Your new movie TLMEA
- in a few words, what is it about?
H.K. DeWitt: (sighs) Kevin, you start..
Kevin Kopacka: It's about two undercover cops, caught in a dream during
a drug raid, in which they descend down the 9 levels of hell - finally
landing in the Ptolomea. The lake of ice on which sinners are forever
With your movies
being about the Circles of Hell, how much research did go into that
aspect of your movie, and to what extent is the film actually based on
KK: How about you take this one.
H.K.: Yes, good question. I remember it from school basically.
KK: I've read Dante's Divine Comedy a long while back, so for writing
this I had to fresh up on a lot of it.
I'd say the film is not literally based on Dante's Inferno, there are
much better films who already did this (Jigoku for example).
It's more of a structural narrative.
While I believe in a lot of things, damnation is not one of them. The
hell in our films is the hell you create yourself.
Other sources of inspiration
when dreaming up TLMEA?
KK: For this film, it's honestly hard to say. Before we started
shooting, the two films I urged the crew to watch were Kill
List (for the atmosphere) and Tales from the Hood
(especially for the end). There's also a small Mortal Kombat
influence, at least for me. But in general, I couldn't really say what
really inspired it. The story kind of developed in the process.
H.K.: Training Day.
What was your
collaboration like when writing TLMEA?
KK: H.K. and I met through a mutual friend around 8 years ago and
basically share a lot of similar tastes in music and film. He's a writer
and journalist, so it was only natural that we'd collaborate on some
H.K: As for collaborating, a lot happens from just hanging out
together, after the main structure is finished. Blablabla, put that in
…. and I would say that no matter who has a certain idea, once we've
settled on a basic theme for the film we work through the plot together.
And since it's a trilogy, we both have the same basic frame in mind -
and we basically already talk about things as if they're finished, even
if we're still in development phase. Anything to add?
KK: Lukas Dolgner (who again did the camera and lights) also helped a
lot in the pre production phase. And it's just a lot of fun to work
has been called a sequel/prequel to your earlier movie Hades
- so how are the two movies linked?
H.K.: Well, in the end it's the sequel. It's about the same couple …
KK: I'm going to write "long pause". You forgot the question?
H.K. (laughs) Yes, please write that.
KK. We can make it really meta, if I write down in the interview that
I'm going to write down "long pause".
KK: Ok, we're drifting of ... every time people ask about the plot.
H.K. Do it, it's a great idea.
KK: (laughs) Ok, so just have the answer end with "long
isn't exactly linear in its storytelling - so do talk about your movie's
narrative approach, and how hard was it to not just lose your story in the
H.K. I think we both find it interesting that there's no pressure to
tell everything in a narrative way, because the first two parts of the
trilogy are a bit more dream-like than the final part. The final part
will be - at least the way I see it - set in the real world. In the real
here, outside of the dream world.
KK: I agree - the third one will be the most dream-like of the films.
I think we both like experimenting with different forms of narration.
There are enough movies already out there that follow the same rules of
how a film should be structured. Once we started breaking those rules,
we had complete freedom to do what we want - narratively as well as
But it was actually a big challenge, especially during the edit. The
whole order of the scenes is completely different in the final cut than
it was in the script. I think there are 12 different edits of the film,
most of them are completely different films than the end result. I think
the final version is quite well balanced and finally works the way we
intended it to.The film is not impossible to understand - all the
pieces are there.
What can you tell us about your directorial
approach to your story at hand?
KK: Since I edited the film myself, I could kind of guide the shoot in the
way I would later want to edit it. But basically I'm very open when
directing, everyone can feel free to give suggestions or opinions - so
it was a lot of team work.
Coming from painting, of course I still have a visual fetish for a few
things that I really wanted to include. On set it became a bit of running
joke, that I wanted to force different colored lighting into every scene.
I would go: "Hmm .. what about we add just a little bit of red?"
and the whole crew would roll their eyes.
Do talk about your cast,
and why exactly these people?
H.K.: Philip Grüneisen who plays the boss is an actor I studied
with. We were also lucky to get UFO 361. I contacted him when his
first single had just come out, we never knew that he would blow up like
KK: Yes, he was very cool to work with. Basically the cast of Hades
reprise their roles again and we added a few new people. Anna and Cris
Kotzen were as always really easy and great to work with. .
I had worked with Philipp Droste for a short I did called Nobody Can
Take Your Place and I saw a stageplay with him and David Garzón
Bardua and I could immediately see the two as the cops bullying
Nordmann. Frederik von Lüttichau only has a small role in this film,
but I will be collaborating with him more often for future projects,
he's a very interesting actor. Jonas Hofrichter who plays Anat is a
fellow painter and sculptor I studied together with. He's also such a
nice and gentle person, a bit strange compared to his menacing looking
character in the film. Basically for us it's very important to work with
people we get along with on a personal level. That's why the shoots were
always so relaxed.
What can you tell us about
the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
H.K. I think we really did have a "set feeling" this time.
Funnily enough even here … where I live. Write in brackets "with
here, I mean here*" (*With "here" H.K. is referring to
his flat, which we used for the raid scenes during the shoot.)
And you'd have people ringing, quite early at around 9am, coming up with
their coffee to go, get dressed … the kitchen was full of warderobe.
It had a bit of … flavor.
KK: I really enjoyed the shoot, it was all very harmonious. We never
felt really stressed, everything worked out as planned. I don't know,
should we mention that we were pretty stoned most of the time?
H.K. I was quite drunk for some scenes. In the final scene with me in
the back of the car with Iman, you can clearly see it. It was the last
scene we shot and I was already quite intoxicated. Anything else? Oh,
and it was nice to have new people in the film crew. Tim who did the
special effects for instance, he was nice. And of course Philipp Droste,
who played Till Hager. I'm a big fan of him.
$64-question of course, when and where will your film be released onto the
KK: It will probably be released on VOD
soon - though I'm not sure where yet. With short films it's also hard to
find distribution, so maybe a release when all three parts are finished.
Anything you can tell us about audience
and critical reception yet?
H.K: For me, as someone who's not in the "scene" or that close
to the genre, it's a bit harder to say. Kevin handles all of that and
reads all the comments and reviews and sends out all the press materials
.. so far the reception was very friendly. I'm constantly waiting for
the the first negative review - because I like to rage sometimes. When YouTube came out I used to be in the comment section hating on other
people who hated on the videos. So the negative reviews are a part of
KK: There was actually one review that came out recently. It was
actually quite positive, but it did mention that he felt that Nordmann's
"yo momma" joke in the kitchen kind of ruined the moment for
that one scene.
H.K. The scene in the kitchen?
H.K. Well that's also because I freestyled with the dialogue. (Note: All
of Nordmann's dialogue was completely improvised.) Nordmann makes stupid
Benny Hill-type jokes and says inappropriate, sexist things, so it's
fitting that he would say something like that.
KK: That's true. The film hasn't had a wide audience outside of a few
screenings, but generally the reception has been very positive so far.
Most people say that they didn't understand the film but still kind of
liked it. The film is of course very niche, so I'm sure a lot of people
will have trouble with it.
Any future projects you'd
like to share?
KK: I'm currently working on a pilot for a series, inspired by Tiziano
Sclavi's Dylan Dog. I will be co-directing this with Alex
Bakshaev interview - click here].
We're currently in production phase for that and will probably shoot in
Afterwards we'll start working on part three of the hell trilogy -
and I'm always kind of working on my first feature length film, though
that might take a bit to get financed.
H.K: Yes, Kevin is doing his projects … but I also feel that before
the third part of the trilogy we'll also collaborate on a short project.
Maybe a 2-3 minute project?
Your/your movie's website, Facebook,
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Here you can also see most of the public videos:
Thanks for the