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An Interview with Kevin Kopacka, Director of Hades

by Mike Haberfelner

January 2016

Films directed by Kevin Kopacka on (re)Search my Trash

 

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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.

 

Speaking 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.

 

Hades 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 challenge.

 

What can you tell us about your over-all directorial approach to your story at hand?

 

Before 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..

 

Do 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 set.

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). 

 

What 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. 

 

Anything 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 review it.

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 "Neo Giallo".

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

TLMEA

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 mid February.

 

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 "worlds"

 

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 the subject?

 

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: https://vimeo.com/110380417)

 

How 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.

 

Filmmakers 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 themselves.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

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L'Année dernière á Marienbad, Dellamorte Dellamore, Metropolitan, Demoni, Hausu, The Beyond, Children 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.

 

Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?

 

You can go to: https://www.facebook.com/hadesthemovie for all updates on Hades and TLMEA

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

Thank you for the great questions!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
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