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a.o.k is a hybrid video documentary about the experience of making pop videos and pop music. Using only behind the scenes and B-roll footage altered with animations, it is a painting of the emotional experience behind and in front of the camera. It is as much about the content as it is about the making of it.
The project revolves around a series of music videos created to original tracks but the end results are neither seen nor heard; what remains visible, however, are the sensations of the contributors during the production.
It is a journey that cramps with discomfort at the beginning but opens up, softens and releases into something tender and compassionate. The result is relentless and unforgiving but it is an ode to the loving images we create of ourselves.
Pop-culture is more than entertainment, it shapes our reality; it constructs and deconstructs stereotypes, it catalyses real-world violence but also collective transcendence. a.o.k began with some urgent questions: Can this framework be broken and put back together on our terms? What do we lose or gain when we play pretend?
a.o.k took a year and half to edit. It was a fluid and sculptural process that required listening not just to the material but also to the moods, sensations and emotions during the making of the film. The film uses high resolution cameras, low resolution iPhone footage shared on whatsapp and is all interwoven with hand drawn and digital animations to convey the sense of the confusion, energy and melancholy the cast and crew were going through as they performed the roles of the pop stars and producers they admired. The result of a.o.k is the space between pretending and becoming, it is a complex admission of the difficulties we have with the stereotypes of pop culture.
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Performers - Jaana-Kristiina Alakoski, Bess Barkholt, Nadja Voorham, Victoria Kaldan, Ofelia Jarl Ortega, Sheroy Katila, Masayuki Watanabe, Guido Tarricone, Joshua Leon, Elisa Grasso, Ryan Kalkman, Jazbo Gross
Editing - Christopher Tym
Animation - Christopher Tym
Additional Animation - Daniel Swan, Andrea Zavala Folache
Music, Sound Design - Christopher Tym
Mixing, Additional Structuring - Joris Benjamins
Original Tracks Written, Performed & Produced by BESS
Original Tracks Co-Produced, Mixed & Mastered by Conway Ellis
Click here to listen to the original source tracks by BESS
© Christopher Tym 2022
Premiered at Rencontres Internationales, Paris May 2022
Currently being screened at Festival Ecrã
Next screening at Rencontres Internationales, Berlin August 2022