Interactive Film "Male"


Interactive film is a film which the audience can influence. It can be influenced by mouse-click, touch-screen or many other activities. More info about interactivity here. Currently the film "Male" is unavailable online.

I participated in Interactive Film Lab in Tartu Art College 24.-31. apr. 2005.

It was an international workshop. The participants were from England, Duch, Germany and Estonia. Our teachers and tutors were from University of the Arts in Berlin. We learned how to use the Korsakow System software. It is designed by Florian Thalhofer and it is an easy program for creating an interactive film.

An Idea

My idea was to create a Feministic film about men. I have been interested in Gender Studies for few years and I’ve listened some lectures about it at Tartu University. It have made me to think about how society reproduces gender differences. I have got an old book at home. Its title is “Female as maiden, fiancé, wife and mother”. Book is written by J.S. Rotaalia, whose real name was Jaan Spuhl and who was an Estonian man. He wrote the book after German medical texts in the year 1898 and the book was published in Estonia, Tartu (then called Jurjew). People believed more than 100 years ago that woman’s job is already stated by the nature: to become a good wife and mother. So the only education which a woman needs is how to be a good wife and mother. She doesn’t need misleading education which may make her to want to do something else than to become a mum and wife. Hygiene and manners were extremely important. If women are honest, prudent and descent then the whole country is. If women fall, the country falls.

Accordingly to the book, I divided my film into 5 topics: alcohol, work, teenager, love, hygiene and manners.

The Process

Step one was to go through my home video database and find all clips about my husband and my friend. I’ve lived together with my husband Sven for 8 years and since he is very handsome man I have filmed him a lot. We have done some projects together. I also have filmed my funny-looking friend quite a lot. I found several clips for each topic.

Step two was to find appropriate sentences from the book for each topic. I wrote them down.

Step three: dressed up like a doctor, I performed to video camera by reading aloud all those sentences. There were about 30 of them. I was meant to be a strict and serious female doctor who gives advice to men, how they should be good men, husbands and fathers. Reading an old Estonian language, very poetic and funny and replacing all those females with males, made me laugh but I managed to remain cool.

Finally I had 99 clips all together and the workshop started. The teachers and tutors were very found of my idea. I had to work out how to build it in Korsakow. It was decided to be an educational film for men.

Interactivity in "Male"

Let’s talk about the interactive process in my film. The user sees an intro: close-up of my husband’s handsome face. The headline appears on the face: “Male. How to Be a Descent Man, Husband and Father”. Bottom of the screen appear all five topics: thumbnail picture fails, where I am in doctors costume. Each thumbnail has title when user moves cursor on it. Titles are: “alcohol”, “work”, “teenager”, “love”, “hygiene and manners”. User can choose what she wants to learn.  If she chooses “love”  then the first clip is myself speaking about love. At the same time, when I am speaking, all clips about love appear in the bottom. Each clip has a headline and user can choose what seems more appealing. The first clip is always the most related to my talk, but the relation is quite loose so if user decides for something else, it is still logically connected to my talking. After my talk she will click on a clip. During the time, clip is playing user sees doctors appearing as thumbnails again in the bottom screen. Now all of them are “love experts” because user is viewing the love topic. Thus each clip where I am as a doc, is titled “love”. After the main clip’s finished, the thumbnail “Topics” appear as the last picture in the bottom after all the doctors. If user wants to exit from love topic, she clicks on “Topics”. If not, she clicks on some “love” thumb and listens another short lecture about men and love and again will choose clip about love. If she clicks on “Topics”, she will see the same clip like intro but instead of headline there is text: “Male. Choose a topic, what do you want to learn”. Bottom screen the topics again: alcohol, work and so on, me as expert on each one. If she chooses “work”, the same system starts again. After all clips inside one topic have viewed, the user can’t see that topic any more. After all topics have viewed, the user sees the end movie, which is the same clip as start movie but with different text. Although I hardly believe someone watches all 99 clips, I still created the end movie, just in case…