When and why did you decide to become a filmmaker? Tell us a bit about your background, studies, etc.
That’s a nice story actually.
Let’s say I was always very interested in films and cinema, and tempted by the possibility of creating anything you’d dream of, any world you could think of, in a movie.
And then I saw "Amélie" (Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain) when I was 18, just finishing high school, thinking and deciding about what would be next in life, what to actually do in life.
And after seeing "Amélie" I thought that doing something like this, creating something like this as a purpose in life is as magical and beautiful as it’s a challenge. So I decided that filmmaking is what I want to do.
I grew up in Innsbruck in Austria, a special place in the middle of the Tyrollean alps. Great if you’re into skiing, climbing. Also home of good medical university. But there is no proper film or media school there. Things have gotten a bit better over the past 10 years, but I knew that I had to leave if I wanted to become a filmmaker and actually make a living from it. I was lucky enough to have parents who have always supported my dreams and ideas, no matter what. I’ll forever be thankful for that. Too many young people’s dreams get ruined and killed by parents who deny to support their dreams. Anyway, my parents also made clear early on that I had to find a way to also support myself. Another incredibly healthy advice which is paying off big time these days.
So my decision was to go to Miami Ad School in Hamburg, to become a commercial director first, and later on move towards feature filmmaking.
I learned incredibly important basic skills there, about the advertising business, about the high expectations, the intense work load, fundamental software skills. And last but not least the fact that there’s many very talented young people out there working hard on fulfilling their creative dreams.
After 9 months though I figured that I would never want to work in an ad agency - a clear goal the school was guiding us towards. So I quit Miami Ad School, and went back to my hometown of Innsbruck. To make a long story short, I registered my own film production company, and started making my first film. A stop motion film for a short film festival, “The Unteachable Cube”. Working at the side in a bar - for obvious reasons.
One night I came back from work, and had an email from Michel Gondry in my inbox. Due to a lot of coincidences he got to see this film on YouTube and told me that he loved it. I was asking him if he was the real Michel Gondry and if he was that I’d love to work for him. He agreed and shortly after I found myself at his assistant's office in New York.
Unfortunately the reality of life had different things planned for me, and due to US work laws and regulations I could not get a working permit. Still, I had this strong, strange proof that what I was doing was somehow right…
Things continued like this. I kept working on projects. Did my first commercial for a hotel I was working at as a waiter back then (Whirligig Wedding) and got the amazing chance to do a short film for the Swarovski Water Schools.
Eventually -through old contacts and friends from my Hamburg months- I got in contact with production companies in Paris and Berlin, and signed with Stink in Berlin then in 2013. I also, finally, moved to Berlin in 2013.
This year I changed to Iconoclast Berlin now, a commercial production company I feel very comfortable with.
On the side however, I’ve been working on a feature film script together with my dear friend Marlaina Mah for the past 1,5 years. A film set to be shot in Iceland over New Year 2015/2016.
Das Badeschloss: How and when did you get involved? What were your initial thoughts about the project. Which challenges did you have to overcome to get the final results?
I got introduced to Friedrich Liechtenstein early 2014, and we kind of clicked right away. He was telling me about his amazing project “Bad Gastein”, a vision he had for years about this unique, partly abandoned old jet set place in the Austrian Alps. We agreed on working on it together. All he told me was that he wanted a music video for an album that was by far not done at that point. For a song that we both didn’t know at all back then.
He was a highly acclaimed underground artist, but mainly only known in the Berlin scene.
A couple of weeks later he released a commercial for Edeka (Edeka - Supergeil), a commercial that became one of the biggest German viral sensations ever, putting him in the spotlight and on front covers, making him a big star in Germany.
Things became a little more complicated due to that fact now of course, suddenly there was very little time for an arty side project. And contrary to what one might think, there was still very little money for that video. So little that at one point in early May the project was about to be canceled. But thanks to a small group of believers we decided to pull it through, against all odds.
The video was finally shot during three rainy days in late May, with a crew of 4 people. I was producing and directing it, also being the driver and my friend Matthias Helldoppler as DOP and colorist, Max Raggl as gaffer and Matteo Sanders as 1st AD.
Together with amazing support from the people of the city of Bad Gastein the shoot turned out to be intense but beautiful. And Everybody involved -and luckily many more people- are very happy and pleased with the result.
Why on the A-Cam dII?
The A-Cam dII offers everything this project was asking for. A dedicated, organic look. The depth of field of 16mm. The small form factor needed due to a very small crew and an intense run-and-gun style.
And most importantly, because I’m in love with this camera. It is the first camera for me that combines everything I love about analogue cameras with everything I love about the digital age of filming. It's a camera reduced to the essentials: 4 buttons; On/Off. And a camera that makes you -due to the size of the massive uncompressed raw files- think before you press record. A beautiful part of the analogue workflow that has almost completely disappeared these day.
What gear/set-up did you use? What technical difficulties did you encounter during shooting, what worked out very well?
We used the A-Cam dII with Arri S16 Ultra Primes. The zoom shots and long shots were done with a Zeiss S16 Zoom (I’m not 100% sure anymore, I think it was around 12 - 120mm).
A minimal lighting set-up was used.
What workflow did you use going from production to post-production?
I edited the video in Adobe Premiere CC, directly with the raw files. An XML of the edit was exported for colour grading which was done by Matthias Helldoppler on DaVinci Resolve.
What project do you have lined up next?
Next to ongoing commercial projects I’m currently finishing a short documentary shot in Nepal on the A-Cam dII.
Also, I’ll be going to Iceland again over New Year's, to finish the feature film script there. The financing and pre-production of this project should start very soon after that. An exciting next step.
I’m actually still considering to shoot it on the A-Cam dII, although I feel that it’s most important to choose a camera based on what’s best for the project. And considering the fact that the A-Cam dII is not the best low light camera -and the fact that shooting in Iceland in winter means a lot of darkness- it is most likely going to call for another solution.
RawCinemaShop hooked Clemens up with his A-Cam dII and helped him build a kit for it.