Wednesday 4 July 2018

Nulla - dance film by Jean Claude Billmaier

Nulla is the latest film by New York-based motion picture director Jean Claude Billmaier. The film represents a carefully constructed study of movement, with a crescendo of tension and energy being unleashed to an original score by long-standing collaborator, R&B singer and producer Toulouse.

Nulla | Dance Film from Jean Claude Billmaier on Vimeo.

Developed as a response to our work-driven lifestyles, Nulla visually expresses the daily struggle of the everyday person in winding down and resetting one’s energy levels back to zero. Tension is portrayed as having a life of its own; it slowly makes itself known, settles and then returns as a disruptive force seeking to be released.

“Emotions such as anxiety, stress and anger are often portrayed as negative forces trapped within ourselves. With Nulla I wanted to create a place in which all our tensions are released, with the process itself being something ecstatic and gratifying. It’s the release, and finally being able to breathe, that we should be focusing on.” - Jean Claude Billmaier

This level of tension is achieved through Loni Landon’s dance direction and Evan Copeland’s powerful performance. Working within the confined space of a hotel room, Landon translated the director’s vision into frantic shapes and quick bursts of movement. In particular, she highlighted the performer’s physical confinement by focusing on specific body parts, such as the neck, hands and feet. The film was choreographed with no music and shot with a handheld camera, allowing Copeland to spontaneously experiment with movements, textures and rhythm and work on a fast and constant buildup and release of energy.

“Nulla focuses on a theme that many people can relate to. Expressing it meant showing the feeling of confinement using a small space, which made the creative process even more exciting. Finding possibility within limitation is always interesting.” - Loni Landon

Toulouse’s original score complemented the action, crafting an emotionally eerie and surreal soundscape. This film was an opportunity for the musician to compose to dance for the first time. He elaborated on Billmaier’s theme of tension and release by portraying the initial body movements through a tense sonic design, while gradually building momentum with a constant pulsing rhythmic element. He then interpreted the dancer’s final energy release with a series of percussive, soaring beats.

The addition of the over one hundred VFX shots amplifies the ecstatic, yet strenuous process of energy being discharged. By playing with the idea of invisible shards imprisoning us, Billmaier reflects on how our self-imposed restraints only become visible once we acknowledge them and are able to break away from them.

Director: Jean Claude Billmaier
Original score by Toulouse @musicbytoulouse
Featuring Evan Copeland  @evanmcopeland
Produced at JCB Haus Producer: Joshua Bennet
Choreographer: Loni Landon @lonifaye
Director of Photography: Sam Cutler-Kreutz @samcutlerkreutz
Gaffer: Josh Herzog @josherzog
Editor: Sascha Taylor Larsen @satisfiedsascha
Visual Effects and Color: Justin Levine @j.r.levine
Sound Design: Bobb Barito @baritobobb 

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