Private Project


One morning, Aster leaves his childhood home. In his hands a glass of water, in which a cutting of a plant floats.

Due to his inner struggle, a simple journey turns into an overwhelming meander through the city. One that fills itself with distractions, encounters and self-imposed obstacles.
With his gaze, Aster captures splinters of the world around him and puzzles his own reality. In his mind, he connects them with sounds from his memory and fantasy. We lose ourselves in Aster's unique experience of the world, in which he seems to create his own universe.

  • Gaia de Pater
  • Gaia de Pater
  • Fabie Hulsebos
  • Helle Huisman
  • Szaga Lauwers
  • Jef Hellemans
    Key Cast
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Dingen die we dragen
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    16 minutes 41 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 27, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    15,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten van Gent
Director Biography - Gaia de Pater

Gaia de Pater is a Dutch filmmaker living in Belgium. In 2018 she started studying Film at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Ghent (KASK), where she was challenged to develop her own voice and question herself closely. With her short film ‘Things We Carry’ she recently graduated from her masters.

With her films Gaia seeks to invite the viewer into unique perspectives of people who at first glance may not immediately fit into the normal social picture. By being taken into personal experiences, Gaia hopes to question and transcend the first impressions and stigmas that may surround these characters.

The film medium offers the possibility to get as close as possible to another person's experience. Creating connection there, that is the core of her work.

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Director Statement

We grow up in a world where from an early age we learn to structure, to seek overview. We do this by categorizing everything we see. Pigeonholing. I understand this, and find it valuable in some ways, but also dangerous.

As a young girl, I was often dreamy and easily distracted. Early on, I was diagnosed with 'ADHD'. Since then, I began to shape my entire personality according to what I thought this label meant. I started to behave accordingly and imposed a stigma on myself. Acknowledging that I did this, and that I often still do it, is very confronting. And by talking to people around me, I came to understand that a lot of people recognized this within themselves. It’s more common than I thought.

A label offers help and clarity, but it also shapes you. It fascinates me how difficult it is not to reduce yourself and others to a label. You have a label, but you are not your label.

Film is a medium where you can get as close as possible to another person's experience. I find this so powerful. This short film is an ode to the special gaze of a boy whom we as viewers are quick to pigeonhole. What is going on with Aster? Does he have ADHD? Is he autistic? Hypersensitive? But, very importantly: the film never labels Aster. It is not about how he is different from others. The film seeks connection.

'Things We Carry' is about a universal feeling: Having to go somewhere you don't want to arrive, and the inner struggle that takes place along the way. Experienced from Aster’s associative way of dealing with the world around him. A film that offers people a hand in stepping outside their own perspective. A film that opens a thought and a conversation about our urge to stigmatize.

Labels may be important, but you as an individual are more than your label. And your perspective, your way of experiencing, is there because you are who you are. And for that perspective, there has to be space. Because in the end, the feelings we experience as unique individuals are often recognizable to all of us, after all.