Christoph Draeger b. 1965
ELEFANT (2003) is a narrative film by Gus Van Sant about the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. Teaching a video class at The European University in Madrid (UEM), I proposed to my students to use the campus, the architecture of which looks eerily similar to the school where Elefant was shot, for a remake of the final ten minutes of that film. We transposed the action to Spain, my students were playing all the roles of the Columbine students in spanish, and I would direct and handle the camera. This meant that I myself slipped into a role, the one of director Gus Van Sant.
The European Deluxe DVD edition of the original movie included an interview from 2003 with Gus Van Sant at his home, in which he was analyzing the movie in relation to the phenomena of school massacres and the motives of the killers, among other subjects. He speaks in a comprehensive and personal way, with a lot of empathy for his subjects. I decided to combine this interview with the re-enacted film, in order to create a emotional distance to the narrative of the signified. However, the interview with Van Sant in ELEFANTE appears as only a voice-over, and so becomes a narrator's voice.