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An Interview with Terence Schweizer, Star of Rooftops of My City

by Mike Haberfelner

April 2018

Films starring Terence Schweizer on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie Rooftops of My City - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?


Rooftops of My City is about a multinational girl in search of an answer to the question "where is home?". In this film my character and Lena share a similar cultural background, but not only that. Throughout the movie, we discover that we also share the same confusion about the question "where is home?"


What did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and especially taking into account you actually are a Swiss actor in the USA yourself, how much Terence Schweizer can we find in Oliver?


My character was purely based on myself since I was able to relate to the subject at a certain level. Maya Jasmin (director, writer, producer, and actress), gave me full freedom to rewrite my monologue at the end to make it more personal to myself which made the "acting" part much easier for me.


How did you become involved with the project in the first place, and how did you end up on the production side of things as well?


When Maya first wrote this short, it started out just as a scene for our reels and since we wanted to work together for a very long time, she asked me if I wanted to be a part of it. After I introduced her to a dear filmmaker friend of mine, he convinced her to turn it into a short film, so we all automatically started to help her out in the production side too.


What were the challenges of bringing Rooftops of My City to the screen from a producer's point of view?


The most challenging part of the producing side was to raise enough money so that it would be a good production, and that we could send it out to several film festivals too.


What can you tell us about your director Maya Jasmin, and what was your collaboration with her like?


I had one of the greatest experiences working with her, and since we have been friends for a while it made it just easier. Throughout the whole filming process, Maya gave me full freedom of choices, and a little bit in terms of lines.


Do talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


Thankfully I already knew everyone on set before we even started filming. I even have worked with some of the crew in the past which is why I recommended them to Maya, because of their talent. We did though have some technical issues at the end of our second and last day of shooting which almost forced us to reshoot everything from our last day.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


I recently booked a play called Music Between Us, it's an amazing new play that just won an award for best writing. The dates have not been decided yet, but hopefully we will bring it on stage in NYC and in London soon enough. At last, we also just submitted a play that we performed last month at The Frigid Fest to another theater festival called The Fringe.


What got you into acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?


Honestly, it was a series of events that gave me the courage to pursue my dream to become an actor. I used to spend hours every day watching movies, and then reenact them with my friends instead of doing my homework for school. Since acting isn't a common career to pursue in Switzerland, I started to look for other careers that I would find interesting, but at the end of the day my real interest would always go back to acting. After I graduated as a building designer, I finally decided to move to Los Angeles and start a basic training in acting at the Beverly Hills Playhouse. After a couple years, my passion for theater grew, and that's when I decided to move to New York City and have a formal training at The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute.


As far as I know, you're hailing from Switzerland but make movies in the USA - so what prompted that move, and how does the acting scene back there compare to over here?


I decided to start my career as an actor here in the US because the acting business in Switzerland is very small and even more competitive. In comparison to Switzerland, the acting business in the US offers a vast amount of great projects, theatre and film, to audition for. Even as a foreigner, the opportunities to make this dream reality are higher here than in Switzerland.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Rooftops of My City?


I have worked on a few off-off Broadway plays produced here in New York City, one of which won two awards, and several short films here and in Los Angeles that have been accepted and won various film festivals. Also, I recently finished to film my first feature film called Old Man & The Love that will be pitched to Lifetime television channel where I played one of the lead roles.


How would you describe yourself as an actor, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?


I would describe myself as a more serious type of actor. I typically use The Method as a technique with a little bit of my own "set of tools" so to speak. Each project I do, I like to try different things to see what does and what doesn't work to achieve that imaginary reality during the performance. Whatever works in the moment, I'll use it.


Actors (and indeed actresses) who inspire you?


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My biggest inspiration are Daniel Day Lewis, Gary Oldman, Christian Bale, and Robin Williams.


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Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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On the same day
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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
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written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD