A German filmmaker travelled to the Northern Marianas last year to shoot scenes for a movie that is scheduled for release this spring.
Heinz Emigholz, who founded the production company Pym Films in 1978, was on Saipan and Tinian from April 5 to 12, 2012, with colleague and fellow artist Ueli Etter to work on the film The Airstrip-Decampment of Modernism.
The two-hour film is the last installment of a series of films about modern architecture that have been shown worldwide in cinemas, film festivals and were especially acclaimed in the United States, said Emigholz.
“It will contain several scenes with concrete ruins of Japanese military buildings on Saipan, and “Northfield” on Tinian with its concrete loading pits for the atomic bombs Little Boy and Fat Man,” he told Saipan Tribune, adding that the principal photography for the movie was done all over the world in 62 days.
Emigholz, 64, said that his reasons to come to Saipan were manifold. He has studied and written about the Pacific War for decades, and loved the film Anatahan by Josef von Sternberg since childhood. Rat Beach, a story about 1945 Saipan written by William Styron, also piqued the interest of the professor for Experimental film at Berlin University of the Arts.
What finally convinced him, however, was the book The Roman Pantheon: The Triumph of Concrete by the late American war veteran David Moore and published by the University of Guam, which he came across when he did a film about the historical and one of the best-preserved structures.
“He was a civil engineer and his book is the best about the Pantheon I ever read,” Emigholz told Saipan Tribune, saying that Moore's book also led to his discovery of Moore's website, www.battleofsasipan.com. “I definitely will come back to Saipan and stay some time to work on a book.”
When Emigholz returned to Germany following his brief stay in the Northern Marianas, members of the German group Kreidler approached him and asked him to do a video for a track in their new album Den released last Oct. 5.
Founded in 1994, Kreidler combines electronic and analog instruments and is categorized by critics, depending on the publication, as electronic music, pop, avant-garde, post rock, ambient, neoclassical, krautrock or electronica.
“I listened to their material, liked it and decided to do clips for all seven tracks,” said Emigholz, adding that he used materials shot in the CNMI for the videos of two tracks.
He used the shot during the ride to the loading pits on Tinian for the video for Rote Wüste (Red Desert), which was released a month before Kreidler's album came out “and became very popular.”
Meanwhile, Emigholz used shots of La Fiesta, the site of the Japanese Banzai attack on July 5, 1945, for the video of Sun.
The Rote Wüste video, which has 5,804 views as of press time, can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkuIMV-tUGc while the Sun video, which has 2,128 views, can be accessed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Efw_Zpg71E.