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Be Here

About this film

What happens to us when we are dying? What happens to all our memories, collected over a lifetime? Painful memories, wonderful memories; memories not just of our life, but of our lives with others. Our family is there, our friends, too. The faces of our colleagues and acquaintances are logged in our memory. And then there are strangers, whose out-of-the-ordinary behaviour or look simply stayed with us. But when we die, do all of those memories die with us? In a stunning, breathtaking fashion, director Derick Crucius imagines what happens in the minutes after death. Guided by a subconscious mind, he takes us on a journey through a possible world, one that is deeply experiential and moving.

Note: Please watch with headphone and in complete darkness.

Nadin Mai (tao films)

Interview with the Director
Derick, you know that I felt overwhelmed by your film. I’m not even sure which questions to ask, or here to start. Perhaps you can help my a little by telling me about the origins of the film.

Of course. Be Here was developed from something that’s deeper than even I could understand….an emotional place that has been tucked away within my subconscious mind since my father’s passing in 2009. Although we weren't that close, I never had the closure that’s required when dealing with death and mourning. Since then, many of my close relatives have passed on and i’ve never been able to fully process it or acknowledge that I too will someday face mortality. It wasn't until my wife and I found out about her pregnancy that I began thinking deeper about these things. What if death mimics birth? When in utero we hear and we see, but we aren't able to comprehend or make sense of it all. We are sensitive to light and sound and are present in time, but we don’t remember the first moments of our developing senses. What if death was the same, but instead we are faced with an overwhelming amount of memories clustered together? What if our last moment through our minds eye was preserved on a hard drive? Through this exploration was I able to develop this film, an abstraction of dying.

Is Be Here a free form exploration of life after death, or have you based your film on readings you have done?

To be completely honest, I did not read much into the subject. I just felt my way through the dark and tried to piece together something, that would not only make me content with the inevitable, but hopefully it helps others as well. So to answer your question, yes it was more of a free form exploration of life after death. I wanted it to be something that could be viewed with your eyes closed or with the sound muted, but it would still have the same impact. A auditory or visual mediation and a practice of death would be the best way I could describe it.

There is little doubt, I think, that Be Here is an experiential film. And it’s also a film that lures you in. It’s not easy, I believe, to turn it off and walk away from it. On the contrary, the longer the film runs, the deeper you dive into it.

Thank you for the kind words. I wanted Be Here to be an experience that's meant to be seen from beginning to end, without interruptions. It’s a film that taps into each individual that views it and speaks to them directly. I specifically made it gender neutral throughout the voice over, because I wanted people to really think about their fondest or most painful memories and learn to accept them for what they are. I wanted to induce hypnosis in a way, but still make it so the viewer is aware and present.

Be Here - the title places emphasis on space. The word ‘here’ indicates space, more so than time. And yet, I wonder whether your film is not just about the here but also about the now, more specifically perhaps about the eternal now. Would you agree?

Oh yes, absolutely. We live in a world that’s ruled by a non stop flow of information, where we carry computers in our pockets (cell phones). I think we are all guilty of not being present within our own surroundings, the “here” of our day to day that's ever changing. The eternal now is something that I think a lot of us struggle to come to terms with. What is it? Where can we find it? Or, How do we get there? The thing is, we are existing within the eternal now and will continue to long after death. You, me, and everyone else….we are just matter, but our spirits….our energy within is constant. It travels down the line long after we are gone, it’s absorbed by the sun or is enriching the soil. The eternal here, to me, is a self replenishing well of water that's never empty nor is it ever full.

You have created a perfect symbiosis of image and sound, something that is not easy to do if you want to achieve a film of immersive nature. How did you approach the aesthetics of your film?

Death and dying, to me, is directly correlated with memory and history. History cannot be created without the fallen and deceased, the world simply would not exist. So I wanted to explore this further. I began this film last summer with a growing curiosity of cloud patterns and the idea of clouds always changing and not one is the same. Not only that, but clouds are short lived and eventually evaporate. I wanted to compare this to human existence, but also wanted to explore this further. Some of my fondest memories were of looking at the sky when I was a child. What if I could create a space that consists of a series of superimposed cloud patterns, that eventually would become a Rorschach test for the dying brain? Then, taking it further, memory does not only consist of sight, but sound as well. I wanted to sample sounds that we all may hear or have heard in our daily lives and layer them until it eventually becomes an overwhelming stimulation to the mind. If we were to capture what the brain hears during its final moments, would it not be a compilation of our human experience or images that mimic infantry? Finally, I wanted there to be a guide into the afterlife….a voice of the subconscious mind that is understood and felt, but is not entirely subjective.

I’m already looking forward to seeing more of your work, if I’m honest. So, what is next? Are you working on a new project at the moment?

Thank you. Yes, as a matter of fact I am working on a few projects at the moment. I am always trying to create, it’s very therapeutic for me. My only issue is that i’m a bit slow with my pace and output. I like to collect material and let it guide me to see where I can take it or how far I could push it. I am currently working on two films that are meant to complement one another. They are visual poems that explore the concept of memory a bit further, while also focusing on my roots of growing up in a working class family and the crevices of little America. I’m also exploring some ideas for a film that i’d like to shoot on some 35mm that I was kindly gifted by one of my close friends and professors from school, but it’s still at the very beginning stages. We’ll see how it pans out, but the most important thing is to let the works be my sky as I shift into autopilot.

Thank you for this interview.