DIRECTOR TJEPKE ZIJLSTRA Q&A ABOUT MC1R
In The Palace International Film Festival
Tell us about your film. What inspired you, or led you, to create this short film?
“I have two copies of a recessive gene, which causes a mutation in the MC1R protein. This gives me the least common natural hair colour, red. I have noticed that my red hair is fading with age, starting a bright copper turned now to a rosy-blonde colour.
But what if redheads aren’t red anymore? Do they lose a part of their identity? Are they still seen as pure and unique? And how to define the colour red anyway?
I researched redheads in a historical and social context. They turned out to be unique and really stand out in a crowd. And their hair covered the spectrum of red – from deep burgundy through burnt orange to bright copper with a fair skin, light eyes and freckles.
I wanted to document the authenticity of these redheads and explore the identity and beauty of various characters. The only thing the characters seemed to have in common was red hair, but it turned out to be a lot more, with their own personal issues and dreams.
The film connects a variety of the characters although they aren’t naturally linked to each other. It gives no direct answer to questions like: ‘What about the boy and the woman?’ or ‘Which scene is a dream and which is reality?’ The viewer creates his own story and plot.”
“The movie Luim MC1R had a completely different design process to regular filmmaking. After the first ideas and mood boards were created, we started shooting some redhead characters. And we had already created an audio guide for the sound design.
In the edit room we came to the conclusion that we lacked certain characters, specific underlying narratives and relationships. We organized more shootings and editing sessions until we had enough material to complete the film. In the beginning the process was very thorough. What is the best structure for this film? How to introduce the characters and how to end? But during the last shootings we exactly knew what the film needed.”
What is the message that you wish to express with your film?
“The film does not have a distinct logline. It’s a different way of seeing. Not within a common narrative but more a filmic collage in which the viewer creates his own narrative, relationships and moods.”