Your new movie Hades
- in a few words, what is it about?
It's about a woman caught in an eternal dream, in which she has to pass
the five rivers of Hades to regain her memory. Each of the five
(symbolic) rivers, represents different stages of her relationship - so
in the end it's kind of a love story gone wrong.
What were your
inspirations for writing Hades,
and how closely did you stick to the short story by H.K. DeWitt?
The main plot is similar to the story. It also tells of a woman
waking up in a stranger's house, walking through the corridors in search
for her lover and finally finding out, what happened to him.
The dream and visual elements, as well as the mythology of Hades and the
five rivers were added for the film.
of H.K. DeWitt, who has also produced your film - what was the
collaboration with him like?
H.K. DeWitt is a close friend
of mine, so it was a lot of fun to work together. We gave each other input
and ideas and he was also on set for the shoot.
is not strictly linear and quite associative in its narrative - so what
made you choose that particular approach, and how hard was it not to lose
your story in the process?
Besides making films, I'm also a
painter. I feel that a painting can be compared to a scene in a film. It's
a moment captured in time, where you know that something has to have come
before and something will come afterwards - but the painting alone creates
an atmosphere, where the before and after is not necessarily needed. I
tried to incorporate this idea into the film. It could be seen as a series
of paintings. For me it was the most natural way to build up a story like
this. The editing was also a key factor. There were a few raw cuts of the
film, where the story didn't round up as much, so that was the main
What can you tell us about
your over-all directorial approach to your story at hand?
rewriting the film, I had a similar idea, about a protagonist who walks
through a huge house. Every room would be a specific song and the person
portraying the protagonist would change in every room (while still
remaining the same person). For this project I really wanted to use the
feel and aesthetic of giallo films, but without actually doing a giallo.
So it made sense to merge this idea with the story of H.K..
talk about your key cast for a bit, and why exactly these people?
Anna Heidegger is a fellow Austrian and
good friend of mine. Before becoming an actress, she worked (and
still does) as a model and was therefore perfect for this
film. Since there was no dialogue, all the emotions had to be
visible through expression. It's hard doing this in a subtle enough
way, but I think she did a great job and was very professional on
Cris Kotzen (aka Sascha Trapp) is a musician friend of H.K. and
since the shoot, a friend of mine as well. I'm also a fan of his
music and think his look is very interesting for the film. He has
very distinct features that create a certain ambiguity.
Lastly, Iman Rezai is also a good friend of mine, who I studied
Art with. He is an artist as well (infamous for his
"guillotine project" a few years back).
can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
We basically shot for fours days with a very small crew. It was mostly
just my cameraman Lukas Dolgner, H.K., the actors and myself on set.
It was a lot of fun, since we all had a good dynamic. I've collaborated
with the same team a few time since. I generally hope that I can do all
my future projects with Lukas, who is a great camera man and overall
good friend by now.
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of your movie?
So far it has been screened at around 15 festivals. Generally, it's been
very well received. It's gotten a lot of positive reviews, even some
awards and I'm grateful for everyone who took the time to watch and
I think people appreciate the fact, that it's a different type of film.
I was a bit nervous when it got released, because, while I like the
film, I'm never sure if my "vision" is too abstract or
inaccessible for the audience. But luckily a lot of people interpret the
film in the way I had intended it to.
It might only be a bit disappointing for people who expected more of a
"giallo". While I've lifted cues from the general dream-like
atmosphere that some gialli have, it is not intended to be a
future projects you'd like to share?
There are a few. We started shooting some scenes for TLMEA - the prequel
to Hades. It's with the same crew - slightly expanded, and tells the
story of Schweizer (Cris Kotzen's character) and Nordmann (payed by H.K.
DeWitt) who are undercover cops on a drug raid, but end up in the 8th
circle of hell. The story is very different in its approach, though it
also has a very dream-like, surreal atmosphere. Anna and Iman will
reprise their roles, as well as some new characters. I already edited
some of the scenes
and I'm very happy with the results. We'll continue shooting in
I'm also currently working on an anthology series, called Everyonce. It deals with shifts in reality or
"errors" in perception and each episode will be in a different
language. I already shot the first two episodes (German and French) and
have written three others that will be in Vietnamese, Russian and Greek. With this project, I like the idea of collaborating
with different people. A lot of the collaborators who will be in the
series, are friends who are artists, fellow directors, writers etc. I
think it's a great way to explore different ideas, that are not
restricted - so for each episode we can create an entire different
world, that is unique yet still somehow linked to the other
And when that's all done, I'm currently writing the script for my first
feature length film. If all goes well, I might be able to start shooting
at the end of the year, but I still need to get it financed.
What got you into
filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on
I studied Fine Art at the University of Arts
in Berlin, where I mainly put the focus on painting and gradually swept
over to video art and eventually film. We did have the opportunity to do
some film workshops at my university, but I never had any formal training.
What can you tell us about your filmwork
prior to Hades?
I wrote and directed my first short Nahe, fremde Welt
in 2009 and shot my second short film Was man nicht
sieht in 2012. Both are films that I'm ultimately not happy
with, but they were good to get experience.
In 2014, I directed the documentary film Auf die, die noch
existieren (For those who Still Exist) together with my
twin brother. It's about a boy I befriended in my childhood, who suddenly
vanished. Besides myself, none of the other children of the area can
remember that he ever existed. In the documentary, we go back to my
childhood home and revisit some of my childhood friends to try to find out
what happened. (Trailer:
would you describe yourself as a director?
There's a clear distinction between the
shoot itself and the post production. While on set, I'm already
thinking about how I want to edit the scenes and shoot it
accordingly, but I give the crew and actors a lot of space to
explore their own ideas. It's a very collaborative process,
In post production I am a bit of a
perfectionist and kind of a control freak. I do the editing and
score the films myself and usually have a very clear idea of what
the scenes look like. Usually I lock myself in my flat for days and
do the post production. Editing for 14 hours straight, sleep, wake
up - repeat. I get very obsessive during that time - but it's
actually my favorite part of filmmaking.
who inspire you?
A wild variety. To name a few: Michele Soavi, Alain Resnais, Gaspard Noé,
Richard Linklater, Whit Stillman, David Cronenberg - of course I'm also
a big fan of Jean Rollin, Lucio Fulci [Lucio
Fulci bio - click here], Mario Bava [Mario
Bava bio - click here], Dario Argento,
Lamberto Bava ...
I generally like directors who manage to create a certain style for
Your favourite movies?
dernière á Marienbad, Dellamorte Dellamore, Metropolitan,
Demoni, Hausu, The
Shouldn't Play with Dead Things … too
many to list.
and of course, films you really deplore?
I'm sure there are
many films I don't like, but none I can think of at the moment.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
You can go to:
for all updates on Hades and
for the interview!
Thank you for the great questions!