Introduction by Ariel Avissar and Evelyn Kreutzer
Once Upon a Screen 2 is the result of an experimental, collaborative undertaking. We asked the contributors to first submit a short text, describing a formative screen memory from any point in their lives, without naming the media source to which they referred. We ended up with 16 such texts, which we then re-shuffled and distributed anonymously among the group, so that each one received a text that was not their own, and was asked to make a video based on that text. The video makers were allowed to request (through us) a voice-over recording of the text by the author, which very few took us up on. We did not specify how closely or loosely the video needed to adhere to the text. The identities of the authors were only revealed to the video makers after the videos were finished. Eight of them were published in part 1 in [add date and link to part 1], the other eight are included in this installment. Each contributor is represented in both issues (either as author or creator). The videos appear alongside three texts each: the text on which the video was based, a creator’s statement by the video maker, and a brief reflection on the video by the author on whose text it was based. The issue also includes a response from Katie Bird.
Like the first installment, part 2 features a range of stylistic and conceptual approaches to the prompt and to the respective texts. Several creator’s statements refer to the struggles that some of the videomakers faced when making their pieces – difficulties in coming up with an idea, in approaching the very personal and/or sensitive memories described in the original texts, and in finding appropriate audiovisual material to attach to these memories. This installment includes several videos that focus on one or two primary audiovisual sources, connecting the textual memories with close readings of and engagements with particular films. At the same time, a number of videos (and their respective texts) focus more on the spatial aspects of a given viewing experience. Questions of sound and music also feature prominently in this collection, textually, aesthetically, and mnemonically.
The collection as a whole, which came into being during the pandemic, has once more revealed to us the importance of exchange, collaboration, and mutual support, which the videographic community has demonstrated so powerfully over the past few years. In this, it is as much a testament to the present moment as it is to memories of the past.
Ariel Avissar is a PhD student and Tisch Film School Scholar at Tel Aviv University. His videographic collaborations include Once Upon a Screen (co-edited with Evelyn Kreutzer) and the “TV Dictionary.” He is an associate editor at [in]Transition and has also co-edited Sight & Sound’s “Best Video Essays” poll (2019-2021).
Evelyn Kreutzer is a postdoctoral researcher at the Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf, where she leads the project “The Digital Video Essay,” funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). She also serves as an associate editor at [in]Transition. Her written and videographic work has been published in journals like The Cine-Files, Music, Sound, and the Moving Image, NECSUS, Research in Film & History, and [in]Transition.