Circus Arts online film: SAFE

What happens when fourteen Circus students and their director suddenly can’t make theatre anymore? Then you get a film about both loneliness and connection. Jef Kinds (aerial straps artist) is one of the actors: ‘It’s unbelievable how we managed to make something wonderful although we are far apart, with some of us even abroad.’

Because of the Corona measures, the theatre production of the second-year Circus students, that was planned for the Circusstad Festival, was cancelled. Instead they made their first online movie, about home isolation. How did that come about?
‘Joris Schoenmaekers, our director, suggested to make a film. A terrific idea, but where to start? We are all real-life performers and none of us had ever made a movie before. Joris inspired us and gave us tips for books to read and films to watch. We held three Zoom meetings every week. In the second week everyone chose a character for themselves and created a ‘safe spot’, a place in their home where they felt absolutely safe.’

Jef Kinds in his natural habitat. Photo by: Joke van den Heuvel.

You play ‘Barry’, who sits in the shower under a running tap. What made you think of that?
‘The shower for me is a place where you can be away from the world, social media, and the news for a while. ‘Barry’ sits there eating cornflakes, reading a book, pretending everything is just okay. My room- and classmate Jonas, who is also in the film, recorded everything. We had a flooded floor quite often, but we also had a lot of fun! We would share the recordings among us, gave each other feedback, and Joris gave directions. It is actually a very slow process, compared to a live situation where you are in contact with each other all the time.’

You have all filmed everything on your own locations, using smart phones, laptops, cameras. Some of your classmates did so at home in Sweden, Germany, Belgium. The film was finished in a month. How was everything brought together?
‘Five of us are good at editing. And we all gave a lot of thought to frame setting, which sort of corresponds with the stage setting in a live performance. Fortunately, Jonas and I could film each other, whereas others had to do it all by themselves. We also wrote the film score ourselves, except for the opening song, which is by Florieke de Geus, a voice student (Jazz) at Codarts.’

What do you hope to communicate to people who watch SAFE?
‘For me there are two target groups. First, the people who are now sitting at home without work or performances. Hopefully we can inspire them by showing there are alternative possibilities for making art. Even when you are sometimes far apart. See it as an experiment, that’s how we approached it as well.  A second target group is the audience who are currently missing art and culture. Hopefully our film will give them half an hour of breathing space.’

SAFE will premiere online on Friday night, 15 May 2020, at 8 p.m.
The film (37 minutes) will be streamed via Vimeo. Access link:
Codarts Circus Arts presents: SAFE – C2 group production 2020
Password: SAFEcircus
Afterwards, the film will remain available online, free for everyone.