Menti Minda- Mothertongue

The film production Mothertongue is about insomnia worldwide. It asks the question :Work all day and play all night or vice versa ? In a metropolis, the world economy of today, is always going on, in a buzzing street life. Assimilation from the migrating individual is a way to survive in the new geographical location. To what extend is it urgent to follow new rules and habits, in the mass society of this new state ?The dancer on the word flow beat stands for thoughts that carry on, nonstop, in your mother tongue in your head, although being in a new place. To start over and learn a new language is hard. The bird in the film refers to the nightingale with a remarkable rich repertoire, able to produce over 1000 different sounds, their part of the brain that is responsible for creating sound, is much bigger than that of other birds. However the annoyed dancer, chases it away.

Interview with writer, director and producer Karin Balog

1 What is the story behind your film?
It’s an experimental short artfilm with a professional dancer in animation style ,it has deeper layers because it is about migration, moving and starting over. Special music was composed ,a hypnotizing voice on a heartbeat becomes a soundscape in many languages. It’s also about day and night with insomnia worldwide, that occurs while travelling in different timezones.


2 What should people take away, gain, realize after watching your film
One day we all can be the move , due to climate crisis or economic crises. There is always a power play and the humble human without resources is trying to balance in between. Because languages that travel with those individuals of the new habitat , it’s sort of rewriting geography what is going on in the world. The individual versus the masses can cause a sense of isolation. Myself I love the poetry of the individual , all humans doing the same thing, and thinking the same way is annoying me easily. I don’t belong to groups , it makes me claustrophobic , so I can relate to be isolated in a way.

We are all in a daily struggle, no matter what geography location we are in. I hope more people try to do experiments with different disciplines in artfilms .I used drawing and unusual soundscapes , it’s not a documentary nor traditional movie with a plot. More a playful discovery.

3 Do you think films can change people for the better or for the worse?
A lot of good programming is going on, also on Netflix , I hardly watch American ones, I prefer the French for instance. Many issues from society are brought into family homes this way, to make the vision wider. Also in cinema you can see what is happening in the world and in some neighborhoods and sub cultural scenes .It’s very interesting. Its not all Hollywood glamour out there with a plastic world. The Italians always had this neorealisitic drama in the cinema category already, if you think about Ettore Scola for example from Brutti Sporchi et Cattivi and other films he made.

4 How was the creation of your project at the time of COVID 19 ?
We went to very isolated deserted industrial area’s to shoot the project, also not to be disturbed in the dance session, because it was shot outside. The light with the shadow was perfect. To present it in a group show at some venues in Amsterdam was challenging, we had to work with time locks and a limited guest list day by day. But it worked as a sort of tryout. Feedback is valuable no matter how limited. It the same time I joined an online exhibition called TIMESPECIFIC in Santa Fe New Mexico. Video artists made productions with their corona( time) related pieces There was already an art movement called site-specific (art related to location) now there is TIMESPECIFIC ( art related to certain time zones ) It was curated and initiated by Isolde Kille. It felt good to be connected worldwide with other artists during this pandemic.

5 What creation style did you use in the production of your project? What cameraman elements did you use?
I studied photography at the Royal Art Academy in the Netherlands in the Hague and joined some film studies and can edit myself. I have an eye for the light and composition. In this case the main style I used was the film transforming into a linedrawing. The dancer and music ( by Randolph Leclercq )were supported by a a static camera point of view, to make the movements and message by the music most important and stand out. Graphic editing gave a dynamic between some shots and I was happy with the unforeseen wind that interfered.

6 How did you select the actors for your project?
I worked with a professional dancer called Anastasia Kostner .She moved from Italy to Amsterdam and also had to start over in a new country as well.She is becoming very successful in Europe, for me she did one improvisation on the music I had composed.


7 Why do you think your film should appeal to distributors?
A good question. The film is not easy to put in any category as a documentary or fiction film would be. It fits in the category experimental . It could be a bumper related to a topic to introduce a theme or used in a dance music festival in a club. I usually work in art related projects though. It has been picked up for a Fringe Festival in England. I’m preparing interviews about insomnia to use in the interference plan in public space ( as Fringe Theatre Festivals do)

8 At which festival has it been screened?
It has been selected for the Stockholm City festival last year, a compliment because young people chose it . Also in India it won 4 awards and 1 in Bhutan. I am talking about the Independent Global Film Festival of India, The Black Swan Film Festival, The Gangtok International Film Festival ,The Tagore International Film Festival TIFF, The Calcutta International Cult Film Festival,First West Bengal Film Festival, DRUK Film Festival in Bhutan. For me it’s interesting to get feedback and even recognition in a country with a totally different culture. To be able to relate to them, means it’s an universal topic that I chose. Some isolated areas can be quite progressive , they even have LGBTI categories exist, in an isolated country as Bhutan.

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9 How did your acquaintances react when they first saw the film

It was received well. It was with other artworks on a wall in Gallery in Amsterdam and later in a cultural center called Podium Mozaiek and in Humanity House in The Hague.

10 If you could change something in your film what should it be?
I wouldn’t , I’m happy with it.

11 Which movies are your favorites and why?
I love Nouvelle Vague Cinema from France, like films with Louis Malle as a director. It’s shot beginning of the 60 ties end of the 50 ties. I am talking about L’ascenseur a l’echafaud “from 1958 for example. It is about burglars who get stuck in an elevator in an office and they have to wait for the people to come in the morning. Shot in black and white, with beautiful music of Miles Davies. People try to survive in a big metropolis with individual problems, all different stories that get intertwined.

A good plot intrigues me, but it doesn’t mean I have what it takes to create such a film myself. If we talk about experimental films, I would mention Koyaanisqatsi. A film from 1982 by Godfrey Reggio on Music of Philip Glass with the effect of long shutter speeds, that shows the travelling streams of workers going to their jobs .The rhythm of day and night filmed in a big city. It becomes an abstract movement like a river due to the technique of the film. The title is an Hopi Indian word, so this is also about rewriting geography, that land from before became a big city in America, now full of traffic jams. It’s an apocalyptic film about misbalance, caused by technology versus nature.

12 What topics do you like to address in your stories
I am usually working on isolation versus masses. Works inspired by rewriting geography are also interesting. The visual language is usually adding different layers to the experience. Not a traditional plot or documentary. Natural versus artificial is also topic. As is :close by versus far away.

13 What is your motivation in making films?
For me it’s exciting to experiment because I will never know what will come out. I worked a lot with traditional photo chemicals and now everything is computerized and very direct on the screen. There is no waiting period anymore like you need for a good wine to ripe. I do need this time for the process.

What makes me tick? A new way of telling stories with new techniques is something that gets developed on the way. It’s okay if there is some coincidence happening like a serendipity. In the end you know what came from your intuition and what it s about, the rest you can cut out or use later.

14 Which contemporary filmmakers motivate you most ?
Well let us address some women here:
Sarah Seené’s film :”Lumen”  is interesting (2019)
I saw a beautiful coming of age film called:” Stella in love “from director Sylvie Verheyde ( 2022).

Nan Goldin is interesting as well, also as an activist. Not necessarily my style, but a courageous women to get inspired by.

15 What projects do you plan to shoot in the future?
My latest film is called: Errata in blue. It got selected in Nice in France for the Golden Giraffe Film Festival. Also a highly experimental film about thermo-stress in a radical changing climate. It was also included in an art project to bring water to the desert .

Most of my projects I expect will be about a changes in society at a sort of zoom out situation, looking at the world and its developments . I am busy with concrete poetry projects( an art movement about getting words into abstract soundsculptures). I hope to experiment more with dance projects in the near future and use it for scripts as new means of expressions in my films.


Karin Balog works with photography, film and mixed media. She studied photography at the
Royal Art Academy in The Hague in the Netherlands and is based in Amsterdam. In recent years her focus is more on short films. Some of her work revolves around multi-cultural issues and identity. Other cross over disciplines such as dance and drawing are presented in a new editing schedule.

Photography and film are her passions. She exhibited with photo exhibitions in London
(Selfridges) , Budapest and Amsterdam. Film screenings took place in Amsterdam, Stockholm
and India. The experimental film Menti Minda Mothertongue was selected for the Stockholm City
Film Festival and won some awards in India and Bhutan. For 2023 The film Errata in blue was
the official selection for Nice in France: The Golden Giraffe International Film Festival.