What inspired you come up with the idea for the film?
My friend told me about his brother having an imaginary friend as a child whom he was not allowed to talk to. I asked him, what would happen if this imaginary friend would show up now, just ringing his doorbell and he found the idea very creepy. So I found out more about this phenomenon that kids have imaginary friends quite often between the age of 6 to 9. That was the offspring of everything
Why did you want to tell this story?
I can’t really say I wanted to tell exactly this story. It just turned up in my head and as soon as I start writing something, it somehow seeks out its own path. The characters become my friends and I want to know myself what’s going to happen in their life.
How do you relate to your characters or subjects?
My father told me before the World Premiere that if people ask me this question, I shall answer that I just took the chance to work through and learn to cope with my childhood!
Which is not true at all, of course. I grew up in a loving family and had a wonderful childhood. But the house Freddy lives in, is actually the house of my grandparents.
We didn’t get any fundings for the film and everybody worked for no money so while writing it, I thought it would be a brilliant idea to settle the main story in my grandparents’ house, because I can get it for free. Naive as I am, I didn’t think a minute about, how much it would cost to pay the lodging for the team and the actors in a health resort like this.
In the end we had to shoot all the inside locations in Berlin and pretend that they were at the lake, because it was so incredibly expensive there.
What aspect of the story changed the most during writing and production?
The season. I wrote everything to happen in summertime and as soon as I knew that I would have to finance the film by my own, I had to change it to wintertime. It is impossible to find good crew members to help you for no money in the summer. They are all booked out and earn real money.
What was the most courageous decision you or your crew made during production?
Due to the no budget circumstances there where a lot of decisions people might find courageous, but for me the most courageous decision was made by every crew member and actor.
They decided to spend their life time, to work every day for no money, because they trusted me, that I know what I am doing. Even though it was my first feature film.
I still can’t believe this happened, when I think about it.
Where there any risks that you faced during production and how did you find a way to embrace them?
Well, yes. I slept in the set to take care about the equipment, because I couldn’t afford a security. And I couldn’t pay anybody else neither actors nor team members, so everyday I was standing at this window, where Freddy watches Paula’s house and hopes to see her come out and I was hoping that my team will show up. And they did. Every day. Sometimes even with a slight hangover, but they came. And shot the movie.
What influenced the visual style of the film?
Markus Selikovsky, the DOP is a very talented and experienced cameraman. It was like a gift from god that we got together. There was another DOP on the project who left when it was obvious that we wouldn’t get any financial fundings. Jessica Schwarz, the main actress, brought me together with Markus and it was an absolute match. We had very similar ideas what the film should look like and he did an awesome job.
What risks did you take to tell your story?
Well, I had to take all the money from my bank account, borrow the rest from my brother and had to convince a lot of people that the story was worth telling. And somehow it worked out. And it wasn’t even Christmas yet! haha
How would you encourage others to tell their story or manage through the process of screen writing or film producing?
Don’t let anybody stop you. If they tell you it is not possible it should just encourage you to show them that it is. Just because their minds might be narrower, you don’t have to adjust to that. It’s your story, your vision and it is just in your own head. They cannot see it now, that might be the only problem why they don’t understand it. Listen to your characters if it makes sense to them what they are doing, listen to your feelings and also listen to the people who want to help you with the story, but be careful, because they might want to tell something very different than you intended to.
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