Filmmakers at the Independent Days I Filmfest 2017
I was interested in finding out how filmmakers experience the Independent Days Filmfest and Karlsruhe. So I interviewed some of them during my visits on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and asked them why they chose the Independent Days to show their film, how they experience the Festival, how they experience Karlsruhe and if they can say a few sentences about their movie.
Alexander Tuschinski, Film: Art! & No Reception
Alexander Tuschinksi is from Stuttgart and visited the Independent Days as a director, producer and filmmaker of the two films Art! and No Reception.
“This is I think the first Festival that showed my films. So, they showed my first feature film, Menschenliebe, in 2011. And it was a very special moment for me because as a young film maker just starting out I got so much encouragement from them. And since then my films have screened at a lot of festivals, in Las Vegas, Hollywood and many other places all over the world. But I always like thinking back on this first festival outside of Stuttgart that showed my films. Therefore, the Independent Days I Filmfest has a very special place in my heart and I always love coming back. It makes me very happy that they chose two of my short films, one of them a world premiere.
In 2011 already I could sense how passionate they are about the films and they truly treat filmmakers as VIPs. And now after attending many festivals all over the world I can say that the Independent Days I Filmfest Karlsruhe is extremely well organized and is a very substantial and important film festival. I saw how it grew over the years and still retained the same passion. It’s an intriguing mix of a truly independent spirit, great hospitality to the filmmakers and an elaborate organization which can keep up with many important events worldwide.
I like Karlsruhe very much. I’m from Stuttgart, so it’s not far away and I have been here very often. I have great memories of the town – visiting the ZKM, summers in the park behind the palace. It’s a lovely town and I met some great people here.
Both my films Art! and No Reception! originated as scenes from my feature film Timeless. During editing of the feature, I realized that two sequences would also work well on their own as separate short films with a little re-editing. That’s when the idea to create Art! and No Reception was born.
Art! is a satire, depicting a student’s arts performance. The town is a light, comedic one with some serious undertones. It was very exciting to direct this, as I got to collaborate with international actors: Helmut Berger – who has been one of my idols since I was a teenager, as I love Italian cinema of the 60s / 70s, and Zachi Noy from Israel, who is very famous in Germany for the “Eis am Stiel” (Lemon Popsicle) films. I had the idea for the film when I was at a real arts performance a few years ago and noticed how pretentious some of the attendees were. A bit later, I wrote my own “version” of a very serious “art” event which ends in chaos during a strange surrealistic slapstic-comedy scene. It was great fun to do – breaking fake glass-bottles, plates and cups on set.
No Reception is set at the Eastern Front in Germany, April 1945. When conceiving this scene, I wondered what would happen if two young people – one of them an over-the-top hipster – suddenly get transported back in time into a war zone. It is quite bleak and dark, although it has comedic moments. I originally wanted to end it on a comedic tone – but instead, wrote the very dark ending montage a few days before filming in order to portray the devastating nature of war and give it a stronger emotional impact on the viewer: In many war films and games, every situation seems “winnable” for the protagonists in some way. In reality, though, war is not ‘fair’ – which is what I wanted to show by the fate of the small group of soldiers and the time travelers. No matter what they do – they are outnumbered and deus-ex-machinas or filmic miracles are nowhere to be found. When filming, I strived for the greatest realism possible. I researched all uniforms and parts of the equipment thoroughly to make sure all is period-correct for the portrayed era. We got a very “dirty”, gritty look, inspired by frontline photographs of the time around 1945. Luckily, we got to film with one of the last drivable T-34 tanks in Germany, which was an incredible experience: Even as the tank was de-militarized (it can’t shoot and armor is weakened), seeing it in motion filled us with awe: A loud, heavy, huge vehicle that feels as if it can drive through everything, impossible to stop.”
Max Richert, Film: Walking Home
Max Richter is from München and visited the Independent Days I Filmfest as a writer, producer and director of his film Walking Home.
“Within Germany I’ve only submitted my film at three or four festivals and this festival stood out due to its high quality on social media channels as well as being highly recommended by fellow film makers.
Here at the Independent Days I Filmfest I watch a lot more films than I usually do at festivals. This is because it’s such a nice theater and also the quality of the films is really high. So I just keep on coming to watch more.
I experience mostly the nightlife of Karlsruhe, to be honest, as during the day I’m in the theatre. But it’s a lot more vibrant than I expected, coming from Munich. Very good atmosphere!
So for those who have not seen Walking Home, it is a very small film about two teenagers from different countries who bump into each other on the last night of their school trips to Italy. They share dislikes for their respective farewell parties and end up walking through the city together. After initial distance and reservations between them, this develops into a strong bond. The film is based on a true event – a school trip in 2006 to Lübeck.”
Sina Seiler, Film: Four Colours
Sina Seiler is living in Berlin and originally from Karlsruhe, she visited the Independent Days I Filmfest as a director presenting her film Four Colours.
“I experience the Independent Days I Filmfest as very familiar and international. Many different short films from all over the world are screened and show a various scope of filmmaking and storytelling. I find this very inspiring in comparison of watching TV. I would prefer to watch these various kind of films, especially short films in TV. Karlsruhe I experienced as a very green city, the people are very friendly, compared to Berlin, I like this palace and the fan-shaped-city.
My film Four Colours was screened at the public competition block „Trouble at the Kitchen Table“. From my point of view, the film is told in a very condensed manner. The film is about dreams that fail in everyday life. Everyone has dreams; often we does not fulfill them, because everyday life intervenes. I have told this topic by a relationship. It is about a couple that has the dream to emigrate to Mexico. Mexico I chose because it is a symbol for a colourful culture, dreams and something unreal to me. Then she becomes pregnant and the pregnancy serves as pars pro toto: It becomes clear that they aren’t suitable for each other anymore and that they have different dreams and ideas about life. I told the topic with the help of a conflict, which I find politically interesting. Therefore, I combined many different levels. I am happy to say, that my film is nominated for the „Best Female Award“.”
Max Blustin, Film: A Magician
Max Blustin is from London and visited the Independent Days I Filmfest as a director of his film A Magician.
“I chose the Independent Days I Filmfest to screen my film as it is a well-respected festival which has been running nearly twenty years!
It’s been very well organised and welcoming. Both the features and shorts programmes have been eclectic and diverse – I’ve seen at least one film (Children of the Mountain) which I’m sure I would not have been able to anywhere else.
This is my first time here in Karlsruhe – what a lovely town! It’s clean and calm and full of nice places to eat from what I’ve seen. The audience here is clearly very discerning and the Schauburg is a serious film theatre! The sound and image quality are fantastic, it’s been a privilege to watch my film here.
A Magician is an exercise in simplicity – it’s three minutes long, all one take. After previous shorts which have been somewhat more elaborate affairs, the concept for A Magician seemed to marry well with an approach that was not resource-heavy. It was important to me to achieve it in one take; I think the story is served better if there are apparently no ‘seams’.”
Robin E. Pipeleers, Film: The Barrier of Silence
Robin E. Pipeleers says that originally he is from Chile, but was adopted when he was three months by wonderful Belgian parents, so he became a Belgian ever since. He visited the Independent Days I Filmfest as a filmmaker of his film The Barrier of Silence.
“I am a filmmaker; my first short The Barrier of Silence had been nominated for the Newbie Award. I did not win, but met with some amazing new people! I learned about the Independent Days Filmfest through my friend from our production company Skladanowsky, Kevin Hoed. Last year he won the Newbie Award for his first short “Bleu”.
The festival is a wonderful place to meet fellow filmmakers from all over the world, it’s great to share thoughts and talk about film.
Concerning Karlsruhe, I can say I will come back! I really loved it! I was also stunned by the castle, which I think is a perfect movie location!
My film The Barrier of Silence is a drama between the lives of a CEO of a Chemical company Frederik Bulinckx and his personal driver Ivo Rombouts. A business deal with the Russians went bad. Ivo tries to talk Frederik out of it. They both have a personal history together. At the same time Ivo learns that his son has cancer. It will result in a dramatic climax. I was visually inspired by the films of Michael Mann. This short is definitely not a typical Belgian film or story. It was a great experience shooting for 5 days (4 nights) and was working with great actors and a wonderful crew, I’m eternally grateful! I would especially like to thank my DOP Cedric Vankerckhoven and my mom and aunt, without their support I couldn’t have made the film! And thank you Johanna for this interview!”
Christoph Rainer, Film: Pitter Patter goes my Heart
Christoph Rainer visited the Independent Days I Filmfest as a writer/director of his short film Pitter Patter goes my Heart and as a film lover wanting to watch great films in general.
“Actually I wanted to come for a while now. I had two films screening at IDIF in the past, but could never make it to the festival. So I am really, really happy it worked out this time. I think the Independent Days I Filmfest is a lot of fun. A wonderful community. And an impressive arthouse cinema (“Schauburg”).
Karlsruhe is a wonderfully calm city. Just walking around town was a lot of fun.
Pitter Patter goes my Heart is a bittersweet love story about Lisa, whose heart desires only one thing: a fountain of blood in the shape of a man. I made the film when I was madly in love (more mad than in love). So I couldn’t help but express my unhealthy feelings in this short film.”
Read also in my next article about the visitors of the Independent Days I Filmfest!
Title image & Sina Seiler © FugeFoto – Robert Fuge
Alexander Tuschinski & Johanna Wies at the Independent Days © Johanna Wies
Max Richtert at the Independent Days © Johanna Wies
A Magician © Max Blustin
Robin E. Pipeleers at Karlsruhe Palace, The Barrier of Silence, Robin E. Pipeleers on set © Robin E. Pipeleers – Johan Voets
Pitter Patter goes my Heart © Christoph Rainer