Introduction

With the strength of a rushing river, a savage delirium swamped Werner Herzog’s mind one day. The stream dragged the obscenity of the wild nature into his imaginary with its sounds, its rhythms, its scents; nourishing his dreams and driving him to trespass the limits of reason and creation.

A fluctuating stream between fascination and danger washed with tension the landscapes he made for his stories and for his characters, which he would make wander with endeavour through his mythical, impossible worlds.

In 1972, Aguirre the Warth of God marked the beginning of his cinematic shuffle between the Peruvian jungle and mountains. A shuffle that would last for decades and that would leave its trace in more than four of his most important films.

After the first conquering adventure of Lope de Aguirre, Fitzcarraldo’s obsession followed. And then, the obsession of Herzog himself who explored in Burden of Dreams the heavy weight his dreams meant. He would approach, as well, his conflicting relationship with the actor Klaus Kinski in My intimate Enemy, and his evasion to death in Wings of Hope. The spiral of the jungle and time would later be closed with Brad Macallam’s initiatory trip, the central character of My son, my son, what have ye done, that would become itself the representation of the beginning and the end of a madness created by the untameable nature.

In his cinema and his savage prose, Werner Herzog reveals himself as a passionate pursuer of his vane dreams, a trait he shares with some of his most powerful characters.

In May 2018 Werner Herzog will go back to the savage Peruvian landscapes, this time, to guide the creation of 48 young filmmakers who will come to live together, for the first time, the unique experience of making cinema imbedded of jungle and adventure.

Description of the Workshop

The sultry heat is building gradually. In the slight breeze I see a plant with thin, sharp, lancelike leaves whose inner tension holds them upright in all directions. Only one leaf, its sharp edge slicing the rising wind, vibrates and quivers, while the others remain motionless in their taut strength. Nature here surrenders only after victorious battle”.

For 10 days, 48 young filmmakers will be submerged in the density and mysterious of the Peruvian Amazonas guided by one of the most polemic and adventurous filmmakers of all times, and the one who knows the jungle best.

Each participant will develop a short piece under the guidance and supervision of Werner Herzog. The process of creation will go from the conception of the idea, to the script, the casting, the location scouting, directing, designing image and sound, and editing. The local inhabitants will be the characters of the stories to be shot in the Amazonian basin, some of them fundamental for Herzogian imagery.

The workshop will be developed in the surroundings of the Tambopata National Reserve, one of the last virgin tropical rainforests in the world. Puerto Maldonado, the most important city of the tropical Jungle in South Peru, is the nearest city to the workshop base.

The accommodation, food supplies and editing station where the participants will be housed, is located at the left bank of the Madre de Dios River, in the 17Km, fifty minutes away from Puerto Maldonado by canoe.

The workshop is eminently practical, so it is essential that participants are autonomous and have knowledge of directing, filming and editing, as well as have access to their own filming and editing equipment (a camera and a computer equipped with an editing program).

The people’s gestures are unfamiliar, gentle and lovely; they move their hands like orchestral conductors in time with a soft, shy melody that emanates cautiously from the depths of the forest, like wild creatures that emerge from the sheltering leaves now and then to go down to the rivers”.

The fieldwork will be enriched with daily Master Classes and dialogues concerning the principal challenges that the filmmaker has to face in the moment of creation. Werner Herzog will look deeply into his methods of working, style and technique with the 48 filmmakers of the workshop.

Herzog will announce to the participants the central topic of the workshop in the first session; this topic will be the basis for the participants to create their 48 short films.

For participants to take full advantage of the ten days, the Production Company will deliver pre-production work in the field. Participants will be provided with databases containing possible actors, locations, film permission and all the basic information to gain time in the production of each film, and take and easy plunge into creation and inspiration.

Due to the geographical characteristics of the zone, mobility is made exclusively in motorboat through the Madre de Dios River or the Amaru River; and has to be made by foot to delve into the tropical jungle. The mobility in the motorboat will be guaranteed and programed by the Production Company.

To protect the well being of the participants and the conservation of the wide array of fauna and flora, shooting teams of 4 participants, freely chosen, will be constituted. Each team will be accompanied by a local guide, with full experience and knowledge of the biodiversity of the place.

The river, always with its filthy beauty”

How to apply?

The experience will have a total value of 5000 Euros. The selection of the 48 participants will be made through an international call.

The workshop is a self-financed initiative; therefore there is not yet a scholarship system or institutional subventions.

To participate in the open call you have to: Register Here

Fechas

Release of call for entries: 7th December 2017 Closing of call for entries: 7th February 2018

The list of selected participants will be published on February 26, 2018.

Once you are selected…

You should reserve your place in the workshop by paying the tuition fee. The payment deadline is March 12, 2018.

The price of the practical workshop includes:

  1. Accomodation at Inkaterra Field Station: 12 nights, April 30th to 12th May.
  2. Food Supplies: Three daily meals during 11 days. Morning and afternoon coffee station. Availability of drinking water 24h.
  3. Transportation: Puerto Maldonado Airport – Workshop station / 30th April Workshop station – Puerto Maldonado Airport/12th may
  4. Mobility: 8 daily routes in motorboat for location visits and shooting.
  5. Guides: 12 local Guides – translators.
  6. Pre-production: General pre-production folder made in the zone. Actor Database: it will include a varied casting of characters with their availability and contact info. Location Database: lists of locations, with pictures, descriptions and shooting permissions.
  7. Distribution of the best short films in International Film Festival and other exhibition channels.
**If the selected student has not paid their tuition fee by the deadline, their place will automatically pass to the next student on the waiting list. *Once the fee has been paid there will be NO refunds

Selection & Distribution

The selections from the previous workshops have been exhibited in important festivals around the world with the purpose of launching the career of this emerging authors, leading the creation process to the international audience.

The selection has been programmed as a special sample out of competition and individual works have also participated in official competition of festivals obtaining awards, prizes and special mentions.

Program

Adream, not dreamed at night because I do not dream, but experienced while walking: when I saw snow falling over the jungle and forming a soggy blanket over the huge, warm river, over the palm huts, the vultures’ branches, I knew at once that an ice age had broken out in Europe, covering everything calamitously, and this could only be a
long-distance effect from that”

Working on the script, driven by fury and urgency. I have only a little over a week left of staring mindlessly at that one spot.”

General opening meeting:
Introduction and explanation of the working method by werner herzog. The production provides the participants with: accreditation, maps and the production folder.

Daytime fieldwork: exploration of the field.
The students in the workshop will visit various locations preselected by werner herzog according to the central topic of the workshop.

Evening deskwork: dialogue
Dialogue on inspiration, the idea and the script and on adapting the idea to the production.

The sun sank in an angry blaze. For a moment, and for the only time I think I can remember, the earth struck me as motherly, covered with a decaying forest that seemed positively humble”

Daytime fieldwork: Exploration of the field
The students in the workshop will visit new locations preselected by Werner Herzog according to more general topics that can nourish the stories. Individual or group consultancy regarding student ideas for projects.

Evening Deskwork: Dialogue on the created landscape.
The story to be filmed thought through the creation of new landscapes.

The only other one who could also be Fitzcarraldo would be Kinski; he would certainly also be better than I, and after all, there was some discussion with him in the very early phase of the project, but it was always clear that he would be the last one who could see such an undertaking through to the end.”

Daytime fieldwork: Encounter with local characters.
The participants will select the actors for their stories. Individual or group consultancy regarding student ideas for projects.

Evening Deskwork: Dialogue on the work with actors.
Choosing your actors and creating your characters with them.

The day before we had explained our camera to them; there was lots of laughter, and everyone had a chance to look through the viewfinder. The ocular was so smeared with their red face paint that Mauch later had a red ring around his eye, which made him look very odd”

Daytime fieldwork: Shooting
Herzog will visit several shootings of the students to advise them in their direction work.

Evening Deskwork: Dialogue on the camera
How to use the camera to tell a story.

Mauch, Vignati, and I made our way up the slope with machetes and at the high- est point between the rivers scrambled up onto the platform and let the wind rock us. We were all alone with the jungle, floating gently above its steaming treetops, and I was no longer afraid at the thought of hauling a huge ship over the mountain ridge, even if everything in this gravity- ridden world seemed to argue against it.”

Daytime fieldwork: Shooting.
Herzog will visit several shootings of the students to advise them in their direction work.

Evening Deskwork: Dialogue on how to direct the crew.
How to orchestrate the technic and artistic crew in favour of the story.

But the question that everyone wanted answered was whether I would have the nerve and the strength to start the whole process from scratch. I said yes; otherwise I would be someone who had no dream left, and without dreams I would not want to live.”

Daytime fieldwork: Shootings.
The participants will continue with their shooting.

But the question that everyone wanted answered was whether I would have the nerve and the strength to start the whole process from scratch. I said yes; otherwise I would be someone who had no dream left, and without dreams I would not want to live”.

Daytime feldwork: Shooting
Herzog will visit several shootings of the students to advise them in their direction work. Availability of viewing edited material.

Evening Deskwork: Dialogue on shooting.
When to abandon or cling to an idea that only you believe in.

Today at daybreak the birds were pleading for the
continued existence of the Creation. For them, anything
but the continuation of the status quo is deadly. My
watch has stopped now once and for all, but for a long
time I have been thinking in Amazonian terms anyway:
before dinner, after the storm, toward evening”.

Daytime feldwork: Editing
Viewing of edited material. The participants that have edited their projects can present to Herzog a frst version of their pieces.

Evening Deskwork: Dialogue on creative editing. How editing can sacralise or destroy the film.

The camp peaceful and nice; they were all happy to
have us back. The frst thing I did was put my radio on
the rough-hewn table on my porch and play, very loudly,
the cassette with Vivaldi’s Dixit Dominus. I noticed that
two large ants, afected by the vibrations of the mighty
tone, were acting like mad creatures, doing a rhythmic
St. Vitus’ dance in front of the loudspeaker. They writhed,
raced around crazily in a circle, and whirled as if an electrical
current were running through them”.

Daytime feldwork: Editing
Viewing of edited material. The participants that have edited their projects can present to Herzog a frst version of their pieces.

Evening Deskwork: Dialogue on sound and music in
flm.
How sound gives deepness and new meanings to narration.

To fail to embrace my dreams now would be a disgrace so great that sin itself would not be able to nd a name for it”.

Daytime deskwork: Editing
Final cut and delivery of the work to the producers.

Evening deskwork: Dialogue on when films should be finished.
When to decide that the film is finished.

*Screening of the nished projects

In borja at the lower end of the pongo they did not want to believe their eyes, because no one had survived the passage when the water level was sixteen feet above normal, and our level had been eighteen. The village pongeros clustered around us, not saying a word. One of them inspected my swollen face and said, “su madre.” then he let me have a swig of his aguardiente””

Daytimework: Screening of the rest of the projects.

Workshop Closure: Closing celebration.

Organized by:

Sponsored by:

In collaboration with:

Credits

Photography:
WERNER HERZOG FILM GMBH
Christine Ebenberger
Werner Janoud
Beat Presser
Maureen Goslin
Imagenes of ‘Burden of Dreams’ loaned by:
Les Blanks.
Production Assistant:
Carolina Sourdis Arenas
GRAPHIC & WEB:
Juan F. Mejía. www.juanmejia.info
QUOTES FROM:
‘Conquest of the Useless: Reflections from the Making of Fitzcarraldo’. Werner Herzog. 2012.