Having recently won Best Art Film at the Monaco International Film Festival, we asked director Carmen Rozestraten to elaborate on the inspiration behind her submission to CU 2010's European Experimental film category, AFTER THE WATER THE CLOUDS.

By Lindsay Mayer

Q: I love the opening shot in this film. How did you get the idea for it?

The opening shot? The original title was Dreams Of Sleepy Feet. I love water. I also love feet. I tried to use the feet to meet and *feel* the different characters. The dance in the fountain became problematic because there was a drought in Barcelona so they turned off the fountains one by one. In the end we only had 2 hours to do the fountain dance. If we had had more time I probably would have elaborated a little on the underwater shot.

Q: What was the source of inspiration for the storyline?

A friend of mine claims it is autobiographical. Maybe he is right. A dancer meets interesting characters during her career then in the end takes off her shoes (quits dancing) and goes on with her life.

Q: Where was the film shot?

Barcelona. Location is very important for me and I spend a lot of time looking for the right ones. I tend to hang around the different locations for a while to feel the place. I did not think of Maureen (the dancer) opening the iron grit in front of the fountain to find the apple. One of the homeless used this place to store his foot ball and food. I just happened to see him do it.

Q: The dancer, where did you find her? Why the choice of contemporary dance vs. other styles?

Maureen is an amazing dancer. I had seen her on stage years ago and was dyyyyyyying to work with her. I feel incredibly lucky we finally could and I hope there is a lot more to come. All my characters are the most amazing wonderful and unusual artists and my friends. My cameraman, Enric Miro did an amazing job and for no pay. It was a very low budget film so he borrowed a camera for a bottle of cognac and a tripod for a bottle of wine. Also, when everything went wrong (the roses were being blown over by a hurricane, the taxi didn t show up when I had to take 4 huge balloons to the shoot and no [one] would take me, the guard at the library wanted to destroy the film material because we had been shooting illegally etc. etc.), he kept saying 'No te preoccupas' (Don't worry!), a very good trait for a cameraman to have. The style of choreography? My choreographies tend to be more neo-classical leaning towards modern. This time I was solely inspired by Maureeen and the music and something very different came out.

Q: The color red appears often in the film. Is it as symbolic as much as it is visual?

The color red? I am not sure. A coincidence? At one point I tried red apples but I didn't like the way they looked against the stone. The green ones worked better. I did imagine Maureen in a beautiful red dress though, am not sure why.

Q: This film is very tactile in that as I watched it, I couldn't help but think about touch, feeling, and sensuality. Was this one of your goals for the audience?

Am glad you felt that way. This film was actually a kind of fore study for a docudrama I want to make about the children of Iran. I thought the children would enjoy playing with these kind of materials. Every character in the film identifies with an object and after Maureen runs into them, she absorbs their instinct, knowledge, feeling and continues her voyage.

Q: The music to this film is haunting yet whimsical. How did Antoni Marti come up with the soundtrack?

I had asked Toni (Marti) if he had some music I could use for a choreography I could not use it but I liked his music so much that I decided to make a film based on it. It became ["the red dress dance"] and set the tone for the whole film. We did have some trouble composing the rest so I ended up using some of his existing music. His music is wonderful and whimsical and sometimes reminds me a little of Nina Rota.

Q: Tell me about the meaning behind the title, After The Clouds ,The Water.

For me, after the water the clouds is an inspiring positive title. I think about clouds as the puffy white soft shapes that hang in the sky and look so inviting to disappear into at the end of the film Maureen floats off into the sky. My friend pointed out that clouds could have a negative connotation and it hadn't occurred to me. It's also a title of one of Magritte s paintings.

Q: Tell me a quote that has always inspired you.

I get more inspired by nature, life. Things that are happening in the street, people I meet, books.

film industry network members