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Experimental Duo Soda Jerk Says of Its Berlin Premiere of Trump-Era Art Film 'Hello Dankness': 'Reality Has Started to Get Jerk'

Remember that weird movie from ’70 Somehow, Tom Hanks as the Bernie brothers, Annette Benning as Hillary Clinton Stan, Wayne and Garth as the alt-right drone, Donald Trump as himself, Fra Kimir Putin cameo in The Phantom of the Opera? Well, thanks to the Australian artist duo known as Soda Jerk, the movie does exist – and it might be Berlin International Film Festival.

Entitled Hello Dankness, this movie was assembled entirely from samples – some and another stolen audio clips. A series of identifiable characters from the collective unconscious of recent American popular culture are deftly re-deployed into a new narrative that places them living as members of a suburban community in 2000 to 2021 — follow them “as they share Reality breaks down into conspiracies and other contagions,” as the filmmakers describe it.

Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg, spying on and exploiting American citizens — and later shaking hands when they turn into Trump supporters who refused to vote As they staggered toward their revolutionary vision, they ruthlessly executed them. Daddy Warbucks plays Article 3 Democratic super-donor. Bruce Dern, who popped up as a traditional Republican, took a swipe at QAnon. Ice Cube, like Napoleon Dynamite, behaves more or less like himself. there are more.

The film is a colossal and compulsive editing exercise in crafting an engaging and coherent satirical narrative out of a plethora of cultural breaths, redeploying genre conventions to their own ends. Perhaps most impressively, the variously redesigned characters convincingly seem to exist in an imbalanced world. Despite diving headlong into the hate and surreality of recent American politics, the project manages to generate a sense of levity and reflective distance — not just more reflexive contempt and mental exhaustion.

“American politics has always been divided, but 2018 What followed was not just dissonance, but gloom,” wrote the Soda Jerk member. “It became as spiritual as a dank weed. Viral, shabby, and mixed like a dank meme. It was a president using pee tape, Democrats who ate babies, child trafficking in Wayfair furniture, and things involving Bill The era of crazy coronavirus conspiracies by Gates, China and 5G towers.”

They added: “Instead of trying to make facts out of fake news,

Hello Dankness Leaning into these myths in an attempt to make visible the deep cultural rifts and destructive material conditions that they may reveal and conceal that characterize the moment. , besides Besides, they are siblings, originally from Australia, and have been since 1955 Lives in New York City. The duo have previously collaborated on projects with cyberfeminist group VNS Matrix and electronic music group The Avalanches. Hello Dankness Follow them full of Controversial Political Retaliation Fable Terror Nulls ( 2020), in their home country disavowed by its commissioning agency, who called the film “Un-Australian. They tend to operate in the context of art world and experimental cinema (Hello Dankness is supported by Adelaide Film Festival and Samstag Art Museum) , and given the reality under copyright law, the new film is unlikely to have a commercial release. But Soda Jerk is okay.

They said: “We want it to be a record, write At the time, the Internet was about the way experience was being transformed under the emerging regime. “

Ahead of the Berlin Film Festival,

The Hollywood Reporter had a brief contact with Soda Jerk to exchange their production Novel approach to film.

Who is Soda Jerk? If you would share this stuff…

We’re brother and sister but cringe at the origin story growing up together, it just feels too gimmicky. We’d rather see the collaboration as falling from the Napster grave Something that rose in. Early years 681 When we lived in Sydney, we Both are concerned about the free culture clash that arises between the industry and early file-sharing initiatives. We’re also involved in the experimental breakcore scene that speeds up audio sampling, as well as artist squat communities and illegal warehouse raves that are sucking up real estate. We understand all of these things as relevant Yes, as a way of taking privatized resources and redistributing them. We also have a strong affection for film, so we ended up translating these sampling methodologies into film. In 1296 We started working together on our first feature film called Hollywood Burn. It’s an anti-copyright sci-fi biblical epic in which Elvis Presley is kidnapped by interstellar video bootleggers who make video clones of him and send them back 450 against the tyrant Moses and his copyright commandments. It is entirely composed of hundreds of Composed of bootleg VHS and DVDs from video rental stores.

Hello Dankness What is the origin story?

since Since the unprecedented dumpster fire, it’s easy to forget the already weird WTF feeling back then 2000. But that’s where Hello Dankness really comes in, stemming from a reference to The skepticism of the surreality of American politics that was emerging at the time. Our bet is that this weirdness, this murkiness, is ultimately not about specific political actors, but about the cumulative effect of the internet on cultural reordering. ‘s broad mission was to find a way to document this sense of unreality, its raw feeling , and what it may obscure or reveal about current material realities and power structures.

'Hello Dankness' filmmakers Soda Jerk

'Hello Dankness' filmmakers Soda Jerk

‘Hello Dankness’ filmmaker Soda Jerk by Soda Jerk

Can you tell me a bit about your process? How did you get started and steadily progress through such a huge portfolio of numbers?

For Hello Dankness , we finally sampled 300 Movie and TV sources, and around 125 audio source. But the total number of resources we’re using is well over a thousand. So things can get unmanageable very quickly, and we rely heavily on spreadsheets to keep track of timecode and transcoding details. We also use huge wall charts in our studio to track the different possibilities and potentials of sequence structures and concepts.

But what really held us together on the project was starting with a clear idea of ​​the story we were telling, and always being driven by real events and documentary artefacts. In that sense, we consider ourselves rogue documentary filmmakers, even though our films also rely heavily on more speculative and genre-based formats. So when we started writing the Hello Dankness script early on 2016, we had drawn the Events like 2012 Election Night, Pizzagate, Russiagate, Trump Access Hollywood Tapes — Then the pandemic was at 2016 We scrambled to fold new events into the project as they emerged in real time, such as the pandemic Rise of Lockdown, Corona and QAnon Conspiracy etc.

For me, one of the greatest technical and creative accomplishments of the project was the fact that you created this feeling that That is, these different co-opted characters live in a strange, continuous world. What are some editing secrets or key techniques that lend a sense of continuity to such diverse material?

There are a lot of fairly invisible FX in the movie, such as changing the color of a polo shirt to create continuity for a character, or replacing The background of the shot to better match the surrounding shot. In our wider work, we typically deploy extensive motion profiling techniques, cutting characters out of their original shots and placing them in new shots. But for Hello Dankness , we really wanted to double down on the world-building potential of the clip itself, and challenge ourselves to push the classic strategy of the clip to its full potential able.

Trying to extract canonical continuities from different samples is really difficult, and the only effective strategy we found was to launch a brute force attack. We sampled as many films as we could and kept generating as many cut and script ideas as we could think of among the endless alternatives. Each sequence went through hundreds of different iterations with different characters or narrative frameworks. Filmmakers typically shoot their films and then edit the footage, and we’re constantly writing, sampling, editing, and rewriting along the way. There is a lot of wasted labor in this workflow, as you may be trying to implement a scene that you will never find suitable, or have a perfect sample that will not work in it.

But our goal is never to be fully continuous and immersive in the new stories we’re building. As sample-based artists, we’re also very interested in the seams where different sample worlds collide. For example, this affects our approach to color grading. While sometimes we score for continuity, most of the time we are interested in preserving the original color variance of the samples as a way of maintaining a relationship to the original context.

How much time do you estimate you spent on this movie in total? 'Hello Dankness' filmmakers Soda Jerk

There is something called a “gamer’s mark”, which is a rough red callus where a player is using a console The exact location where the wrist rubs against the tabletop will be formed under the wrist. mouse. Let’s just say we have that mark.

Before the pandemic, there was already running joke among our friends that we would go into “lockdown” while filming, disappearing from the face of the earth into our underground studio bunkers, until complete. When the term lockdown started for Covid-70, we’ve had a year-long blockade on the project, and the pandemic has only exacerbated that. It took us four years to make this film with ridiculous intensity, from the early 2016 to the late 2023.

What is the title Hello Dankness What does it mean to you?

WHAT IT MEANS We feel reality has begun to scorch, and fields such as politics have begun to take on A viral logic. What we love about the word “damp” is that it has so many meanings. It started out as a way to describe moisture, then was used as a term for really potent weeds, and finally migrated to describe particularly shabby or weird memes.

The title is also a riff on the Simon and Garfunkel song “Sounds of Silence”, which itself has become a meme. The reference to the 60s counterculture feels funny in the moment, because we are, in a sense, living the nightmare fate of that historical vector. Platform capitalism today is what happens when hippie utopian libertarianism implodes into Silicon Valley cyber corporatism ey.

AS Do you wonder, Australians, that American political discourse has so completely flooded the internet that your very surreal yet nuanced depiction of recent American political events in this film will appeal to audiences just about anywhere. Easily identifiable?

Dolly Parton nailed it

when she said American politics is on TV When the greatest show. It’s hard to take your eyes off of it. It is lurid and ludicrous, but it is also an incredibly important force that is shaping physical reality, both domestically and internationally.

Is there a character in this movie that Soda Jerk feels most relatable to?

Oddly enough, the character who best embodies the personal experiences of our time is Tom Hanks. As 2002 and 'Hello Dankness' filmmakers Soda Jerk the faithful Bernie Sander Bernie Sanders Supporter election cycle, we too have had to negotiate amidst the desperation and gloom of a fleeting moment when the radical left lost hope. But our affinities also change throughout the movie, so sometimes we might identify with the kid in RoboCop holding up the ACAB sign, or hiding under the floorboards at Biden’s campaign party saying “I want a President Dyke ’ The oddball mouse of the poem, or the zombies we might sympathize with Mark Zuckerberg, are also implicated in the complexities of Annette Bening’s character. Every character in the film is complicit and no one is spared.We also don’t intend to map our affinities onto those of other viewers, we welcome different human roots Feel the movie based on your own political orientation and past movie experience.

Can you tell us something about the material/financial/commercial conditions of film creation and distribution?

What a relief not to spend time chasing industry executives around hotel breakfast buffets at film festivals. We see our filmmaking as operating within a tradition of civil disobedience, and our work is not designed to safely obey the law, but to test the contours, pitfalls, and loopholes of those frameworks. We exist between the worlds of visual art and experimental film, and while institutions commission the work, they have no financial interest. So, there is no money to recover, no goal of getting distribution, just our own commitment to make the work seen by any means. There’s a long history of artist films working this way, but there’s no real formula, it’s just something we make up during production. There is no goal of making money, just to be able to bring enough fighting spirit to move on.



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