How did you become a filmmaker?
From a young age I already felt drawn to pencil&paper and later on to good old flip-books… two things which paved the way to Animation. After graduating from high school, I was hired by a studio which had caught my interest because of their 3D animation environment. Being used to the role of the “difficult child” in school, it was a new and encouraging experience to jump into a field where my skills and joy would carry me. I moved on to a different studio in Berlin which was even closer to the world of 3D commercials. But I soon began longing for more artistic work involving storytelling.
So I started my studies at the HFF in Potsdam facing a very open but also empty desert of freedom. I worked around 3 years on one film project in 3D animation, fighting my doubts about the content I was about to create, before I grabbed the pencil again…
How was ”Abdullah” born?
he film Abdullah was “born” right after I quit the old 3D film project I had been struggling with for 3 years.
I was going for a walk at the “Kanal” in Berlin one day, when I had the idea to visit Abdullah in his new store for vintage glasses in Kreuzberg. I met his father there, and had a longer talk with him. In that moment I somehow felt the need to find out more about my Turkish neighbours, especially about Abdullah himself. Abdullah and I had spent some years playing table soccer in bars as a team, but I had only had a small glimpse of his life. So I asked him whether I could make an interview-based film portraying his life.. he said yes.
How did you finance the short?
Since the movie was made on wrapping paper, the budget of 2000 euros was sufficient. Rooms and equipment were also provided by the HFF. If you don’t have to earn a salary, drawn animation is a rather cheap way of production – in terms of the material, not in terms of time.
How did you make the short (Technically, artistically)?
The technical side was quite simple… because I had spent so many years in 3D computer animation, I had rubbed off all the edges of perfectionism within my work habits. When you work with 3D applications such as “Maya” or “zBrush”, you spend hours on things which, at the end of the day, turn out to be unnecessary… a painful but educational process when it comes to developing an eye for the key elements of a production.
So I worked with a pen on wrapping paper, making the best use of my available time. I also avoided the digital pipeline as much as possible except for two shots in 3D for camera movement and some added effects in 2D computer animation. The overall production took 11 months, which is a rather short time frame for animation.
Artistically I think one of the most important parts was the interview on which the story is based. It was done in winter in a small room in the back of Abdullah‘s shop, creating a familiar atmosphere. Luckily I didn‘t know his story myself so I was able to listen „with heart“. His openness created 3 hours of beautiful and very authentic material, which I had to cut down to 8 minutes. It was a gift that Abdullah‘s biography has such a clear line and climax and that we knew each other so well.
Where did you hear about Shortcutz?
Rita, one of the managers of “Shortcutz” in Berlin was in contact with the film distribution department at my school.
What are your plans for the short?
It has already been shown on several festivals around Europe and Australia. In May, “Next Generation Short Tiger” has invited me to the film market at the Cannes Film Festival in France. Maybe this will open up some new possibilities for the movie.
What are your next projects?
Right now I’m planning a movie about an old gardening teacher of mine who died a couple of years ago. My memories of his powerful personality and wisdom have stuck with me since elementary school. For some time now I have been curious, wanting to interview the circle of people who were around him, and maybe get a little closer to the core elements of his biography.
For more information about ShortCutz Berlin visit their site: www.shortcutzberlin.wordpress.com