It was early 2020, and for some time Sinteque, a renowned figure on the Berlin and international fetish scene, had been feeling that she wanted to try something new as a model.
Her repertoire already spanned fetish fashion, pin-up, burlesque, domination and BDSM, along with complimentary talents such as styling, make-up, photography and more.
But, she explains, she was anxious to try something “more complex and meaningful than a photo, and with more emotional depth”. Something that told a story.
The answer, she decided, would be to make some short films.
Since her intention was to be in front of the camera rather than behind it, she would need to find a collaborator to shoot the project.
“I immediately thought of Mark Esper,” she says. “He’s a photographer and filmmaker friend of mine. I really appreciate his work, as he’s as professional and detail-oriented as I am.
“Fortunately, when I approached him, he was also immediately into the concept.”
Mark (above) is happy to explain just what the appeal of Sinteque’s idea was to him:
“Shooting a video together would be something new for Sinteque’s team, and would also pose an interesting challenge for us in bringing latex’s highly reflective aesthetic onto film.”
The project the pair agreed on was to create three short films. In them, the viewer would meet three fictional fetish personalities who couldn’t be more different from one another, while still reflecting facets of Sinteque.
“In order to bring these characters to life, we set about developing a separate resumé for each character, by working out their individual traits first,” she reveals.
“Styling and make-up were then designed to emphasise each character’s style and personality.
“With this in mind, I contacted several outstanding latex designers and invited them onboard, and the project slowly took shape from there.”
Recalling Sinteque’s wardrobe choices, Mark says: “First, there was a red dress from Dutch designer Brigitte More, followed by a wild, tyre-based ensemble from Japanese label Kurage and a cheeky leopard print catsuit from HW-Design in Vienna.”
This was all great, except for one thing: covid-19 was on the way to becoming a global pandemic and the project’s outfits were coming from as far away as virtually the other side of the planet.
Sinteque explains that the pair had been “working like crazy on the details of the script, accessories and a thousand other little things” until the pandemic brought everything to a halt.
“The outfit from Kurage in Tokyo was stuck in customs. And the one from HW-Design in Vienna, which would normally take only two or three days to get to Berlin, was lost in transit for two whole weeks!
“And then when all the outfits finally did arrive, we couldn’t shoot at first because of the coronavirus. It was truly exasperating.”
Fortunately, due to a summer relaxation of restrictions on meetings, Sinteque and Mark finally had the chance to realise the project.
Mark and his colleague Marie Overgaard met up with Sinteque to check out the Berlin location space at Feisty Cat Studios.
Test shots were taken and plans were made for the eventual shoot, which, given the covid restrictions, would require a tightly closed-off set and minimal crew.
“In the end,” Mark recalls, “it was really minimal, with me, Marie, Sinteque and her kind-hearted partner (and fellow photographer) Berserker setting about the three-day shooting schedule.
“Working with a series of pre-existing walls and studios props, we had three concepts to shoot.
“First would be Serafina, which would centre on a red latex-clad madame whose valuable time and attention is stolen by one of her house guests.
“Taking our cue from the red decor and silver furnishing that we had to hand, we were able to elongate the available space we had to shoot.
“As a result, similarly-coloured, virtual fake walls were dropped in courtesy of some visual effects.
“And a brand new foley track [a soundtrack of natural, incidental and ambient sounds] was re-recorded from scratch for every sound effect present.”
On day two, it would be the turn of the character Yuna in her Kurage outfit, made from recycled tyre rubber by acclaimed Japanese designer Shigenari Kid’O.
“This shoot presented its own unique set of challenges,” says Mark, “as the outfit was very tight. This made large body movements difficult and meant we could only shoot for relatively short periods.
“The solution was to shoot an assemblage of contrasting, close-ups all doused in flashing LED studio lights to mimic lightning.”
With day three, he adds, it was time to introduce a bit more levity into the proceedings with the thumbnail storyboarded adventures of a thirsty cat-burglar intent on getting some cream.
“In some ways, this was the most direct of the three shoots,” Mark says. “However, its directness certainly paid high dividends with a speedy turnaround in the editing suite.”
It still required a lot of rotoscoping (a method of extracting a moving figure and setting it onto a different background) and clean plates (backgrounds shot without the subject) similar to the first day’s red dress film.
But this one, featuring the character Kitty Mischief in her HW-Design catwoman suit, was without question the funniest to complete, says Mark.
You can watch the first film, Serafina, below, along with Sintgeque’s account of the character’s creation. On page 2 you can now watch both the second film, Yuna, and the third, Kitty Mischief.
As with Serafina, the Yuna and Kitty films are both accompanied by character creation stories provided by Sinteque.
All three films will also shortly be added as separate Videozone pages in The Fetishistas’ newly reorganised Video section.
“Serafina,” says Sinteque, “is a femme fatale through and through, and many of her traits are part of my own personality.
“With this in mind, I wanted to focus on BDSM and fetish themes without serving up the same old banal domina clichés.
“With the really big cinematic moment always taking place in the mind of the viewer, I would turn the fantasy lever and let them dive into their personal fetish dream.”
For this and many other reasons, she explains, the extravagant red latex dress by Brigitte More was the perfect choice to underline these feelings.
“It has femininity, but also a dominant touch with its studs and rings.
“Our Serafina looks elegant and clever and knows all too well the effect she has on her victims. Such a bad girl! So arrogant and self-absorbed she is!
“Or,” ponders Sinteque, “does this bizarre game of provocation, control and
dominance actually appeal to her? When the video ends, it gives us the perfect answer, full of wit and cryptic humour.”
The idea for the video’s ending came to Mark during the shoot, she reveals.
“Throughout filming, there was a white light switch that was just interfering with every single shot. We laughed our heads off when we finally found out what Mark had done with it in the final edit.
“And so, the light switch became not only part of the film, but also one of its most important elements.”
Watch Serafina to see just what she means!
Filming: Mark Esper & Marie Overgaard
Editing, VFX, Sound: Mark Esper
Music: Rolik Music
Wardrobe: Brigitte More
Special Thanks to: Berserker & Feisty Cat Studios
©2020 Mark Esper. All Rights Reserved
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