Interview with director TIMM VÖLKNER

  • Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking is your way of telling stories?

I started out using my parents’ cable attached webcam to shoot clips that i later would edit in windows movie maker. I always liked to capture moments and edit them so that they’d express the exact emotion I’d like to convey.

  • Do you think it is essential to go to a film institute in order to become a successful filmmaker?

Of course not, but it helps a lot in terms of meeting people. Many film students end up working in their ensemble all their life.

  • Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?

For me it is always harder to get started, because once I’m in the project and I realize it has potential, it usually is so much fun for me to keep going, that I don’t think about quitting anymore.

  • What was the most important lesson you had to learn that has had a positive effect on your film? How did that lesson happen?

Be very strict with yourself, meaning that you really have to be honest to yourself about many things during the process of filmmaking. When I started out, my films were way to long and since i always had a personal connection with everything it still felt interesting, but my viewers were often bored to death. One time my uncle, who is a successful photographer told me that a film of mine was way too long and contained too many information to convey a single thing. So, in short… sometimes you have to kill your darlings and it usually feels good after. 🙂

  • 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?

My project was completely created digitally and animated. The only casting i had to do was finding the right female voice to speak the monologue. Everything in this film was depending on believable and authentic voice work. I’m happy we found Marisa Wojtkowiak. I loved her voice directly from the first second. The editing as always is a slow process of trying things and getting rid of them again until it feels good and until it also feels good after three days. I think as a director/filmmaker we depend a lot on external opinions and viewer experiences, so speaking to others and think more outside the box to see the bigger picture is crucial sometimes.

  • What was the hardest artistic choice you made in the making of a film, at any stage in production?

Choosing the right and the right amount of colors seemed like a very important thing, because it sets the base of the visual mood. I wanted something dark, but still friendly. In the end I gave every color a name, like fullmoon blue or itchy yellow.

  • You are a collaborator. How have you discovered members of your team and how do you keep the relationship with them strong?

Since it was a project i realized at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, almost all people of my team are also students from there. At this film school you can study almost every department, so it’s easy to find people. Apart from that I always tried to connect to people who’s work I loved from a very earl point during my studies. Marisa, the voice actress was found by a standard voice casting.

  • What do audiences want? And is it the filmmaker’s role to worry about that?

I think in the very essence people want to be entertained, it is hard to define what that actually means, since some people want something serious and more grown up and others prefer action and big pictures. So in my mind it is important for the filmmaker to tell the story he or she wants to tell without thinking too much about who might like it. Only this way it stays authentic, I guess.

  • What role have film festivals played in your life so far? Why are they necessary? How do you get the most out of them?

I have visited a couple of them now and connecting with like-minded people and visiting new places/cities/countries is wonderful and very important, because it shows you that usually it’s more important who you are than where you’re from. Also it is very inspiring and exciting to see other nominated projects you might be up against in a competition, to see projects and concepts you  never could have had come up with.

  • Do you believe that a filmmaker should be original and fresh or he/she should stick to classic but safe cinema style?

I think a filmmaker should learn the rules, but only break them if he/she wants to. There are no rules about sticking to the rules. I think a broad variety is important in any creative fields.