Expressive Choreography

Performed in one long-take and shot on 35mm film Samuel Laubscher’s Thought Loops is a collaboration between contemporary dancer, Erin S Murray, and modern-classical drone composer, Hot Air Henry. The film is an outpouring which arose from observance of a loved one suffering from the effects of physical depression.

ASFF: Why do you think that short film is such an important outlet for art and culture in the contemporary age?
SL: Shorts give one the channel to explore ideas that may be more experimental or personal than longer-form projects might allow. They are also easily consumed by viewers that might not have 90 or more minutes to spend watching a feature.

ASFF: Briefly discuss the concept behind the film that you submitted for ASFF 2017.
Thought Loops is about obsessively depressive thoughts that cannot be shaken and its causing of the severe physical depression of a family member. The motions would take forms of struggle through the anguish. I took this concept to contemporary dancer, Erin Murray, and her choreography interprets this weight. We decided to film it in a single continuous take to generate the perception of not being given a break from the burden.

ASFF: How important are visuals to your work?
To me, incredibly important. Not only because film is a majorly visual medium, but since I work primarily as cinematographer. I feel this love of the emotion within images is very deeply ingrained in what I do and an integral part of telling a compelling narrative.

ASFF: What would be your advice to emerging filmmakers at the very start of the career, or those considering working in short film?
SL: I think it would be that if you cannot find opportunities, create them yourself. Especially now more than ever with digital connectivity it is much easier to find other collaboratives who will appreciate your work. Definitely don’t wait around for an opportunity as it is rare they just materialise out of nowhere.

ASFF: Why did you submit to ASFF, and what did it mean to you to be selected?
To me, it meant the world. I felt as if I finally had a project that I was proud of and felt was polished enough to submit. I had been following the ASFF since it’s inception, and Aesthetica Magazine just as long, so to be chosen as an official selection was so very emotional for me.

ASFF: In an age of competition, globalisation and acceleration, what is it about film festivals that is so important in terms of bringing people together or looking at film as a collective experience?
It’s hard not to feel down on oneself when being consistently bombarded but the amount of incredible work floating on social media. Film festivals allow you to meet other film creators in person to connect on an offline level. Everyone has such a unique story to tell and to be able to interact with someone who’s film you just viewed brings a personality to the experience you don’t often get.

ASFF: Which did you enjoy the most at ASFF 2017?
Meeting knew friends in the industry while having cups of tea at the networking events put together by the festival. Not sure I can think of many other networking specific events in my life that have been as relaxed and low-key as the ones at Aesthetica. I’ve made some life-long friends at ASFF that I am so happy to now have.

ASFF: How did attending inspire you for future projects?
Seeing such high quality programming day after day makes one want to continue refining their craft as an artist and film maker. Seeing so many original thoughts really sparks a longing to find ones own most inceptive ideas and create pictures that are true to oneself.

ASFF: How has screening your film affected your wider success?
People really respect the Aesthetica name, so screening at the festival has given me an accreditation that even back home has has a positive response.


ASFF 2018 is open for entries until 31 May. We are looking for filmmakers who are driving the genre of short film forward through inspirational and innovative works. Whether you are an established or emerging practitioner, we want to hear from you. Find out more:

1. Thought Loops. Courtesy of Samuel Laubscher and Vimeo.