Anathema, a term derived from Greek ἀνάθεμα, which meant “something dedicated” and, in the Septuagint and New Testament, “something dedicated to evil and thus accursed“.
Anathema is a short film created by a very small crew of Dutch filmmakers. It has been shot twice due to car theft and has been in development for almost three years, but finally the film was completed in the summer of 2014.
Production with a story
Anathema is a short film production with a story of its own: The film was made by a small group of students in the course of three years. They started shooting back in 2011, but during the last day of an eight day shoot the footage got stolen from their car. Only two months passed after the theft when the group returned to Belgium and started shooting the film again, entirely.
Apart from financial support, they managed to pull it off without any professional help or supervision. Via Cinecrowd (a Dutch crowdfunding platform) they managed to secure funds for the visual effects.
Ids Aalbers, the initiator and director of the film, spent all his spare time in the course of two years editing, colorgrading and finishing it, while also providing the soundtrack and sound design.
About the story
The main inspiration for Anathema was Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy, a 14th century poem which consists of three parts: Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. When looking carefully, these three worlds – along with it’s characters and symbols – can also be found in Anathema.
Comedy at that time didn’t mean the same thing as what it means now. A Comedy is a story that ends well for the protagonist(s) or has a general happy ending, opposed to a tragedy, which generally has a tragic ending.
The Bible also played a significant role when writing Anathema, particularly during the design of the plot. “Without being religious myself (the director) I was and still am intrigued by stories from religions around the world and throughout the ages, particularly regarding Good vs Evil in a philosophical sense.”
Although the film may look like just a suspenseful thriller at first, the film has a deep philosophical background and raises questions about today’s ethics and morality. While studying we came up with the questions that define Anathema: “Are there conditions that justify the killing of a person?” and “what makes us what we really are?”.
So why are we doing this?
First of all, because filmmaking is awesome! We were inspired by the large amount of indie films that
can be found on the internet, especially since the introduction of DSLR filmmaking. With the help of many of tutorials (like the ones from FreddieW) and analysing other films, we found ourselves ready to take a shot at making one of our own.
Since we enjoy what other indie filmmakers create, we want to be an inspiration for other filmmakers ourselves, in the Netherlands and across the globe, by telling our story and sharing our tips. We learned so much in the process that we feel we should take our part in the indie film community.