A group of Dutch and American experimental filmmakers whose works have various (as of yet undecided) unusual effects on the areas surrounding the screens from which they are viewed and the people who view them. [I am going to develop this part much, much more, but later on. Don't worry, this isn't even close to the final version.]
Some of the films produced under the Optera banner
Within the Kingdom of the Mayflies. 1993; uncredited actors; 16 mm; 20 minutes; b/w; silent. A single, long, diagonally-framed shot, seemingly filmed from the exterior corner of a building, of an abnormally hirsute man lying in bloody clothes on the pavement and then being picked up and forced into an unmarked van.
Manhatta. 1995; 35 mm; 10 minutes; b/w; silent (English intertitles). Shot-for-shot remake of 1921 film of the same name.
Of Orange. 1999; Matt van der Berg, Peter Pierce; 35 mm; 97 minutes; digitally enhanced color; sound (Dutch, Spanish). Dryly parodic, historically inaccurate, thoroughly anachronistic action-movie treatment of Prince William I, “The Silent” (van der Berg) and his revolt against Catholic rule, specifically against Spanish general Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alba (Pierce). Almost inarguably Optera’s most mainstream-friendly, least academic production.
Subimago. 2003; uncredited actor; 16 mm; 440 minutes; b/w; sound. An uninterrupted, unflinching look into seven hours and twenty minutes of a man's existence in solitary confinement that is suggested to continue long after the camera stops running.
The Counterfeit Peter Pierce. 2006; Peter Pierce, Ambrose Houtman, Gabriëlle Walters; 35 mm; 46 minutes; color; sound (English). An acclaimed director (Pierce, using his own name as his character's) is rendered an amnesiac in an accident on-set and, at the public’s prompting, assumes the identity of his former self, believing that he is doing so fraudulently.
Ascension. 2010; Ambrose Houtman, Gabriëlle Walters; 35 mm; 55 minutes; color; sound (Dutch, English subtitles). Hallucinatory chronicle of a man’s descent into abuse and addiction of prescription medications, with heavy parallels drawn to the tribulations and death of stranded sailor Leendert Hasenbosch.
Eendagsvlieg. 2013; uncredited actor; 16 mm; 3 minutes; b/w; silent. A man is silhouetted against a blindingly white rectangle, walks through it, and then staggers quickly back toward the camera, mouthing something repeatedly before snapping his jaws shut upon the camera lens – an act that visibly breaks three of his teeth – and collapsing motionlessly onto the floor in extreme closeup.
Excerpted transcript of an audio-only interview with a man assumed to be the director of some portion of Optera's oeuvre:
“I’ve always liked the notion that, you know, films can function as a connection between myself and whoever’s watching. Like I can make a film, and then just like that, they’re in the room with the viewer. I’ve been trying to capitalize on that for—”
“You said ‘they’re in the room.’ What are ‘they’?”
“I don’t understand.”
“Did you mean your ideas?"
“Oh. Certainly, yes.”
Excerpt from a critical essay concerning Optera's 1995 Manhatta remake, written by Gregory Baines for the New York Pioneer-Herald, August 8, 2001:
Notably different from the original is the total absence of human activity; despite the matching shots (1:08 – 1:48) of a docking ferry, the ship is empty, and as the partitions open, there is no mass exodus of the crowd into the city. Everything is eerily still. The ferry’s captain cannot be seen, lending the impression that the ship is in fact simply drifting into the harbor by happenstance, its gates blown open by a gust of wind. The only people in the film, the only characters whose priorities we may even begin to wonder about, are the filmmakers themselves, the people manning the cameras. How could they have obtained this sort of footage at midday in New York City in 1995, or, more to the point, at any time in the city’s history? How did they empty the streets of one of the largest cities on Earth to shoot a film that nobody had heard of?
Excerpt from a police interview with Keith D██████, after his attempt at viewing a found copy of Ascension on July 15, 2013:
“I had noticed, at the start of the movie, a pile of stuff a few feet from the screen. I’d just vacuumed the apartment earlier that day—it was Saturday, that’s when I always get that done—so I wondered where on Earth it had come from, you know, like, had I missed that much? It was a good-sized pile. I paused the movie to take a look at it, and it was all rubber. Just a little pile of rubber scraps, each maybe about an inch long or smaller. All sorts of shapes. So I cleaned it up and I sat back down and I hit ‘play.’ Then after about five or so more minutes, I’m looking at the floor in front of the TV for a second and I notice something down there again. Tennis shoes. Beat-up, ratty, gray-and-brown-and-yellow tennis shoes. They smell like death. So what do I do? I go to pick them up—with my bare hands!—and they’re really heavy, like way too heavy to just be shoes, right? And so but I take a look inside and there’s these feet in there, like actual human detached fucking feet, with—Christ, I’m sorry, I’m trying not to throw up just thinking about it—and with bones sheared off on a level with the skin and the muscle right around the ankles, and I yelp and I fling them across the room and they hit the floor and slide and they leave a little maroon trail behind them.”
“And that’s when you called 911.”
“Right. But I noticed something weird about the shoes. Well, something else weird.”
“What was that?”
“The guy in the movie? Drugged-out Dutch guy? Same shoes.”