Charles-André Coderre Charles-André Coderre has great sensibility. His versatile style travels through different expressions and w...

Charles-André Coderre: a versatile filmmaker that finds in analog and digital possibilites for creation

Charles-André Coderre

Charles-André Coderre has great sensibility. His versatile style travels through different expressions and ways to make art. The author lives and works in Montreal - Canada, the country sung by Joan Mitchell. Dedicated to the techniques of analogic cinema, he is member of the collective Montreal Double Négatif. Coderre, besides working on live 16mm projections for several music concerts, also directs experimental short-films, including H2T(2013) and Granular Film-Beirut (2017). He has paved his way in the audiovisual production with Jerusalem in My Heart alongside Radwan Ghazi Moumneh, musician that was accompanied by other musicians such as Jessica Moss, Roger Tellier-Craig, Charles Barabé, Hazy Montagne Mystique, Philippe Battikha and Dominic Marion. In 2016, he presents his first long-feature film Déserts, co-directed with Yann-Manuel Hernandez. Since 2017, with Michaël Bardier (reservation agency of Heavy Trip), he organizes the parties OK LÀ! in Verdun (Quebec).

Charles-André Coderre

"For JIMH performance, I use 4 modified 16mm film projectors and a 35mm slide projector. I also use color gels. I modify the speed of the image in real time and manipulate more that 75 film loops in real time that I shot."


Charles-André Coderre

- Charles, I contacted you because I thought you were the artist present in Jerusalem in my Heart's (JIMH) concert in Serralves (Portugal), in the context Color Sound Frames, that projected images from the Arab Image Foundation in real time and through analogic projectors. In truth, it wasn't you but Erin Weisberger, the protagonist that handled the images so well during the concert. I know you have been resting after a tour you made with Erin through North America. How was the tour like? 
- It was the first and only tour we did together. I am involved in Jerusalem In My Heart since 2014 and I am taking a pause right now to focus on other projects (shorts & feature films, my family, film exhibition, etc.). Erin will be working with Jerusalem In My Heart for 2020 so we decided that it would be cool to do a tour together in late 2019. We did 6 dates in the US. It was a lot of fun.

- I think all the people that had the chance to go to JIMH's concert were more transfixed by Erin's performance than Radwan, not taking any credit to JIMH, because in fact people were there to see him. But in reality, it's quite difficult to have so much energy during Radwan's performance to accompany it with such mastery, energy and rhythm in real time with analogic projectors an imense musical universe such as JIMH. Can you talk a bit about the technique you use for such projections? 
- For JIMH performance, I use 4 modified 16mm film projectors and a 35mm slide projector. I also use color gels. I modify the speed of the image in real time and manipulate more that 75 film loops in real time that I shot.

Charles-André Coderre

- How was the process and relationship with Arab Image Foundations in order to request the images and what is the concept behind your collaboration with Radwan? 
- Radwan is a huge fan of Hashem El Madani photographer and I fall in love with his pictures when I discovered it. The Arab Image Foundation has the rights of those photos. We sent some of my films to the Arab image Foundation in order to explain them my experimental film practice. Hopefully, they like it! Then, they gave us the rights to use few portraits made by Hashem El Madani for the album artwork and the live show. So, I reshot the pictures in 16mm and I did various chemicals process on it. The rest of the images you saw at the show show do not came from the Arab Image Foundation. It’s my films. I shot most of the footage during travels in Beirut & Tripoli. I hand-process my films and I do chemical process on it. For the Serralves live show, there were also some rolls filmed by Erin. 

"I think we are in a beautiful era where we have the choice to shoot in digital or in film, so it’s great. We have more artistic choices than ever."


- I feel that there is not a need to separate the audio from the visual, it's like the whole show is like a dive in the past to recuperate and remember libanese history that is as beautiful as it is harsh, however, that remembrance is not literal or a linear narrative. The way you treated the images and all that visual sensitivity we witness during the concert is in itself a work of art, but do you think that for those who are unaware of arab culture or for those who have prejudices about it can reach, in another way, the need to search or know more about that culture?
- I think the show opens a lot of doors and each spectator decide which one they want to open. Some people see the show like a political statement others like an experimental visual experience, etc. I think this project touch different sensibilities. I can’t really talk for those who have some prejudices of any sort about Arab culture. 

- In a time where we succumb to digital culture, where do you feel yourself in it? Do you work solely with analogical processes or do you also work digital to reach a certain end result? 
- I prefer analogical process because I love to spend times in a darkroom and I like using chemical stuff on my film. I can’t do that in digital. However, I use digital technology in support of my film practice. For example, I can film in 16mm and after that, scanning it. Then, I can do some editing on my computer and finally, transfer my editing on 16mm film again. We also used a digital camera for my first feature film “Deserts” (2016, co-directed with Yann-Manuel Hernandez). The film was shot 30% in digital and 70% in 16mm. It was even part of the story in a certain way. 


Charles-André Coderre

- For those who study cinema and other related artistic activities there is the need to include in the origins of cinema what is analogic, the film, the process, the printing. That process is slower, more expensive and implies other qualifications. Do you think that for those who study cinema it is primordial to study the origins of cinema in what regards its way of making it, so there can be a free-will based choice between analogic or digital or a mix of the two?
- I think we are in a beautiful era where we have the choice to shoot in digital or in film, so it’s great. We have more artistic choices than ever. I think it’s very interesting to study the analogical process because it helps to really understand the nature of the film image but I think someone can do a great film without knowing anything about celluloid. I am not a purist at all. I love to work on 16mm film but I don’t see it like a dogma or something elitist. For me, it’s just a different feeling, a different way of working with the image. 

"I think that I see myself as a filmmaker. I like the idea that I make films. I sometime do films with actors and a story and I sometime do it in a more abstract way. In the end, the result is the same, they are films. The context of production and diffusion change but the idea behind stay the same I think."


- At this moment, you are working on your movie. Can you talk a bit about that? What is it about and what are your prospects?
- I just finished by first solo exhibition here in Montréal (I will send you some pictures + links). It’s 6 X 16mm film projectors, three light-tables and two super duper 16mm loopers. It’s called “Territoires Granulaires” which can be translate by “ Granular Territories”. I am also working on an experimental short film. I don’t have a title yet. It’s in color and it’s made from films that I distorted with chemicals then buried in the ground. I am now finishing the film on the optical printer by adding various color gels. 

- How do you see yourself as an artist nowadays? As a director or as someone who wants to works images and what are related to them in this project in which you are working? And what are the technical and conceptual differences in those two perspectives? 
- I think that I see myself as a filmmaker. I like the idea that I make films. I sometime do films with actors and a story and I sometime do it in a more abstract way. In the end, the result is the same, they are films. The context of production and diffusion change but the idea behind stay the same I think. 


Charles-André Coderre

- What's your connection to music, do you see yourself as a music afficionado that depends on music in order to create?
- It’s really depends of the project. For Jerusalem In My Heart for instance, I really create with the music in mind. But for example, the short film that I am finishing right now will be silent. I try to find a rhythm specific to the images. But for sure, I am really influenced by the music and the musicians and I met. It’s a big part of my life.

Entrevista | Interview, Texto | Text: Priscilla Fontoura
Entrevistado | Interviewee: Charles-André Coderre
Imagens | Images: Charles-André Coderre
Tradução | Translation: Cláudia Zafre

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