STUDENT VOICES | Q&A with Pieter Claessens on Short Film, “Pass Age”

Pieter Claessens received the 3rd Place Award in the College Category for his short film, “Pass Age” in the Summer Shorts Film and Video Contest (2017), hosted by StudentFilmmakers.com. Interview published in StudentFilmmakers Magazine.

STUDENTFILMMAKERS: What inspired the “story” for “Pass Age”?

Pieter Claessens: I wrote the music for “Pass Age” myself. When I was playing the song on the piano, I had these images in my head of a boy running through a forest. The song somehow expressed how I felt at that time, and the images just followed. I think that a lot of older people around me always said that life can go very fast and you better think about how you want to live it. This gave me a certain feeling, which resulted in the song and eventually in the film.

STUDENTFILMMAKERS: What tools did you use from development to post?

Pieter Claessens: I used a Panasonic GH4 with the 14-140 mm f/3.5-5.6 and Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 lens. For stabilizing the camera, I used a Flycam DSLR nano and a monopod for some shots. The edit was done in Final Cut Pro X, and for the grade I based myself on a color scheme made from some reference pictures.

STUDENTFILMMAKERS: What were the some of the most important parts for you in regards to Development, Pre-Production, and Production?

Pieter Claessens: Development. That the story would just visualize the song, without the need of words.

Pre-Production. The type of forest was very important to me. I wanted a conifer forest, because it has a special atmosphere and color. Also, the actors should look like they are the same person at a different age. So, I asked a good friend of mine if he, his younger brother and his father wanted to play it. And they did, of which I am very grateful. Only the oldest man at the end is no relative to the other actors, but I just liked the look on his face.

Production. To visualize that time seems to go faster when you’re older, the actor always ran faster at the different ages. To emphasize this, I used slow-motion for the youngest actor and gradually went to regular speed when he became older. The editing pace also helped to create this effect.

STUDENTFILMMAKERS: Can you share with us a “Challenge and Solution” in regards to the making of your short film?

Pieter Claessens: The forest we shot in was actually not a real forest. It was just some trees in the back of a garden, not even half the size of a football field. So, we had to run in every possible direction through the little forest, just to make it look like it was somewhere else in this “big forest”.

STUDENTFILMMAKERS: What are your thoughts about being selected and winning one of the top placements in the contest?

Pieter Claessens: I’m very thankful for the selection! I’d never thought my film would reach people outside my own little town, let alone outside of Belgium. So thank you very much!

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