Here’s to the blossoming outside the comfort zone. Join us as we look back on some of our community highlights of 2021.
We all know what they say about comfort zones: life begins at the end of them...they are the enemy of courage…they don’t change you because they don’t challenge you. Well, it’s safe to say that thanks to the big ‘c’ word, we’ve all been out of our comfort zones for long enough to truly experience the accuracy of those statements. While 2020 was a shock to the system, 2021 was the year that we rose, like the lotus flower, from the murky water and blossomed. We looked to the light and made it happen – whenever and however we could make it happen.
For our community, that concentrated creative energy resulted in some of the most interesting projects, performances and events we’ve seen in the history of our institute – from a live-streamed theatre show to the triumphant latest edition of Signals Festival. And there’s one powerful factor that underscored the success of them all: collaboration.
Before we turn the page to an even fiercer, go-getting, new year, join us below as we look back on some community highlights of 2021.
In January, our third-year Screen Acting students launched their crowdfunding campaign for their feature film Member State, directed by programme lead Adam Donald Ferreira. Member State explores how a crumbling European Union begins to wreak havoc on the interpersonal relationships of a group of young expats in Berlin. The cast even had a hand in shaping the plot! By February, the talented troupe had finished shooting it. We can’t wait to see the final product. Keep up with their journey on Instagram.
Soft Crash ft. Imaginaria
Amplify Berlin February mentor Phase Fatale was so impressed by our Funkhaus studios that he decided Catalyst was the perfect place for he and Pablo Bozzi to perform their Fact Magazine live set as the duo Soft Crash. They made it extra special by commissioning Visual Effects, Digital Arts & Animation tutor Paulina Greta, aka Imaginaria, to provide some cool visuals – which she created with the assistance of her student Freddy Gutierrez. What’s more, Film Production students Alfredo La Corte, Dico Baskoro and Jur Kunaver filmed the set.
Is it possible to sing and dance your way through a global pandemic? This is the question Film Production student Jur Kunaver asked in his final-year filmThe Sickening, a 30-minute musical comedy which he began shooting back in March after a successful crowdfunding campaign. The film tells the story of two performers, a clairvoyant, an office worker and the Devil. What could possibly go wrong?!
CAP Selects: Season 2
Throughout the spring, we spotlighted some of our second-year Creative Audio Production & Sound Engineering Bachelor students' inspired singles and albums in our second season of CAP Selects. The tracks were created as part of an assignment to write a seven-track album towards a creative vision. The only prerequisite: two of the tracks should be collaborations and another two tracks should be covers or reinterpretations of original work.
Creative Production (Music) Masters Projects
In April and May, we spotlighted two brilliant Creative Production Music MA projects. Ole-Jacob Sand, aka VIBKO, explored the possibilities of improvised live performances in his practice-based research, resulting in a super-interesting final paper and a masterful collection of accompanying musical pieces.
Shehryar Ahmad, aka Outlier, deep dived into the subconscious effects of ambient sound, in order to investigate how it might introspectively affect one’s peace of mind, mental wellbeing and imagination. His fascinating work utilised the cutting-edge 4DSOUND equipment of our neighbouring venue MONOM to measure levels of sonic immersion.
Uncle Jerry is Toxic
In one of their first assignments of the year, our Screen Acting second-years decided to write, film and star in a six-part miniseries, with each episode addressing an area of toxicity they see in action in the film industry. Since they were unable to film the miniseries due to COVID, they thought on their feet and recorded six awesome podcasts on the topics instead, under the banner of Uncle Jerry is Toxic. They were so passionate about the subject that they took the initiative to crowdfund and shoot the miniseries over the summer break!
When life gave them lemons, our Screen Acting Certificate students didn’t settle for making any old lemonade. They wrote, directed, starred in, promoted and presented Lemonade Sorbet, a tantalising online menu of 11 live performances which mixed the fizz of theatre with the sharpness of creative technology. Hundreds of viewers tuned into Lemonade Sorbet on the evening of the 7th of May to discover the up-and-coming international talents. And, wow, was the audience impressed with the diversity, range and creativity they were served.
Interactive VFX Installations
In July, our second-year Visual Effects, Digital Arts & Animation students presented their end-of-year projects. The exciting array of interactive installations explored one of the most exciting emergent applications of VFX technology. Showcasing the possibilities of everything from motion-capture technology to VR to laser light sensors to cymatics, the exhibition encapsulated emergent storytelling at its finest.
Catalyst Cassette: Volume One
In the summer, we were excited to unmask the second edition of our collectible cassette series: Volume One. While the inaugural Volume Zero celebrated our school’s transition from dBs Berlin to Catalyst, Volume One documents an unprecedented year of music production. The remarkable and eclectic selection of tracks created by our students during the pandemic filled our ears with the sound of creative triumph.
For the second year running, we joined forces with fellow renowned audio production school, Spirit Studios, to facilitate the Interface Project, an exciting multidisciplinary collaboration between four pairs of our students. The winning project of Interface 2.0, an audiovisual work by Catalyst Creative Audio Production & Sound Engineering student Olívia Mamberti and Spirit Studios student Maya Rain, was presented as an installation at Signals Festival in October.
Mo Van Zandt: hurt.heal
After launching their all-female collective Ora Berlin back in July with some impressive debut releases, fellow second-year Electronic Music Production & Performance students Alicia Miquel, Harianthe and Mo Van Zandt kept expanding their creative horizons in collaborations with other artists. In October, this spirit culminated in Mo Van Zandt’s powerful choreographed music video, filmed in collaboration with a talented group of Film Production students.
In November, Film Production Bachelor alumna Cleo Spiro released the trailer of Rabbitfolk, the film she completed in her final year of study. The horror folk short is about a young woman named Luna who lives an isolated life with her protective father in a small cabin close to the woods. A painful secret begins to unfold and it all comes back to a mysterious rabbit. The film stars Screen Acting Bachelor student Julie Kjaer as the protagonist and was crewed by some of Cleo's fellow students. Rabbitfolk is currently being submitted to festivals so stay tuned on Cleo's Instagram to find out where you can watch it on the big screen!
We fell in love with this short film by Creative Production Film Masters student Giulia Lomuscio when she released it in November, which beautifully explores the concept of connection in Berlin. If you’ve ever romanticised that ‘Berlin feeling,’ you’ll fall for it too.
Fishnet Collective, founded by a group of Catalyst students, dropped its first breakbeat, electro and techno release in October, Fishnet Records VA 01, from which seven tracks were created by students or alumni. A month later, they joined the nostalgia wave and released it on cassette! We’re looking forward to seeing what this collaboration-focused collective gets up to next.