When We Were Strangers is an experimental love story that features the slow decay of love.

Some films just quickly pick up a vibe and leave off a euphoric feeling. When We Were Strangers is an experimental love story that features the slow decay of love. It’s about a couple that falls in love during a house party and set off on an adventure. So why does the film leave you with such a marking feeling? It might just be due to the vast amount of emotional feedback created through all the film’s production departments. Each room in the house represents a different phase of their relationship and the unexpected situation gets more and more confusing. Director Ayla Spaans brilliantly highlights the tumultuous phases of a relationship within a single house party, the experience is blissful.

Exploring, Adventure, Trust, Frustration and Acceptance

When We Were Strangers was my first (experimental) short film. I wrote this story during the last period of my relationship and I felt I had to tell this story with my own signature. The experimental short is a translation of my previous relationships where I experienced the slow decay of love. Each room in the house symbolises a different era from their relationship in the most open and abstract way. The colourful beginning expresses the magical and exciting beginning and the dark ending expresses the unexpected, dark and ugly end of a relationship where senses fade away.

The rooms were divided in five feelings/phases; exploring, adventure, trust, frustration and acceptance. We showcased this through colour, shape, sound and movement. To convey the feeling, all these departments are moving in line with the phases. Costumes and product design were made in different color phases, the original score is translated to five different tracks and the choreography is also moving with each phase.

The film was shot with a handheld Alexa Mini, to keep it light weighted as they were moving around the dancers. For lenses they decided to go with a set of Kowa Anamorphics because of the beautiful distortion around the edges.