Your new movie Bruno
- in a few words, what is it about?
is a coming of age story about a teenager who grows up in a dysfunctional
family and therefore struggles with his own identity and sexual
What were your
sources of inspiration when writing Bruno,
and is any of it based on personal experience or the like?
my art is personal. I couldn't imagine to write, act or direct something
that has nothing to do with me. Bruno
is based upon my own struggle to
accept myself, especially as a teenager. I also had the honour to witness
some of my closest friends come out of the closet and I think it's the
perfect metaphor for the struggle of authenticity we all have to fight.
far as I know, Bruno
is your first film as a director - so why did you pick exactly this story,
and what made you want to try your hand at directing in the first place?
don't think I picked Bruno, I think
picked me. I had the
image of a single mother abusing her children in my mind for a very long
time and suddenly I thought about how her children would feel and the rest
of the story devolped itself in a train ride from Frankfurt to Berlin. I
directed another short movie and two theater projects before. I always
loved directing, because I love to take responsibilty and be able to tell
the story in my own way. It is awesome to put a team together, create art
and then hopefully change the world with it. Making art is very powerful.
can you tell us about your directorial approach to your story at hand?
Well, I wrote the script, so as a director I already had a good picture of the
story, that I wanted to tell. I let cast and crew in on it on a very deep
level and they understood, how personal I intended to tell the story. I
very instinctively choose the people I wanna work with, not because of
their resume, but because I trust their abilities as artists. I let them
feel where I want to go and then I let them loose in order for them to
show me their ideas. I also make sure that everybody is treated equally
on set and that everybody can contribute their individuality to the
project. So I, for example, was convinced that being close to the backs of
the characters would make the audience feel them very intensely, and when
I told this to my DOP, he came up with the idea of showing the mother in
the bathroom from a very wide angle, because we loose contact to her. I
thought this is brillant, and so we did it. With the actors I worked on
scenes that happened before our story, so that they were able to portray
a human being and not just deliver some lines. Since I am an actress
myself, I really take good care of my actors and make the crew aware of
the sensitivity of each scene, so that the crew is focused. Since Bruno is
the main character, I probably had the closest relationship with him. We
understand each other blindly and so I just made sure that he feels safe
enough to open up. Working with him is an incredible blessing and I will
definitely continue to do so. I am a passionate but structured director
and I make sure that my crew is as well. So every morning I talked to the
whole crew and prepared them emotionally for what we were going to shoot. I
kind of deliverd a motivation speech like a football coach and they
also play the lead's mother in Bruno
- so what can you tell us about the character, what did you draw upon to
bring her to life, and how much of yourself do you see in her? And have
you written her with yourself in mind from the get-go?
was clear from the beginning on that I will play Bruno's mom. The
character is a troubled and overwhelmed person. She struggles with herself because her husband just left the family and she doesn't know how
to handle her kids. As an actress I’m not afraid to go to deep emotional
places, so the role was perfect for me. When I was young, I witnessed my
own mother going through the same situation and I drew a lot from that
memory. I couldn't imagine somebody else doing a better job, so I decided
to play the role myself.
can you tell us about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
already wrote the story with the particular actors in mind. They are
students of my acting school Young Talents and we had been working
together for years prior to the shoot. So it was perfect, cause we
understand each others abilities, sometimes without saying anything at
all. I always wanted to extend our experince from class into something
bigger – and so I did. Bruno Bremer (Bruno) is one of the most talented
teenage actors I've ever met and it was clear that one day I was going to
work with him. He is incredible smart and not afraid to show himself in a
vulnerable place, which is perfect for me as a director. Jolanthe Pruefer
(Jo) on the other hand represents the perfect teenager for me. She is able
to show her anger and strength and she reminded me a lot of myself as a
13-year old. Ricco Boateng (Rick) is a very spiritual human being, who
lightens up your day and brings a warmth to every character. I am very
grateful to have been able to work with them.
talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere!
I produced the movie myself, I made sure that everything ran very
smoothly. After the shot my DOP said to me: ‚I’ve seldomly been on a
set so well organized!’ And it’s really true. Everything was set up
very carefully and my associate producer Hendrik Flacke, as well as Thomas
Koessler, who produced award winning movies for major companies such as Mitosfilm
beforehand, had been great advisers. The whole time the crew was
extremely concentrated and focused on the mission to tell the story. They
were all incredibly determined. That actually helped a lot.
$64 question of course, where can your movie be seen?
movie had its US premiere at the Out on Film in Atlanta on September 30th,
its European opening night at the European Filmfest in Berlin on October
6th and its NYC premiere at the NewFilmakers on November 23rd. We also
have been invited to the Kids First Festival in New Mexico and the
City Filmfest in India. This means Bruno
will be screening
worldwide, which is a major achievement for me as an actress, director,
producer and writer at the same time.
can you tell us about audience and critical reception of Bruno
press loves the movie. I gave interviews in Atlanta and Berlin and
everybody is very excited about the unique and subtle way the movie is
told and the combination of me being writer, producer, director and actor
in one person. Even the festival director from the Indian Garden City
Filmfestival contacted me in order to invite Bruno
festival. I am very honoured and I’m looking forward to hear more from
the audience itself. In Atlanta the audience was ver impressed and showed
a lot of emotion, so that festival director Jim Farmer decided to show the
Based on your experiences with Bruno,
could you ever be lured back into the director's chair again? And/or other
future projects you'd like to share?
remember on the last day of shooting I said to my producer: ‚I think
I’m the happiest person on earth right now. This is what I wanna do for
the rest of my life!’ So ‚yes’, I am going to direct again! I
am preparing a major theater project right now. It is going to be a
cooperation between the US and Germany. And of course I
will continue to direct my own scripts as well. I just finished writting Johanna, a spiritual journey of two women, who have to decide
whether to live or die, but someone else will direct it, because I am
going to play the lead role Ana. I will also finally play Lady
Macbeth in a Shakespeare adaptation for the award winning production
company Oblivion Films and I am very excited about it. And I can't wait
for the release of Katie Fforde: The Perfect Match, which I shot
with the well known director Frauke Thielecke in Boston. It is a TV
series, that's going to be released in January and I starred alongside my
famous colleague Diana Amft.
Your main claim to
fame is of course as an actress - so what got you acting to begin with,
and what can you tell us about your training as an actress?
I was 3 years my older friend Gabi hired me for her circus and ever since
I never stopped acting. I always did it and I love it and so I continue to
do it. Acting is a combination of art and technique and I like to balance
both. I train with famous coaches such as Susan Batson, who trains Nicole
Kidman and Tom Cruise and I also studied with Larry Moss, who is Leonardo
DiCaprio's personal coach. I learned a lot from them and I am very close
with Susan, since we are working on producing a show together. I include a
lot of energy work as well, which is a special approach, that helps me to
be very authentic on screen and stage.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Bruno?
first short I directed in college directly won a price at the Filmfestival
in Bavaria. As an actress, I've already started working on films when I
was still in acting school and the first movie I starred in went to the
famous Max Ophuls Awards. Schoenefeld Boulevard, which I did
with the award winning director Slyke Enders was screening at the famous
Munich Filmfestival and I am very grateful to have worked with her on this
At the same time as Bruno
is screening all around the world, the
webseries Storm of Knowledge, where I play a dedicated physicist, is
nominated in the category drama at the Webfest in Berlin. And it also
screens in another webfest in Dublin. My close friend, the aspiring Andre
Jagusch directed it and we had so much fun working on set together.
doing movies, you've also done your fair share of stage acting - so what
can you tell us about your career as a theatre actress, and how does
performing in front of a live audience compare to acting in front of a
camera? And which do you prefer, actually?
already started working for theaters in Germany while I was still in
acting school. I starred in Homeland 24 and in Harold Pinter's The
Lover. After I graduated I played the lead in Engagement in
St. Domingo directed by famous Tobias Kratzer and I had a lot of fun
with his experimental approach of the piece. Nothing better than smearing yourself with bodypaint, while dancing to loud music. The
audience was stunned and I could feel it. I also loved working with Ingo
Putz in Hildesheim, where I played the fairy in Dwarf Nose. I
remember a specific moment, when I came on stage and all the kids started
booing. In that second my heart broke, but at the same time I was very
happy, because I knew I was convincing in playing the villain. I love
being on stage, it is very exciting and can be a hell of a thrill when
you forget your lines, but also incredibly funny when you have the right
partner. Once I forgot to bring an important prop on stage and my
colleague saw it right away. We both started laughing and couldn't stop
during the whole scene. Well, we had to go on, that's stage. In theater
you also rehearse a lot and I like that, because you can really experiment
together as a group. In film I like that I can explore a scene very
deeply and I don't have to worry, if I can get there tomorrow as well,
because it is already on film. In general acting on stage or in front of a
camera is very similar to me. I always look for the essence of my
character and once I found it, I adapt it to the size of the room.
How would you
describe yourself as an actress?
am very well trained, I know my craft, I am incredibly passionate and
sensitive and I have an open instrument. People who work with me realize
this instantly. Once I fall for a project, I give everything I have and I
don't stop until I explored everything there is. I just love acting,
theater and film and I work hard to make a character come to live and be
an authentic human being.
writers, whoever else who inspire you?
best theater performance I’ve ever seen,was Marc Rylance in Jerusalem
on Broadway. He used his technique brilliantly and then opened up his
whole soul and therefore delievered such an universal message. He touched
me so deeply, that I started crying half way through the play and couldn't
stop sobbing 2 hours after the show. I also spoke to him afterwards and he
has such a humbled personality, that I can't help but admire him very
much. I also love Jeff
Bridges. He shows his personality with such a rare calmness in every
single character, that I really adore him. My most favourite combination
of actors in a movie is Sean Penn, Benicio del Torro and Naomi Watts in 21
Gramm. Naomi Watts also shows an incredibly huge range in Mullholland
Drive, that she's just an inspiring colleague to me. I’m also
inspired by Marina Abramovic, Bernie Sanders and Jesus. My favourite
character is Aragon. I wish he would be real and marry me. And of course I
wouldn't say no to Ryan Gosling, if he'd asked. I mean as an acting
partner, of course.
favourite movie is Alejandro Inarritu’s Amores Perros. It is such
a well done piece of work, that I just love it! I also like Out of the
Furnace. The movie is overlooked, but I have never seen someone act so
realisticly on screen like Woody Harrelson in this one. For most parts I
had to hide behind my pilllow, because I was so afraid of his character.
My other favourite movies are Blue Valentine and Little Miss
Sunshine. And I've recently seen Captain Fantastic, which is
just an incredibly beautiful and smart independent piece of art. Please go
and watch it!
... and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
rarely watch movies I don´t like. I either leave the theater early enough
or I don´t pick them in the first place. But a recent movie that for me
had a rather questionable approach was Whiskey Tango Foxtrott.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
you're dying to mention and I merely have forgotten to ask?
you very much for the interview. It was a pleasure talking to you.
for the interview!