Watermind is the side project of Korda EU cinematographer Christian Kessler - SUB contributor, carp angler, dry fly adventurer, skateboarder, surfer and all round creative, he is using Watermind as a 'love' project to tell some stories through the lens of angling. Sit back and enjoy this ten minute insight into his life and work
Hi Christian, thanks for taking the time to do this! You work as a cinematographer for Korda EU as a day job, can you tell us a little more about Watermind and your motivations behind the project?
Hey guys, thank you very much to having me! Yes, it is almost six years now since I finished the university and started working for Korda. During this time I have met and worked with loads of nice people, and filmed so many nice projects. Before the job at Korda I was always influenced by other companies who were not coming from the fishing industry - skateboarding was, and still is, a big passion of mine next to fishing, and I have always been influenced by this culture and lifestyle. For me, it is always important to show just how beautiful fishing can be! Fishing has changed over the years and for me and some other people it is now very much a culture. A culture which is more than just catching and showing off the biggest fish from a lake. Through our work at Watermind we want to sell a feeling - a feeling of freedom which everybody can have who has passion and a love for fishing and the outdoors. And we hope we can show and tell this story with our films. We are always searching for a special story, special people, and we want to show how versatile fishing can be as well. The people who are doing stuff for Watermind are all creative and have interests in the outdoors too, for example, my girlfriend is an Art Director, and she is doing all the art work, social media and subtitles for Watermind. So, there is more then one person behind Watermind, it is a collective effort.
'Through our work at Watermind we want to sell a feeling - a feeling of freedom which everybody can have'
Filming must be a big passion, to do it for work and then to commit your spare time to filming and editing as well?
Filming and telling a story with film/ pictures is a huge thing in my life! It is natural for me to find a story with in fishing. And to combine it with work is the best thing you can have. It doesn’t feel like work because I would do it anyway.
How was the lockdown experience for you guys up in Germany, you could still fish and film right?
It was a big shock for all of us when the lockdown came early this year! We needed to cancel lots of filming days and bigger productions, but luckily we were allowed to fish alone still, and so we created some content during that time and managed to stay productive.
What was your inspiration behind your latest film, 'Somewhere'?
Like the name says, Somewhere can be everywhere! But for us, it is somewhere where nobody is, or had been, fishing before. The first two lakes you saw in this episode are nearly un-fished. And this was the motivation behind this series, to show that you can still find places like this if you don’t follow anybody else or you are only looking for big fish. We love to catch big trout, pike etc but more than that we love to catch these species in quiet surroundings like these.
How long was the process, start to finish?
I filmed this episode last year in spring, the idea was to publish it at a film festival but as we all know, cinemas are having a hard time now, and we are thinking that a cinema tour will not happen sadly. So our idea was instead to publish it online and give something nice and positive back, especially in this difficult time everyone is having now. So the process was long but with every project we only publish our films when we feel they are 100%.
'our idea was instead to publish it online and give something nice and positive back, especially in this difficult time everyone is having now'
Great to see the English subtitles so we can enjoy it in full!
English subtitles are getting more important for us! We want to show it to everybody, and give as many people as possible the opportunity to be inspired by our films.
The landscape and scenery up in the German forests looks incredible, I'm guessing part of the motivation is to share that beauty?
Of course! Especially the east and northern part of Germany with it huge lakes and ancient forests it makes it a particularly unique environment. Here I can be alone, I can fish for myself and see no other anglers. That is what I want for myself and for the future. I love to work with people and I thoroughly enjoy having fun while we are shooting, but after that I can really enjoy my fishing the most when I am alone. I love to discover new places and search for new lakes on Google Maps all the time.
I especially liked the use of the inlaid still imagery, that adds another whole dimension to it for me, can you tell us a little more about that, they are all your own 35mm film shots right?
Thank you very much! Yes, I love to shoot analogue. I think more than digital, today. I don’t know, it just gives me more feeling somehow to take a picture on film, instead of taking loads of pictures of one scene or setting and then picking the best ones. And yes, the colours of a good analogue film are just insane. In this film I used a Minolta X-500 with a Kodak Portra Film. The camera broke after that shoot unfortunately but I bought a new one! Now, I am using a Canon Canonet 28 (35mm) and a Yashica C Mid Format.
'it just gives me more feeling somehow to take a picture on film, instead of taking loads of pictures of one scene or setting and then picking the best ones'
How important is the idea of a narrative to you in a film, the story line?
I say, story telling is everything! You can own the best cameras and gear but just these components are not necessarily creating a good film at all. The way you tell a story, the feeling and the style of a film is so important to me.
What is the #keepourlocalriversclean about?
Our local streams, rivers are the heart of the environment! I hear it so often that we need to save other, bigger rivers in the world, and of corse we do, but we can start at our local rivers. Think about it, and keep it clean or be part of a cleaning program in your city if you can. We are doing it every year over here now - to go into the river and clean it with other anglers and local people.
What are your inspirations within film making?
My inspirations within film making are simple, in that I want to show a different way of film making and especially to try and give fishing a unique touch. I want to show people with a passion for fishing that fishing can be the best thing in the world. I think we have found our own style of film making and this was, and still is, a big goal for me. To be something special and to have a distinctive mark and feel to our images and film.
What is next on the horizon for Watermind?
Really important to us is having fun! I love the style we have created for this brand and I want to be independent and special in the angling industry. We have some wonderful ideas for next year for some new projects, and we will also keep pushing existing projects like ´Somewhere´ and ´Backyard´. Both are series we love and this is exactly our style of fishing! Ultimately, we want to create timeless films - a film you can enjoy now, but is still hopefully be inspiring people and be relevant in 10 years time!