Wishing Well

Wishing Well

Length: 13:00 mins
Year of production: 2018
Exhibition Format: DCP or Quicktime file
Source Format: 16mm archival footage and HD Video
Language: No language
Selected Music by: Jeff Surak
Assistance: Alix Blevins
Consultance: Herbert Schwarze
Sound Mix: Philipp Bitter
Color Grading: Bertrand Glosset
Support/Mastering: Alfonso Merino

Synopsis: Gushing colors. A time disjointed, yet synchronous.
A transcendent turn, a quest for agency, a reunion with currents of the forest.

"The very cave you are afraid to enter turns out to be the source of what you are looking for." J. Campbell

–––at once hypnotic and hypnagogic (Mubi)

–––Wishing Well evokes the awesome power of the natural world while seeming, through her lyrical superimpositions, to hold it in the palm of a hand. (Tony Pipolo, Artforum)

–––Schedelbauer attempts to reconcile the flicker, long seen as the ne plus ultra of materialist cinema, with the narrative imagination. Perhaps it’s the forest setting or the recurring figure of a boy, but the film powerfully evokes the childhood feeling of falling into a story. (Max Goldberg, KQED Arts)

–––The hypnotic oscillation of images crescendos into a fusion of figure and field as different temporalities, forms, and forces evoke an affecting, and at times ominous interior space of subconscious experience and transformation. (Aily Nash and Faraz Anoushahpour, program notes, Images Festival)

–––in Sylvia Schedelbauer’s psychedelically coloured Wishing Well, the natural world is rendered with the slipperiness of a half-remembered hallucination. The film operates as a simultaneous push and pull through the recesses of childhood memories: the serene tranquility of its natural setting disrupted by the film’s pulsating flicker. Firmly embedded within the avant-garde tradition, Wishing Well, is both a beginning and an end, a retraction and a journey into the new, where time and space are constantly in flux. Above all it’s a film of great transport, offering both a journey into the transcendent, but also one of great physicality and remarkable sensory stimulation. (Thomas Grimshaw, blog post, London Short Film Festival)

–––A forest glade. A flickering. A cutting sound accompanies and dissects the simplicity of the image immediately, while the camera simultaneously moves backwards – we are distancing ourselves, entering into something new. The journey begins. A child on a path. It remains in the blackness, its hand, its face. The forest. Two universes encountering one another. With a steady touch and a great sensitivity for movement and rhythm, for form and the fluidity of colours, Sylvia Schedelbauer tells of a search and a discovery. In the reverse motion of objects, time and memory are laid bare and speak of the beauty of the search and the uncovered treasure. (Maike Mia Höhne, program notes, Berlinale Shorts Competition)

–––Sylvia Scheldelbauer’s Wishing Well was another lysergic experience of the intimate. The primal pulse of her images set the pace of an invisible rhythm, while we travel a path that might be a metaphor for a memory, for the ghostly road of our memories, somewhat linked to the appearance of a second patina of light, apparitions that mix themselves, images within images, a beating heart that tries to infuse life through its communicating vessels. Wishing Well is a fantastic experience of the erotic (the sensory), but it is also interlocked with the idea of commuting layers of significants in order to construct a different creature, a living, breathing being pulsing along the 24fps of cinema. An aesthetic eye is keen on the compulsive merging of images, a method that dwells with a different array of paintings. The filmmaker is, indeed, not only painting with light, but also, mixing a palette with two different compositions. The living painting of Schedelbauer’s manifestation of life is constantly renewing itself, reinventing itself from the intentions of memory, as a resource of the imagination or plain brain activity. It’s a nostalgic exercise with structural components, it’s both recalling, building and breathing. A remarkable work. (José Sarmiento Hinojosa, Desistfilm)

–––A child exploring a forest is the starting point for an almost psychedelic journey, realized through continuous cuts, overlaps and flashes within, through the perceptive persistence of the flow of still images in succession, brings us into an imaginary world where color plays a primary role; and memory itself becomes a visual tool with which to create levels on levels of images and meaning. In this way, a new world appears to our eyes, a world in which we cannot do anything but follow the images, sounds and colors, getting lost within ourselves and within the intricate forest of our visual memory. (Stefano Romano, program notes, Art House Shkodër)

–––Flickering is used to reveal a parallel film dimension, which unpacks a world inside the world through an immersive audiovisual experience. This eco-parable fully captivates our sensory and sensual instincts while uncovering dark tales of the human destruction of nature. (Jury Statement, The Unforeseen - International Experimental Film Festival)

–––Sylvia Schedelbauer takes us on a journey into the farthest recesses of subconsciousness, weaving a flickering eco-parable around a boy's adventure in an enchanted forest. Her Wishing Well wishes you to wake your inner child and drink from the stream of free flowing thoughts, as the parallel dimensions assimilate into a redolent cacophony of colors. (Nikola Gocić - Ngboo Art)

–––In awarding the Max Bresele Memorial Prize for the film with special political relevance, we decided on a work that at first glance does not seem to be classically located in the field of political cinema. But what is this field and what does "classically" mean, and should political cinema not question exactly these parameters? In any case, our winning film reveals in a deeply sensual, almost hypnotic way that politics is always also a question of form and not just content. This does not mean that our winning film Wishing Well by Sylvia Schedelbauer solely works on an abstract and structural level, even if it does this in an extremely convincing way, with its rhythmic use of the flicker effect and the cross dissolves of images that seem to simultaneously drift into, and away from each other. Here is a filmmaker who works her way through the school known as experimental film in order to crystallize her very own physical and decidedly female view of the world. In the process of transformation from the pure, beguiling form into fragmented worlds of memory, featuring images of a forest, a river, a child, and the evoked feeling of touching a fragile natural world - reinforced by the use of analogue material - we discover an urgent and vital political attitude, composed of what is personally and individually missing, instead of a relentless, didactic moralizing of great and troubling themes. The film lets opposing images come together, for example when water seems to flow almost magically through the hands of the boy, and allows for an encounter in impressive cinematic moments. In them, the film explores the utopian potential of our perception and cinema at the same time. Wishing Well is a film filled with longing that was never allowed, or only allowed in cinema, full of dreams we once had, full of connections that get lost in the negative image of life. And because the filmmaker made us feel these things so intensely, we confer the Max Bresele Memorial Award for the film with special political relevance to Sylvia Schedelbauer for her film Wishing Well. (Jury Statement, International Short Film Week Regensburg)

2019 Max Bresele Memorial Prize for a Politically Relevant Film, International Short Film Week Regensburg, Germany
2018 Grand Prix, The Unforeseen - International Experimental Film Festival, Belgrade, Serbia
2018 CAMIRA Award, Curtocircuito International Film Festival, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
2018 Special Mention, International Film Festival Message to Man, St. Petersburg, Russia