Private Project

As We Walk

In March 2021, together with Brooklyn-based drummer Raf Vertessen and Belgian pianist Andreas Bral, Hanne De Backer walked the whole Belgian coastline in the company of a camel and a camera crew. The goal was to register this coastline by recording the musical impressions of the trio alongside the road. Everyday improvised sets were played and recorded on different locations in- and outdoors, starting at the French border and ending five days later at the border with the Netherlands.
"Armed with backpacks, winter coats, hats and an inseparable wagon, the three musicians, together with their camel and camera crew, travel over empty beaches, mist-shrouded dikes and through dunes, accompanied only by the murmur of the North Sea and the whooshing of a biting wind. They improvise in the sand, in a church, on a breakwater. Sometimes with turbulent spontaneity, but just as often with hypnotic sounds. The film moves at its own pace and shows the Belgian coast in all its battered glory, but just as striking are the surprised and amused looks of passers-by."
The result is a 45-minutes music documentary; an ode to imagination and persistence, a plea for slowing down and truly encountering one another.

  • Hanne De Backer
  • Hanne De Backer
  • Hanne De Backer
  • Seppe Van Grieken
    Director of Photography
  • Christophe Albertijn
    Sound design
  • Yves De Mey
    Sound design
  • Hanne De Backer
  • Raf Vertessen
  • Andreas Bral
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    45 minutes 9 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 6, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    21,500 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    No Dialogue
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Hanne De Backer

Hanne De Backer is a Belgian baritone saxophonist and artist based in Brussels. She is an energetic and versatile performer, mainly working in the field of improvised music and has left her mark on the European improv-scene in recent years. She is or has been working with a wide range of artists like Signe Emmeluth, Farida Amadou, Paal Nilssen-Love, Raf Vertessen, Raphael Malfliet, Henrik Munkeby Nostebø, Terrie Ex, Jakob Bro, Agnes Hvizdalek, a.o.. She is also part of Brussels saxophone collective La Nuée and Antwerp underground Condor Gruppe. As a performer and composer she has been active in theater with Belgian compagnies like KVS Brussels, ’t Arsenaal Mechelen and Bookers & Hookers.
 She is the founder and bandleader of g a b b r o , a fluid collective that wants to explore the impact of free improvisation on different locations and vice versa. g a b b r o has been performing and recording in sewing systems, on roofs and mountains, in the prison of Antwerp, launderettes,… With g a b b r o she released two well received LP’s: gabbro (El Negocito Records, 2017) and Granular (Dropa Disc, 2019) and recently a third album on her own label g a b b r o records: The Moon Appears When The Water Is Still in trio with Raf Vertessen and Andreas Bral.
The latest project of g a b b r o resulted in Hanne De Backer’s first work as a moviemaker: in March ’21 she walked the whole Belgian coastline together with pianist Andreas Bral, Brooklyn based drummer Raf Vertessen, their instruments and a camel. Alongside the road, the trio played improvised sets based on their impressions and the physical challenges they endured. The journey was filmed by Seppe Van Grieken and recorded by Christophe Albertijn and afterwards directed and edited by Hanne into a 45’-musical and poetic documentary in black and white: AS WE WALK (2023).

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Director Statement

"I wanted to register this coastline because I believe this part of Belgium will look totally different in the near future and also because for me this territory symbolizes different problems that we are facing today. On the other hand, the camel created some dadaïstic atmosphere around our group, made people curious and laugh,... personally I found it great to bring improvised music to people that normally would never listen to it."