Philip Scheffner

I film you, while you film me (English)
Berlin, January 2016

The news that Colorado Velcu wants to come to Germany with his family reaches me during a screening of my film ‚Revision’ in Greifswald. The man who had just said, on the movie screen, ‘Let’s end the interview here; it’s better if everyone speaks for himself. You as a director know how that is done...’ will now live in Germany. In Essen. We arrange a visit, and I ask whether I can bring my camera – not with the concrete idea of making a film, but because it is the most obvious form of communication for us. That’s how we met three years ago: while making a film. Colorado in front of the camera, me behind it. The camera defines and legitimises our relationship. It creates a space in which we encounter one another and that can be plumbed from both perspectives again and again. Filming creates a unit of time and structures the encounter.
That’s exactly where we take up the thread again: the before and after are filled with watching Bollywood films together and with eating and talking. Only now and by chance do we discover that we can communicate even without translation: both of us speak a few words of Spanish, and from visit to visit we hallucinate deeper into an imaginary language that hardly anyone else understands (least of all those who really speak Spanish), but that enables a direct conversation. On one of my next visits in Essen, I bring a little video camera as a gift for Colorado’s oldest daughter. From now on, the situation changes: ‘I film you while you film me’ becomes a favourite motif. The family moves to Berlin; now we live in the same city. In the course of a month, one camera turns into four. Colorado shoots the first scenes of his own; finally we sign a contract about a joint film. The film we are to make,
whose orientation initially seems nebulous to both Colorado and me, increasingly becomes a filter through which we perceive our selves and our reality differently and can interpret it anew. In the context of the documentary film, our conversation about friends and relatives becomes a casting session for a feature film to be made in the future – even though we are already in the midst of it. Something develops that we relate to together and in which we can meet one another as equals: a space in which, now that the film is finished, we no longer even need a camera.