HER SWEATER, 25min., USA, Relationships
Directed by Jannik Ehret
After Desmond spends a surreal post-graveyard shift day with his enchanting co-worker Freya, he has to choose between following his heart and his own advice.
This project is based on a surreal first hand experience. The first version of the script was a verbatim retelling and felt like a Richard Linklater plot. As the script evolved to better serve the story, the theme remained the same: timing is more powerful than love. What compelled me to share this story was not its dreadful thesis but the affirmation that it became. Real connection is rare and should be managed with gratitude. In the end, timing was more powerful but the sooner I recognized the fantasy I could revel in the feeling verses deconstructing the result.
Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
The first draft of the script was verbatim a real life experience. Making the short was my way of processing the frustrations of things not working out the way I wanted them to. Despite this, the experience felt like a gift. Getting to be in a real life Richard Linklater movie. Even if it was only for a day. Showing the real Freya the final product was terrifying. I made the short for myself but having her approve the final product was emotional. I'll treasure the screenshot of her response forever. We're still friends to this day.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
About two months. Writing the script was the easiest part and took about a week. Casting, rehearsals and prep dragged on for maybe a month. Shooting only took two twelve-hour days. Editing maybe another two weeks.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
"Her Sweater" is the boring answer but it's the title for a reason. The project's thesis was: timing is more powerful than love. So I would probably have to go with "wrong time".
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
Maybe I'm cursed or maybe it's part of the process but every film project I've put my heart and soul into has been traumatizing for a different reason. This one kicked off an ugly friend-breakup with my roommate. His room was one of our locations so while heading with that we had to rearrange the schedule the night before we started filming. The fact that we got this thing made during the chaos of that time is a miracle all of its own and made me feel invincible for like a month.
According to the script Freya and Desmond are supposed to find THE SWEATER after losing it but our hero prop mysteriously "disappeared" during production. I hastily rewrote the scene the morning of and it ended up being one of my favorites.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I was surprised how insightful and accurate [to my intent] the reactions were. I keep learning things about my own story through people watching it. I think that means it's working. Either way, seeing people connect with the story and characters is heartwarming and incredibly motivating.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
Growing up in Germany my godfather used to tell me stories about the castles we would pass going to and from his house. I would draw my versions of what he told me via these big battle scene murals. When I moved to America and career questions started coming in, filmmaking seemed like the natural evolution of my visual storytelling.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
I don't like watching movies twice on principle so the list of possible answers is short. Probably my family's Christmas movie of choice: Love Actually (2003).
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
It's hard to gauge the public's reactions to your film without going to the festivals which often isn't possible at this level. Best case scenario you get an award but besides that submitting to festivals feels like launching your babies into the void. The audience feedback videos you guys make are a great solution. I can see a written version of that feedback working well too.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
The FilmFreeway is a great tool that centralizes and streamlines the whole festival process. There have been a couple instances of questionable festivals trying to make a quick buck. I've learned to do my own research. Besides that I can only recommend the site.
10. What is your favorite meal?
Sausage Salad (even autocorrect doesn't know what to do with that answer) I'm from germany. It's a pretty common meal in the south.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
I've written a lot since Her Sweater but producing something is such a grueling process it really has to be something special to make it out of the laptop. It's like dating. You spend years getting to know a script only to slowly fall out of love with it. That might sound pessimistic but I don't think it's wasted time. In love and in writing. I've been working on a horror feature. That will probably be the next project.