- Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking is your way of telling stories?
I think telling stories is a basic human need. We are all doing it all the time. Movies beautifully combine moving pictures and music in an unique way. When I realized the potential of the medium film, I knew that this is the way I want to tell stories.
- Do you think it is essential to go to a film institute in order to become a successful filmmaker?
No, I don’t think it is a necessity to go to a film institute even tough I did it myself. I think there isn’t one given way to become a filmmaker but rather many different approaches. In my opinion this is good for the industry because a lot of different people with different backgrounds and ideas are making movies together.
- Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?
I think it is harder to get started because there are so many things you don’t know about making movies when you start out and it can be a bit overwhelming at first. But if you get into making movies it becomes some sort of addiction.
- What was the most important lesson you had to learn that has had a positive effect on your film? How did that lesson happen?
I think a lot of young directors can be a bit over protective of their projects and are therefore not listening the to criticism and are not open to ideas. On set I quickly realized that everybody has your best interest in mind and wants the project to be a success. That realization made the whole shoot a fun and collaborative experience.
- What were the production realities from casting through editing that you had to accommodate? How did you navigate those compromises or surprises and still end up with a cohesive film?
The ending of Summit of Solitude was very different in the original script. The realities of production showed us that there wasn’t enough time to go to the last location in the script. So I changed the script two days before shooting. The last scene is playing out at a lake now and is quite frankly one of my favorite scenes in the whole movie.
- What was the hardest artistic choice you made in the making of a film, at any stage in production?
There are a lot of those decision while making a movie. For example there are scenes that are in the script from day one and it is really hard to erase those from the script but the saying “kill your darlings” is important to remember.
- You are a collaborator. How have you discovered members of your team and how do you keep the relationship with them strong?
Most of the members of the team were students from the University of Applied Sciences Salzburg but also some that already finished there education. I think it is important to help each other out and be open, friendly and helpful on set (no matter what job you are doing) to build a strong relationship with your team. As a director it is imperative to know what information each department needs to do their best job.
- What do audiences want? And is it the filmmaker’s role to worry about that?
An audience wants to be entertained. Although being entertained can take many different forms. A sad, thought provoking film can be entertaining as well. The job of the filmmaker is to make something that is worthwhile.
- What role have film festivals played in your life so far? Why are they necessary? How do you get the most out of them?
Film festivals are a great way to get your film out in the world and to meet fellow filmmakers. They are necessary to build a network between filmmakers especially in Europe where the movie industry is not as centralized as in the United States. To get the most out of a festival go there and have a great time 🙂
- Do you believe that a filmmaker should be original and fresh or he/she should stick to classic but safe cinema style?
It depends on the project itself. Rules are made to be broken but to break them in a meaningful way you got to know and understand them.