Our presentation “Empire: Experimental Storytelling Across Platforms” is a Prezi Staff Pick (and the most watched SXSW presentation on their site): http://prezi.com/ehxk964muf1g/empire-sxsw-presentation/
Empire: Experimental Storytelling Across Platforms
For all of you who missed us at SXSW Digital Domain, here’s our presentation in all its glory.
Eline is one of Filmmaker Magazine’s Women of SXSW!
“Why make an experimental documentary and not a feature film?”
The answer to that would be that the structure of the project arose organically to match the sprawling nature of the subject matter. It’s not just the time of movies right now, since we have long form TV and online video, and all kinds of new forms coming up. Because it is distributed across so many platforms, Empire is very much of this time.
Photo by Kramer O’Neill
We opened our email today to find these images of the first test print of the upcoming Empire book.
Made in collaboration with the brilliant designers at Atelier Carvalho Bernau, the book is a layered exploration of the project that combines travel writing and behind-the-scenes photography with historical essays and images from the Empire installations. Follow us here and on facebook to find out when it will be available (hint, summer 2014).
Thanks to our supporters at the Creative Industries Fund NL for helping to make this happen.
EMPIRE is going to SXSW!
Come see our “Empire: Experimental Storytelling Across Platforms" presentation at the Austin Convention Center on March 10th at 11 AM.
“Shot in 10 countries over the course of 4 years, Eline Jongsma & Kel O’Neill’s acclaimed documentary project Empire (NYFF 2013, IDFA 2012) is an epic investigation into the legacy of Dutch colonialism. It is also a one-of-a-kind storytelling experiment—instead of making a traditional film for theaters or TV, Jongsma + O’Neill have created a non-linear, multiplatform story experience that includes video installations, a book, an interactive website, and a growing collection of ancillary journalism pieces. In the lead up to Empire’s completion, Jongsma + O’Neill offer a session that explores their DIY production methods, and touches on the triumphs (winning PBS’s POV Hackathon) and sacrifices (prolonged homelessness) that have shaped this uncontainable interactive nonfiction project.”
Life on the Inside
20 years ago, South Africa was on the cusp of a momentous change. Parliament moved to constitutionally dismantle Apartheid, and Nelson Mandela received the Nobel Peace Prize. While the world celebrated the rise of South Africa’s Rainbow Nation, a small group of white Afrikaners went into retreat. They settled in an abandoned stretch of desert in the Northern Cape and began building a community that would preserve the values of a divided South Africa.
They called their community Orania, the town where Apartheid survived.
When we decided to become professional transients in the service of Empire, we held a “Give Away/Going Away” party in our old apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Friends came by from noon until midnight and picked our apartment clean of furniture, books, DVDs, and appliances. We put what was left into boxes, put those boxes into a 5’ by 15’ storage unit in Sheepshead Bay, and then boarded a flight to Jakarta, and lived out of a big green rolling suitcase for the next four years.
Today, our boxes arrived at our new apartment in Los Angeles, where we’ll be working on a video project for at least the next year. There’s still a lot to do for Empire—there’s a book to publish, and an online adaptation to finish—but the days of the green suitcase are over. Time to buy some new shit.
Thanks to Berenice Reynaud, Bill Ballou and Steve Anker for making the REDCAT evening happen.
Empire @ REDCAT Los Angeles, November 11th
It’s simple: if you live in Los Angeles, you’re coming to our show at the Roy and Edna Disney Cal Arts Theater:
Live Screening of Empire: The Unintended Consequences of Dutch Colonialism
filmmakers in attendance
November 11th, 8:30 PM
631 West 2nd Street,
Los Angeles, CA 90012
So two big—and connected—pieces of news rolled in over the past couple of days:
1. Empire's just been granted its finishing funds by the Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie or, as they say in English, the Creative Industries Fund NL.
This is really good news for us because it means that we can execute all of the ideas we have for the project without having to constantly stop to scrape together funding. We have some really exciting plans that we can’t wait to share with you as they come together.
2. The Creative Industries Fund has elected to include Empire as one of the ten projects represented on its brochure. The rest of the list is humbling and impressive, and includes Studio Moniker (makers of the awesome "Do Not Touch" video) and supergenius/Lady Gaga collaborator Bart Hess.
Alright, my little monsters, back to work.
Photo courtesy of Film Society of Lincoln Center
This is the end
After four years of shooting in ten countries on six continents, principle photography on the Empire project is wrapped.
Photo: The final frame from our work in Australia. Yeti, outlaw biker and an elder of the Nhanda aboriginal tribe, holds a framed picture of his beloved mother. Stay tuned to find out how Yeti’s story ties in with Dutch colonialism…
On the 4th of June 1629, the Dutch East India Company trading ship Batavia ran aground on the Abrolhos Islands off the coast of what is now Western Australia. Even before the wreck, conflicts between the Batavia’s crew members had made the ship a powder keg of suspicion and factional division. When the ship hit the reef, the powder keg exploded, and propelled the more than 300 men, women, and children of the Batavia into a nearly three-month-long nightmare of rape, mutiny, and murder.
The Batavia ordeal was a brutal and complicated affair that ended in the deaths of at least 110 passengers at the hands of nearly 30 mutineers. Eventually, the massacre was brought to a halt and most of the murderers met their fate at the gallows. Two of the mutineers, Wouter Looes and Jan Pelgrome de Bye, avoided execution and were instead exiled to the Australian mainland.
Some scientists and historians believe that Looes and Pelgrome de Bye found new lives—and new families—in Western Australia. The evidence, they say, can be seen in the light complexions of the local Aborigine population, and in a handful of Dutch-sounding words in the local language.
This August, the Empire project draws to its close with a final shoot in Western Australia. Stay with us for the next month as we travel to the other side of the earth and explore the outer reaches of the Dutch colonial empire.
Image: Plate 3 from the book “The Unlucky Voyage of the Ship Batavia,” artist unknown