Remember to be Free

‘Remember to be free’ is a portrait of the performance artist and sculptor Aaron McLachlan prior to his departure from Berlin back to San Francisco. It deals with a friendship between two artists and friends, as they contemplate the themes of nostalgia, childhood, and cinema, as well as the role of the artist in our current age, and whether or not optimism is possible in a world whose fate seems to be increasingly uncertain.

  • Jean-Michel Brawand
  • Jean-Michel Brawand
  • Aaron MacLachlan
    Key Cast
  • Dragomir Silver Sulc
    Key Cast
  • Jean-Michel Brawand
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental
  • Runtime:
    32 minutes 14 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 20, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    500 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    English, French
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Clapham International Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    April 23, 2023
    World premiere
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Jean-Michel Brawand

Jean-Michel Brawand is a Filipino-Swiss filmmaker, who grew up in Asia and Europe. He studied Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, where he specialised in painting and video. Currently, he lives in Berlin, where he gives lectures about the link between the history of the Moving-Image and consciousness. His first feature-length film, ‘Moksha’, is now in the stage of post-production, and is set to be released later this year.

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Director Statement

When Aaron first told me that he’d be moving back to the US, my first instinct, aside from wanting to spend as much time with him as possible, was to create an authentic record of our friendship that we’d be able to look back on at any time, wherever life may take us. We’d initially met back in 2020, when we both worked at a pizzeria in Berlin, and being the same age, we spent many shifts bonding over fringe cultural references from the 90s that had shaped our consciousness, as well as philosophy, and the intricacies of our respective artistic processes. Although this could perhaps seem fairly verbose and heavy, what I always enjoyed about our interactions was how we always found for them to be playful and light, despite their seriousness, and the idea with this project was to aptly reflect that.

So, rather than enter this film overtly prepared, I wanted instead to create a climate in which all participants would be free to be themselves, and that involved having a general idea of topics that would elicit interesting stories, as well as places that were deliberately desolate and/or liminal, as the fascination with such aesthetics was something both Aaron and I shared. Furthermore, I thought that to acknowledge the presence of the camera, as well as leave what some may consider ‘mistakes’ in the editing process would allow for a fuller vision of our friendship and selves, something akin to Bazin’s ‘window on the world’ where the film would hint at a life beyond the frame and the scope of the viewers, and conversations would appear as extensions of conversations previously had.

What resulted is a film that I find somewhat difficult to classify, as on paper, one could deceptively describe it as a film about two friends, and they wouldn’t be wrong. But to me, beyond that friendship and beyond the philosophical and artistic questions the film concerns itself with, is a film about what happens in between all of that: between departures and what one leaves behind; between the quest for making art and the art that does result from one’s intention; between one’s idea for a film and the film that emanates from it. In other words, it is a film about process and the life that surrounds it.