Eric Spitzer-Marlyn: A Phenomenon in 12th Cinema Verite
24 Dec 2018 - 11:06
Eric Spitzer-Marlyn, the sound engineer, composer and longtime collaborator of Werner Herzog, was the special guest of the 12th Iran International Documentary Film Festival "Cinema Verite", and held a two-day workshop on the power of sound and music in documentaries. This workshop was so highly regarded by the audience that Seyyed Mohammad Mehdi Tabatabaei-Nejad, the festival's director, called him the phenomenon of this year's festival.
In a conversation with the public relations of Cinema Verite, he said about the workshop: "I brought some sound and music samples to Iran, which I used in my workshop. These samles are parts of the audio work I have done in one of Werner Herzog's films. I composed the music and recorded sound for this film. In fact, I did everything in the field of sound. After talking about this film, I talked about sound recording on the scene, which is a very interesting topic for myself. On the second day, I talked about sound editing and soundtrack in the documentaries and their functions."
Spitzer continued: "The reason I work with one filmmaker is that I want to do the sounds in all areas of a movie, to be able to put my stamp on the sound of that film, and do all the sounds of it. That's why I'm always recording raw sounds to use for my work in films. For workshops in Iran, I also brought a lot of these audio samples as well as many films that I constantly record so I can use their sounds, sounds of the environment, funny sounds... but as I guessed I did not get the chance to use all of them."
He has been recording videos with his camera during his presence in Iran and his workshop. "I archive images and sounds. I'm interested in archiving both of them. I do not know when I find time to watch all of them, but this does not diminish my interest. I have a big studio and I use these images and sounds there. I have studied Directing at UCLA; I know this profession very wel and I’m considered a filmmaker. I’m also a composer and have composed soundtracks in cinema and as a freelancer. But from some point in my life, I prefered to work in the field of sounds, the sounds are more appealing to me, and I also know it better. I also paint and I am very interested in it.”
Spitzer continued: "I think filmmaking is the most complete form of art. You create stories, you create characters, you give them birth, you can let them survive, you can kill them, you can move the story further more emotionally with good music. Along with familiarity with artistic and cinematic forms, luckily I am a sound engineer and technically capable. This electronic knowledge makes me stay up to date and survive. These days, it’s not enough for you to just be an artist. You must have up-to-date knowledge. Nowadays, even cinematography managers who have a very high-level job, will have trouble if they don't updated themselves, and won’t be able to work with the equipment and will stay behind.”
About Iranian cinema he said: "I cannot name Iranian films that I've seen, but I'm familiar with this cinema, and I have seen many Iranian films because I know that Iranian cinema is very famous and it has many good films and filmmakers. I traveled to Vienna last year, and over there I also watched some Iraninan films. Since I'm invited to almost all the cinematic festivals, there are always Iranian films that I watch. The fact that I can not name them is not because they have not been impressive, just because in these festivals you tend to come out of this hall and go into another - Perhaps the only downside of the cinematic festivals. Unfortunately, I'm not an Iranian cinema specialist, but I've seen a lot of Iranian films.”
At the end, about the use of analogue sounds in the age of digital technology, Speitzer said: "I think that technology might not be a priority. Unfortunately, even in Europe, we have the problem that some young sound recordists are not willing to do good sound recording and transfer their job to their mixing department, while a bad sound will never transfere into a good one in mixing. This is a worldwide issue. For example, in Europe, we sometimes have to use the simplest form of sound recording due to lack of the necessary technology. Sometimes I think it's a privilege. Because if this kind of sound recording is done in a simple but good and high quality manner, it allows the audience to follow the film and enjoy the story.”
Story Code: 4133