Your new movie The
Devil of Kreuzberg - in a few words, what is it about?
It's like a modern-day Jean Rollin film.
written about The
Devil of Kreuzberg that it "seems like a film misplaced in
time, it's highly reminiscent of genre cinema of the 1970s and 80s" -
a comment you can at all live with and your thoughts on this?
That's a very fitting description. Films from the 1970s and 1980s are
the most inspirational. If I have to choose between watching a film that's
just come out or an obscure 1970s film, I go for the latter. Contemporary
films are too cold, I find. There are however, some brave DIY homemade
epics emerging that show there's still some hope for independent cinema.
How would you describe your
directorial approach to your subject at hand?
I didn't really have the opportunity to direct much, as it was such a
shoot. We'd run in, grab the most basic shots possible and move on. There
really was no time for anything else. Two-three takes, that's it. When
you've got bagfuls of gear to carry your directorial approach tends to be
of least hassle.
can you tell us about your writer Pippo Schund, and what was your
Pippo and I go back a few years. He's a screenwriter and journalist. He
also made a film called Tollwut from his own screenplay. We first
collaborated on a short film Zärtlichkeit, which we co-wrote and acted in
together. It's a downbeat relationship movie inspired by the cinema of
Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Pippo is largely responsible for the fact that
I'm still an active filmmaker. Last time I saw him in Berlin, I was full
of negativity and told him I was quitting the whole movie thing. Later
that night we went to a cinema to watch Strange Colour of Your Body's
Tears. The film sort of gave us a headache, but some of it was also
So much so that a couple of days later Pippo sent me a new screenplay. I
got really fired up and made it into The
Devil of Kreuzberg. Pippo is a
Süleyman Yüceer, Sandra Bourdonnec
did the project fall together in the first place?
I ran into members of a kinocabaret cell at the Loophole bar in Berlin,
and their organiser, who now goes by the name of Ross Indecency, has
challenged me to make a movie in a month. It's their thing: you announce a
project, ask other members
to be in your film and help you with equipment, and in four weeks you have
to bring your film, no matter how rough and incomplete that may look. So I
took the challenge and in return cast Ross in the lead role.
think your film's musical score is one of its key elements - so do talk
about the music used in your movie for a bit, and were these all
pre-exisiting tunes or were they composed for The
Devil of Kreuzberg?
No music was composed specifically
for the film. I approached the Italian horror electronics act Spettro
Family about using some of their tracks and was lucky to get some of their
best tunes. The
Devil of Kreuzberg is also scored with tracks from my
regular collaborator Alex FLE Zhemchuzhnikov, and his various bands and
projects. Music is the most amazing thing in the world, and I like to give
music plenty of room in my films.
What can you tell us about
your key cast, and why exactly these people?
Sandra Bourdonnec, Süleyman Yüceer and Ross Indecency in a bar. I loved
Süleyman's look, he reminded me of a young Abel Ferrara and I immediately
approached him to be in the film. Sandra Bourdonnec is a singer and an actress. Miguel Sepreny, the DoP,
also has a small part in the film. The guys trusted my vision and stuck
with me until the end, they made the film possible.
about the shoot as such for a bit, and the on-set atmosphere!
There was a bit of a money shortage. Like we didn't actually have a
printed hard copy of the screenplay. It was either reading off your
mobile phone screen or writing by hand, cause printing stuff costs
money and that's something we didn't have.
We had 16 shooting days spread over three or four weeks. These
weren't all full shooting days, more like afternoons. I remember being
quite hungry. Twice a week I'd go to Real and would buy 7 or 10 Euros
worth of their own brand food. You know, the cheapest I could get:
some pasta, bread, eggs, tinned veg, a carton of milk. I remember
buying the cheapest biscuits I could get
for snacks and brewing the same teabag more than once. Thank god
Berlin tap water is potable, or else I don't know how I would have
survived. I remember living off my friends/lead actors. At least once
a week I'd pop round to see Ross and eat whatever was in his fridge
and another time my DoP Miguel would buy me a beer and Sandra would
often invite us over and treat to something substantial. Everyone from
Ralph the sound-man
to Sofia the actress would feed me. I remember falling progressively
ill, being feverish and sleeping 4 hours every two days. I remember
the rain. It would rain whenever we had exterior shoots scheduled. We
also had a massive storm/hurricane which made us retreat underground
and shoot inside
the Metro station while stuff was getting blown about on the surface.
I remember making crude storyboards and writing additional scenes
while riding the Metro to the next location. I remember being switched
on and in-the-moment at all times, which made those 16 days seem like
can you tell us about critical and audience reception of your movie so
Well, not many people have seen The
Devil of Kreuzberg. It's not been
properly released yet.
But I have people asking me when it's out on DVD, so that's the best
Any future projects you'd like to share?
I'm working with Carnie Films on a DVD release of The
Devil of Kreuzberg. Compliling extras for the DVD, which is due out in September
2015. We're making just a handful of copies, this release comes with
some short films and a behind-the-scenes featurette as extras.
got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
I worked as production assistant on a bunch of no-budget horror films
before making my own. I have no formal training.
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to The
Devil of Kreuzberg?
I made a short film Bittersweet
and a medium-length film Naked Trip. I also appeared in bit parts
in some DIY films, usually the ones where I was otherwise involved as
production person or writer.
You have made movies in the
UK, Russia, Germany - so how do filmmaking conditions and filmsets compare
in those countries?
If you find creative people who're on
the same wavelength it really makes no difference where the shoot takes
place. Countries - that's a very artificial
thing, it has nothing to do with cinema. My cinema is based on people, not
Filmmakers who inspire you?
Werner Fassbinder, Lucio Fulci [Lucio Fulci bio - click
here], Jean-Luc Godard, Jess Franco.
Fassbinder's Fox and His Friends/Faustrecht der Freiheit,
Coscarelli's Phantasm (1979),
Godard's JLG/JLG - autoportrait de décembre,
Lucio Fulci's City of the Living Dead
[Lucio Fulci bio - click here],
Larry Cohen's God Told Me To [Larry Cohen bio - click
Jean Rollin's Night of the Hunted,
Umberto Lenzi's Spasmo [Umberto Lenzi bio - click
... and of course, films you really
I'm not fan of bashing movies. So, no comment.
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
Watch my short films on YouTube:
Thanks for the interview!
Thank you Mike!