Your upcoming movie 3 Lives - in a few words, what is it
tells the story of Emma, a woman who wakes to find herself
trapped in an abandoned bunker at the sea with no idea how she got there.
She realises that there are two other victims trapped with her but all is
not as it seems - one of these men was sent to prison for attacking her
fifteen years earlier - and is her only means of escape from their savage
captors now. Not knowing who to trust, Emma can only run and try to escape
the demons of her past.
How did the project fall together in the first
place? And how did Thora Birch come on board as not only the lead actress
but also as producer?
The initial idea was going through different stages: I always wanted to
put my protagonist into a dilemma with no easy and morally correct way
out. I believe with the right trigger everyone of us is capable of
gruesome acts, may it be out of fear, to ensure survival or maybe
revenge. When developing the idea into a story with author Wolf-Peter
Arand it became clear, that the actual theme of the movie is how to deal
with your past, specifically if somebody has done you wrong. People have
I contacted Thora after my executive producer Stacey Parks suggested her
for the lead role, and Thora understood the entire subtext of the film.
We were thrilled to have such a talented lead actress for Emma. One of
Thora's requirements was to act in producing capacity as well, to ensure
the project is going the right way. For us, that was a no brainer. To
add her to the producing department definitely is a win for us!
What can you tell us about your
screenwriter Wolf-Peter Arand, and what's your collaboration with him
Wolf and I met when working on a sci-fi story called
Vitro and during the collaboration realised that we share very similar
ideas about theme, plot, and story. The brainstorming sessions became a
bit like a match, where we were able to pass the ball back and forth, each
building on the ideas of the other. That initial collaboration developed
into more projects, and I simply love working with him and his dedication
to detail. Wolf won't stop until the result is something we are both
totally happy with.
With 3 Lives being a psychological
thriller, is that a genre you're at all fond of, and how would you
describe your approach to genre-filmmaking as such?
If you talk about genre filmmaking in general you are actually covering
a wide range of subjects and genres. Personally I like action and sci-fi
the best if you talk about genre, however more importantly I like films
which have a substantial topic at their core: a valid moral theme. I
actually needed some time to realise that for myself. So, the best genre
films - in my point of view - are actually movies which touch profound
subjects but wrap it into a genre, so the audience enjoys the emotional
ride. During my visits at several film markets the last year I heard the
term "elevated genre". I like that term.
Regarding 3 Lives: there was a tendency at first to classify it as
horror thriller. However horror doesn't really fit the genre. The
Spanish have another term, called terror, which describes the horror
created by humans without the supernatural element. That actually would
have been a fit, but in the lack thereof in the English language we
believe psychological thriller is just the best term to describe the
danger which comes from within our characters.
right locations seem to be the one of the key elements of your movie, so
what can you tell us about yours, and where do you see the advantages and
challenges of filming there?
The story we are telling is purposely not set in a very distinct
environment. The story could happen anywhere, because it's a universal
story. The forest and the sea could be anywhere in Northern Europe or
North America. We chose specifically the Baltic Sea, because we knew
about the concrete bunkers, which dropped years ago into the sea and
just make an awesome scenery. For the specific forest location we
combined looks with accessibility. We have a very tight shooting
schedule, and therefore won't be able to travel miles and miles to get
to the next location. When doing the location scouting tour with Sysplex
Film in Hungary, we were able to find nice spots for all locations just
a 30 minutes drive from Budapest. Furthermore, we will be able to have a
base camp accessible via truck very nearby.
So far I don't see that many challenges from the actual locations
itself. However, our shoot is almost entirely outdoor, and that can
prove a real challenge if the weather doesn't play along.
What can you tell us about
the intended overall look and feel of your movie?
treating the forest as character in our film. The forest itself adds
atmosphere and is a symbol for the unknown, hence will be a bit scary and
mysterious. For the camerawork we have watched war movies. Our characters
are fighting their very own war in the wild, and that's something we will
you can tell us about your projected key cast and crew yet, and why
exactly these people?
Tom Lenk and Martin Kaps will star
alongside Thora. I worked with Martin Kaps before and actually never
really considered anybody else for the role. He was one of the first we
attached to the project. Tom Lenk came up during extensive research who we
could imagine playing Jamie. We had a deep discussion about the character
(of which I can't reveal the details, otherwise I would totally spoil the
film). However, I can say that he is perfect for the role :) I've had
various chances now to talk and discuss with Anatole - and he is truly one
great actor to work with. Always encouraging, and very positive thinking.
As for the crew: we are still working on it, but with my co-producer
Sysplex Film I have access to some very talented people in Hungary who
usually work on big Hollywood productions.
As far as I know, you're currently
running a crowd-investing campaign for 3 Lives
- could you
at all explain?
I have done crowdfunding campaigns before, and I believe it's a great
way to test your market value and your project. Nevertheless the biggest
asset a film has is the film itself. And the value of a DVD, a download
or a movie ticket usually doesn't exceed 15 USD. Therefore I personally
find it hard to ask for much bigger contributions. Crowdinvesting is a
nice alternative, because, first of all, we want to make money with 3 Lives, to ensure we can continue our career as filmmakers, and when
offering a real investment, the crowd participates in the profits.
We were looking into private equity investors as well (and still are)
but it's tough to find a single investor in the 200 - 250k range. It's
too much for a small, private investor, but way too little for the big
guys. The paperwork involved in investing 250k is as much as if you'd
invest about 1 mio. Therefore they usually don't invest in low budget
indie films. That's why we turned towards crowdfunding, to enable
investors to give small amounts of money and still making a difference.
Once your funds are raised, what's the
schedule, and even if it might be waaay to early to ask, any idea when and
where the film might be released yet?
Basically crew and
cast are ready to shoot. All we need is to close the funding. In the
crowdinvesting campaign we have announced the shooting date for September
2016, however, are evaluating the option right now to shoot earlier than
that (early 2016). I am in discussion with the production design
department and the DoP, if we can design the shots in a way, that we use
spring to our advantage, which means the new hope coming with spring
should contrast the story.
projects beyond 3 Lives?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Yes! I am working on a sci-fi
action feature (called Foster) in collaboration with a producer in
Hong Kong, and I have another mystery thriller on my slate. We haven't
decided if we shoot the latter in German or English.
website, Facebook, CineDime, whatever else?
The film's website: http://3LivesMovie.com
3 Lives on FB: https://www.facebook.com/3LivesMovie
The campaign: http://invest.3LivesMovie.com
(investments can be only done from within the EU and the campaign is in
German. The businessplan is available in English though, so just contact
me if you are interested through http://www.j-blockbuster.com)
else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
for the interview!
Thank you :)