The Global Search for Education: Get the Inside Track on Malibu Taetz’s Reflections

This month audiences can screen Reflections on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated for the Planet Classroom Network by Planet Classroom.

Reflections is a short film directed by Malibu Taetz where a shy office clerk is trying to approach a co-worker after seeing her struggling through a reflection. When he builds the courage to talk to her, something ends up getting in the way before he is able to approach her.

Just when all hope is lost, and he no longer believes he will get the chance to see her again, he finds a letter she left behind and decides to look for her.

The Global Search for Education is pleased to welcome Director Malibu Taetz

What inspired the story in the film? Is it inspired by a personal experience?

Reflections came from a moment. The moment was I was sitting in a computer lab in film school with a lot on my mind. I realized that I was staring at my own reflection in the window. I wasn’t sure how long I had been doing it, or for how many days I had come to that same spot and done so unconsciously. But the wonderful thing about windows is that you can look through them. And as soon as I became aware of this, I looked past my own reflection, through the window, to the world outside.

That was it. But to me it was a very important moment. It was when I realized we can spend our whole lives looking at the world but never really see it, because we are only focusing on our own reflection. A little change of focus can make a lot of difference. Not that introspection is a bad thing, but if that’s all a person does, you can miss out on a lot of the beauty that is right in front of you.

Why did you decide to use that style of cinematography? How do you think this technique adds to your storytelling?

The basic idea was to point the camera at a window, focus on the reflections in that window, film everything in one shot, and then pull focus to look through the window at the end. That was the basic idea, and it was fun staging everything so that something was always happening for the audience to look at. It took a lot of rehearsals, and I have to thank my co-director Joshua Vanderlinden that we pulled it off with such precise timing, as I was acting in it.

To me the story and way-of-shooting it are inseparable. It’s the simple story of a shy office clerk who tries to brighten a co-worker’s day without being seen. But he can’t do this until he looks past his own reflection (and out the window) at the end. Then he really sees her.

What feedback have you had from audiences watching your film? Any surprises or interesting lessons learned?

I find that about half the people I speak to understand that we are looking at reflections the whole time, and the other half don’t understand this. What surprised me is that regardless of whether they understand it or not, both groups seem to enjoy the story. It’s a simple story. Nothing gritty or explosive. But it’s gratifying to hear that people enjoy it.

What are you working on next?

I’m working on a film called “Evensong”. It’s also wordless, and all takes place inside of a cathedral. It’s kind of a story about letting go, and is carried by music rather than words. I’ve really enjoyed making it.

Anyone interested can check out our website.

Thank you Malibu!

C.M. Rubin with Malibu Taetz

Don’t Miss Reflections on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated for the Planet Classroom Network by Planet Classroom.

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