Best Concept Art – Marlene Szczesny – “Sounds of the City” (USA)

Title: Sounds of the City
Runtime: 9 min
Country: USA
Director: Marlene Szczesny
Placement: Best Concept Art (Marlene Szczesny)
Competition: March 31, 2020

Synopsis: In this experimental video I wanted to visually show the sounds and noises of everyday life in NYC. I used an app called SpectroPro to record the frequencies of the sounds I experienced while filming. I layered the frequency information associated with the clip both over and under the image to create a moving image of the city of both sight and sound.

FILMMAKER Q&A – Marlene Szczesny – Director

GS: What was the inspiration for your film?

MS: By making this video I wanted to bring awareness to the problem of noise pollution in large metropolitan areas. I read that city background noise levels average around 60 decibels which studies show can raise your blood pressure, heart rate and stress levels in additional to ruining your concentration and sleep patterns. It is up to us who live in these areas to explore ways of reducing these levels to maintain our health and wellbeing.

GS: When did you conceive the idea for your film and how long did it take before it was realized?

MS: I conceived of this film while living in NYC, one of the busiest cities in the world, where I am bombarded each day with sound. In this experimental video I wanted to visually show the sounds and noises of everyday life in NYC.

GS: What was the most challenging aspect of working in a short film format?

MS: Actually for the type of experimental film “Sounds of the City” is the short film format was perfect.

GS: What was the most challenging aspect of your production?

MS: The most challenging aspect for me was marrying the sound with the video footage I shot. Another challenge was knowing at which points there would be intervals of silence.

GS: Do you have any advice for first-time filmmakers?

MS: Being new to filmmaking myself I have to say what keeps me going is my love for the creative process in all its forms. My advice is to first-timers is to enjoy and be excited about what you’re doing and it will show in your work.