely a way of showing your films to a larger public. To be honest, I should have a website by now but this seems to be always on the end of my to-do list...it’s coming though. (I guess for me it was just the computer and digital editing that made it possible to make low-budget films and be in control of everything.)

Do your films have style, just as some painters have?
I don’t know how to describe that. I guess you can always tell it’s my work, because my handwriting is in the drawings, but this last film is quite different from the older ones. It has something to do with a style that is almost comic-like, and a dark atmosphere...

David Cronenberg was a huge influence! Visceral horror in general is, but his ideas about infection, the human body versus technology and the influence of the mind on the bodily state are fascinating to me. But also other filmmakers, such as Antonioni, Sam Raimy, Tobe Hooper, John
Huston...I love genre-films. And underground comics, Charles Burns particularly. The architecture by Le Corbusier was an influence in Ocnophilia, as well as ideas from psycho-analysis. Heavy stuff ;)

Individual film making or co-operation?
I do almost everything myself, but I love collaboration - in this case, the collaboration with the composer Danny Weijermans was great and really defined the final result. Sound has such a big impact that it was really good to be able to go back and forth, change things in the editing, change things in the music, and back again. I need to be on my own in the early stages of developing an idea, but it is always very helpful to invite people to see your project and talk about it during the process.

Plans and dreams...
I’d like to make a ’real’ film, ie not an animation. Or maybe a longer animation film. Or a series of really short and strange films. And bigger drawings. Or maybe another book. Or all of the above.

Did you ever had another ambition in life than to become a filmmaker?
Sure. Loads. Making comic books is a big ambition.

Digital or classic?
Digital for sure, for the ease of it, G5 with Final Cut and such. Though real film gives a much nicer images quality - can’t top that.

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