Volker Schlecht on „The Waiting“/ interview

Born in Radeberg, Germany in 1968, he works as an illustrator, draftsman and filmmaker in Berlin. He studied communication design at the Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design in Halle and taught animation for a number of years at the Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf and at the University of Europe in Berlin. He is currently professor of design and draftmanship at Anhalt University in Dessau. As an illustrator, he has been operating under the joint label Drushba Pankow together with Alexandra Kardinar.

What was your starting point for “The Waiting”?

For me everything started, when Max Mönch, one of the two authors, gave me a USB drive with a two hour interview they’d made with the scientist Karen Lips, a couple of days before. Her voice, her commitment and her careful and emotional way of talking about her research made a deep impression on me. I couldn’t stop to listen and so I’ve listened the whole interview on and on for several weeks and I’ve tried to find an idea how to deal with this. Of course, for Max and Alexander this story had started much earlier. They have been working on the extinction of species for years, and have made several films about it. However, no one they had met and interviewed on the subject seemed to be as affected by it as Karen.

Do you have a favourite moment in the film? Which one and why this one?

For me it’s difficult to define this one moment. This short film is like a baby I was pregnant with for more than two years. So it feels like answering, what is more beautiful: the nose, the eyes, the little fingers? But there are two moments, which are especially emotional for me: the first one is the ending, when Karen’s voice is full of sadness and despair, but also with a careful, soft kind of hope. For Max, Alexander and me it was clear, this is the most emotionally moving part of the whole interview. I always want to cry there. In my other favourite moment, Karen talks about the discovery of the „killer“. This is like the turning point, and it starts a new flow of animated transformations, beginning with raindrops and ending with a frog, drawn like a target someone is shooting at with bullets.

What do you like about the short form?

For me personally the short form is the possibility to remain an independent artist also in moving pictures – and to transform my drawings into movement. In any longer format, I couldn’t survive without a team of many others, who are doing the job I love the most. I don’t like to delegate, I don’t like to command. I love to draw all the time everything by myself. You also have the freedom to fail without being broke afterwards. The short form is or should be always the platform for experiments, for exploration, for artistic independence and authenticity – and so for developing the art of filmmaking without the concerns of big budgets and without thinking about a target audience.

Inaddition, when you are sitting in a shorts program and you don’t like the film you watch, you can be sure there will be another one after a couple of minutes.

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