Born in Schongau, Germany in 1976, the filmmaker lives and works in Berlin and Finland. Between 1996 and 2005, he studied film and painting in Vienna, Helsinki and Potsdam. His video collages and films straddle the border between art and narrative cinema and have been presented in museums, galleries and at film festivals. He has won numerous awards, including the 2013 German Short Film Award. His films have featured a number of times in Berlinale Shorts, most recently “Burkina Brandenburg Komplex” in 2018.
What was your starting point for “Das Glitzern im Barbieblut”?
In this film I wanted to „hunt“ for special moments in daily life and find something in the patterns like an underlying truth or mystery. Usually when filming I already have a theme or concept in mind (e.g. birds) and everything I do is influenced by that mindset. But life doesn’t give a shit about my themes and good movie intentions. By looking for concrete motives I miss other magic moments. So this time I walked and traveled around and just followed what was happening. All together, I filmed for about 100 hours.
During the first round of editing, I connected scenes together with symbols (e.g. Mercedes star logo) or metaphors – so it became a condensed version of my journey of hunting for moments.
But then I thought, who was it really who was traveling? I felt a voice-over was needed and so I wrote monologues and dialogues. Finally, I introduced the fictional characters (a mother with two daughters) who experience these journey and reflect on their own lives.
Do you have a favourite moment in the film? Which one and why this one?
My favorite moments were those that I did not plan and could neither control nor rationally understand. One special scene in the film happened when we were filming with the actors (a mother and her daughters) in a meadow, and suddenly a young girl walked up to us and just sat down in the middle of our scene. She was simply enjoying being with us, and I was able to capture a beautiful moment in which she is tumbling around in the soft grass. In a traditional script this alien „visitor“ would have been removed, but here it was a gift which happened to illustrate the core concept of the film.
What do you like about the short form?
For me „short“ expresses that it is not limited and i love not to be limited. Even a 5776 minute movie can have the spirit of a short film. Do I want to want to work with a conservative/normative format like in Hollywood cinema? Everything other than 80-120 minutes is either too short or too long. That bureaucratic tribe of movie making is obsessed with „what’s possible and what’s not“…and it will have to die sooner or later. Free and radical moving images are choosing Youtube, Tik-Tok or other platforms.
Earlier I didn’t know when I started a film project how long it would become or what audience it could suit. Nowadays I can more easily sense if an idea or concept has the potential to become a one-minute clip, a multi-channel-installation, or a fantasy feature movie. Anyway, my main task is to get myself excited about working and not feel like a factory worker. My new approach to the feature length is to free myself and just make a 90 min-short.
Photo © Oliver Kochta Kalleinen