シーブルック農場のパラドクス

The Paradox of Seabrook Farms

Shattered dreams. Restored hopes.

 

ヘルガ・メリツ

「シーブルック農場のパラドクス」はヘルガ・メリツの新しいプロジェクトです。映画は、シーブルックの家族と農場労働者たちの謎の多い歴史に光を当てるものです。これらの人びとは、さまざまな国からやって来た、文化的に異なるバックグランドを持つ人たちでしたが、この農場以外に行くところがないという点では同じでした。

シーブルック農場を建設した家族の歴史は、まるで裏切り―そして可能性の創造と破壊にも―に満ちたギリシア悲劇さながらです。大きな舞台の背景には、一人一人の悲痛な物語があります。ここでは出自の異なる難民と移民の共同体が共に生き働いていました。

 1950年代、シーブルック農場は、世界最大の冷凍食品製造工場でした。農場と工場の両方の労働者が必要とされていました。労働者の中で最大のグループを形成していたのは、2000人を超える日系アメリカ人でした。彼/彼女らは、第二次世界大戦初期に収容され、その後、新たに生活をする場を探していました。第二大戦後、ヨーロッパ各国から難民がやってきました。その中に、約900人のエストニア人と約200人のラトヴィア人がいました。

エストニア人もラトヴィア人もみな家を失い、再出発をしなければならない人たちでした。シーブルック農場での仕事は、交代制で週7日休みなく働かなければなりません。人びとは体力的にも精神的にも消耗しました。そうした困難の中でも、彼/彼女らは文化的伝統を守り続ける道を探り、子どもたちのために新たな可能性を作り出したのでした。

しかしながら同時に、妬みや不信が、シーブルックの家族を引き裂きました。農場主のシーブルック氏は、息子たちのために将来を創り上げるのではなく、逆にそれを奪ってしまいました。

Geislingen Snippet 1
Geislingen Snippet 2

ここには現在の政治状況、とりわけ、膨大な数の難民が、家族のために生きる場所を探し、新たな生活を築くために立ち向かわなければならない困難な状況との強烈な類似性が見られます。

マスメディアでの報道について:

 

映画を支援します。

 

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エストニアのアメリカ国民議会経由。 受取人として「Helga Merits」に言及してください。

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The Film Makers

 
 

Helga Merits

Director

Helga Merits

Shattered dreams, restored hopes. シーブルック農場のパラドクス will be my sixth documentary film. All my films are related to people who are uprooted due to the war and need to build a new life in unfamiliar places. How do you keep on going? How do you build a new life? Do you keep connected to the past or is it better just to focus on the future? These are questions which interest me.

My first film was about my Estonian father, who also had to leave his country. My debut film was a trial to see if I could bring to life my father’s unknown past by the few texts and letters I had inherited. For this film, Kallis Paul (Dear Paul) (2007) I received the Theodor Luts prize.

I felt that I was not done, and needed to explore my dad further and made a film about the high school class of my father, Class of 1943- remember us when we are gone (2012), is about the fate of boys who were all constricted to German army of 1943.

While doing research in Poland for Class of 1943- remember us when we are gone, I discovered Sam Freiman, a Polish Jew, living in Great Britain, a man who was born and raised in a small village near Warsaw. From my relationship with Sam a documentary about his youth: Sam Freiman – memories of a lost world (2010) was born.

In 2015 I finished a film about a remarkable institute: the Baltic University. This was a university created by refugees of the three Baltic Countries: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in Hamburg in 1946. Although they didn’t have a penny to their name and Hamburg was in ruins, even though they were homeless, they still had the courage to think about a way to organise education for students of the Baltic Countries. The film is titled: The Story of the Baltic University. I received the medal of the Baltic Assembly for this film.

In 2018 I finished Coming Home Soon – the refugee children of Geislingen. This film is about Estonian refugees who lived all together in camp Geislingen during 1945-1950. It is a film about the history of Estonia, but also about refugees in post-war Germany. It is a film about people who needed to go on and live with the consequences of their choices, the war, forced upon them. The film has a strong link with the current situation in Europe.

My background is a study of philosophy (University of Amsterdam). I worked for years as a journalist for national radio both in Belgium and Holland and wrote for newspapers in both countries. But what I missed was a way to visualise the stories, to bring these to life, to work with another dimension. This is the reason I started to work on my first documentary; working with image, sound, and text allows me to create powerful stories while still continuously learning how these mediums influence one another.

 

Leo van Emden

Editor

Leo van Emden

I have been a (ballet) dancer, performer, production and performance manager for more than 20 years before I became a filmmaker. Since 2012 I have worked as an independent filmmaker (direction, edit, camera. & education). My company is called Roemfilm.

The edit for the documentary The Story of The Baltic University was my first cooperation with Helga Merits, an adventure where I first came into contact with stories of refugees from the Baltic countries and their experiences during and after the Second World War. This beautiful project was followed by a second project Coming Home Soon.

In both projects I saw a lot of common ground with my own background, it was also disconcerting to discover that there is a lot of common ground with refugees today. The stories are still very up-to-date: black-and-white images made way for colour and people are fleeing from a different direction, but every story has so many similarities: the impact on the lives of the people is enormous and history seems to be constantly recurring. All stories are far from being told and these truths need to be told.

Working with Helga is good, we have a harmonious and cooperative relationship and it has led to personal substantive enrichment. It has given me new insights into how you look, and think about history.

The research and work Helga is doing to make all the ends meet is enormous. Both, for the existing documentaries and the new film we currently working: シーブルック農場のパラドクス. To bring together, and bundle, all material is a beautiful adventure. You slowly see a sketch become a fully-fledged painting that, as it were, slowly comes to you from afar.

For me working with elderly generation allows me to empathize with a completely different dynamic and search for a rhythm and timing that fits. No matter how often you look at a part of the interview, you always see more and more layers, there is so much behind those eyes and there is so much said without words...

The new film is an even more challenging adventure for me as it goes a step further than the two projects before. For this project I look forward to edit and also film on location with Helga. I am curious to hear the stories of the people and the story of Seabrook Farms.

 

Peter van Os

Composer

Peter van Os

As composer and improvisor, I’m interested in adding music to theatre, (dance-) performances, texts and films.

Very much interested in the history and music of the 20th century, I combine contemporary composing techniques with folklore influences.

It started in 2000, when I made my first score for the documentary film on the life of Tsechian poet: Bohumil Hrabel for Dutch television. This is where I first used folklore instruments (cymbalon, accordion, violin), folklore musical elements, and transformed them into an abstract soundscape.

For large orchestra (strings, wind and piano-solo) I combined “twelve-tone technique” with classical harmony in: Novecento, a theatre performance after A. Barrico’s novel.

I graduated from the Hilversum/Amsterdam conservatory on the accordion. Besides I studied arranging and music-theory. I master a wide range of musical idioms and skills, and the scope of my musical preferences ranges from contemporary classical to Balkan and theatre – music. I’ve performed contemporary orchestral music with several Dutch symphony orchestras. (works from Hans Werner Henze, Zappa, Janacek, Shostakovitch) and I made recordings of original works for accordion and bass-clarinet from Dutch composers Jacob ter Veldhuis and Daan Manneke.

For Merits Productions I already made two scores, The story of the Baltic University and Coming Home Soon.

In both films I transformed Estonian and German folklore melody’s to a “wider tonality”. I was challenged to find sounds, melody’s, musical colours and silence that would support text and images of the film.

And now I’m looking forward to compose for Helga Merits next film! Situated in the “new world”, where refugees are trying to find a new way of life, in new surroundings.

New musical surroundings for me as composer: being aware of, and so avoiding “cliché’s”, I will try to find my inspiration in specific sounds of America, in combination with the music from the cultural background of the refugees. Together with spoken word and silence, I hope the music will support or counter the images where necessary, or will just be a moment of reflection. A challenging exploration again!

 

Madeline Becker

Camera

Madeline Becker

Film is an intersection where image, movement, sound, and the depth of our human experience meet. It's a medium unlike any other that demands the maker to be fully present in the moment. Before I started working with film and video, I trained as a painter with a foundation in drawing and painting from life. My studio practice has recently evolved to working with needle, thread, light, found objects, and trash to create masquerade masks and free-hanging sculptures that imitate fences and walls. My art practice informs my work as a cinematographer.

シーブルック農場のパラドクス will be the third feature documentary I have worked on. I first learned about documentary from working as an assistant editor on Amy Scott's film Oyler: One School One Year from 2013-2015. Watching, organizing, and prepping the footage taught me not only about the post-production process, but also what shots are needed to make the editor's job easier. In 2016, I started filming my own documentary, Middleman. In 2017, I started Mad Queen Productions, a video production company, which partners with other companies with a goal of growing a strong and sustainable film community in Baltimore City.

I learned the ropes of the film industry by working as a production assistant in New York City and Baltimore. Productions ranged from features, such Benh Zeitlin’s upcoming film Wendy (2019), to Matthew Porterfield’s Sollers Point (2017), to commercials, PSAs, and music videos for artists such as Arcade Fire, Maggie Rogers, and Beach House. After years of working in production, in 2019 I joined the International Alliance of Theatre and Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 487. I work in the electric department on large sets for network television.

シーブルック農場のパラドクス film is the first time I have worked with Helga. Seabrook, New Jersey is a hidden gem. Our first week filming there was a surreal and deep experience. The stories of the Estonian refugees, immigrants from around the world, and the detained Japanese Americans are humbling and inspiring. The level of research and the depth of the relationships Helga has built to tell the story of Seabrook is astounding. Many of our interviews were with different generations of refugees, immigrants, and Japanese interns. It is important to capture these stories before our oldest generation passes. Helga is capturing time and history by piecing together the insight of ages. I am excited to continue working with Helga and follow where the winding path leads.

 

Shawn Chia

Camera Assistant

Shawn Chia

Shawn Chia is currently in his final at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), working towards a BFA degree with a major in Film and Video. His works mostly exist on the narrative plane, more so short films at the present moment — small windows into larger stories that he would like to delve in deeper someday after college. Shawn’s favourite spot on set is behind the camera. Shawn tinkers around with production gear during his down time at the JHUMICA Film Centre Equipment Cage, because he is a huge nerd with lights and cameras. He believes that in an alternate reality somewhere, there exists a Shawn that went to culinary school instead.

 

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