Michael Hudecek about his film:

michaelhudecekI was just thinking about the possibility of making a film on the subject “democracy”, when the author Heinz Rudolf Unger told me about his collaboration in the new project of the direct democratically organized political choir “Voices of Dissent” and suggested: “Well, that might be right thing – don’t you think so?”

At this stage the choir already had been working on this project for more than two years. Bärbel Mende-Danneberg, Alfred Komarek and Heinz Unger already had written several song lyrics and the musical director of the choir Erke Duit was just in the act of composing the music. A program on the subject “resistance” was about to emerge.

At the first shooting I observed the so-called “Lafrizi”- group (the project team responsible for long term aims) discussing program content, project realization and the question who should become director: Woman or man – or whether direction was needed at all. I got to know people who were struggling for the development of the choir’s most ambitious project yet with great seriousness – but with humor as well. The opinions expressed in these discussions were far from being unanimous – but still: Progress was made. Plans were forged out and decisions were taken. This was fascinating to watch and began to interest me: Who were these people that spend their spare time singing songs of resistance? How do they work? Where do they come from? And how will the whole thing work out? So I decided to accompany this project on film.

Two attempts to obtain funding for this film project from the Austrian Ministry of Culture failed and so the only chance to pull through this almost no-budget production was the help kindly offered by friends and film students. Thanks a lot for this!

Next was the choir’s rehearsal-weekend in Lower Austria’s forest quarter, where Erke first handed out the sheet music and the managing committee presented the choir with the “completed” project. Consequently the discussions were continued in the considerably bigger circle of the choir’s plenary meeting. Proceedings became even more fascinating and I got to know about fifty persons who participated in the choir for different reasons and who were striving to make a collective statement. What helped them through this process and united them was the act of collective singing.

From the beginning it was my intention to combine the subjects “music and singing” with the big issue “democracy”. For me the choir is a brilliant portrayal of a society that is trying to reach decisions in a democratically – or even direct democratically – way, so they can be backed by everybody and come to fruition this way. After another year of rehearsals and discussions this approach finally led to the premiere of the program in the Wiener Konzerthaus, together with the orchestra Camerata Wien – also led by Erke Duit.

We spent a whole lot of time cutting the film, as the different levels offered a wide range of possibilities – even when in the end only one of them seemed to be consistent. To find this film construction and the right rhythm took a long journey. Should we follow the dramaturgy of the concert program from dreaming to awakening and acting – respectively from sound check to performance and final applause? Should we follow the development of the project chronologically? Or could there be a completely different way? How can all this be interlinked? In the end the shape evolved of what is now being screened as the film “Voices, Voices, Voices of Dissent”. I would like to call it a political music film.