Every year, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival collects a great selection of short films, made by film students and graduates from various countries of Europe. With their unique style, vision and brave mix of genres, the 10 newcomer directors of the Future Frames are showing a promising future for the European cinema. We made a short interview with all directors who got selected, meet Julia Furer, director of the short documentary Julian.
Director’s bio: After working as a photographer and on several internships in the film industry, Julia graduated from the F+F, School of Art and Media Design, in Zurich in 2011. A year later, she began studying Film with a focus on documentary film at the School of Art and Design, graduating in 2015 with her diploma film JULIAN which won the promotion prize from the Zeugindesign Foundation as well as awards from festivals in London, Los Angeles and Winterthur.
Julian: Julian has been living in an old warehouse for twelve years, building harpsichords. When he faces eviction from his live-in workshop, he is confronted with the fact that he has neglected himself as a human being; he is suddenly aware of his lifestyle, and of the ever more pressing questions about his future and his purpose in life.
What was your first thought when you realised you got into the Future Frames?
I actually was – and still am very honoured that I’ve been choosen for Future Frames. I see this as a huge opportunity for me to see how other filmmakers, producers and visitors think about my work, and at the same time also for me it’s a chance to see what other graduates have been working on.
How did you prepare for the festival? What do you expect from it?
Of course this festival will be very important to promote my graduation film Julian. But at the same time it’s also important to speak about my next master project “Bahija” and I see this as a good platform to exchange my toughts with other people from the film industry.
How is the film education in your school? Do you get funds for your short films there?
I really liked my school and apprecciated the way they teached us documentary film. I was able to study in a very small class with 9 other students. We had our own building of the departement “film” and like this it really felt like a little family. Also with the professors I always was able to speak about my project and they supported me 24/7 a week if needed. The school has an agreement with the swiss television. That means the swiss television chooses every year a few projects and supports them with a fund.
How did you meet Julian? Why did you decide to make a film of him?
I live close to the place where the old goods station of Zurich was standing and where Julian used to live. This area with its old trains and depots fascinated me and so I always went there in my free time to take pictures. So one day I saw Julian and immediately knew that there was someting special about this man. It was winter time, around Christmas and I felt sorry for him to be alone in this huge depot. So I bought some chocolate, mandarines, cheese and bread for him. And that’s actually how it started. I went to visit him twice a week for three years. The first 6 months we were just drinking tea together and philosophing about life. Always my analogue camera with me. Afterwards I started to film with my digital camera, not knowing where this could end or for what project this would be. I just knew that this was a speacial moment I had to hold on to.
How was the shooting? How much time did you spend with him?
I realized this project during those three years of my studies. All in my free time. Julian was a special man with a very special character so I knew from the beginning on that it would be very hard, nearly impossible, to realize the shooting with a film crew. So it was actually just me and him, and my camera. The shooting time was around three years. I tried ro visit him twice a week, sometimes just for an hour and sometimes for the whole day.
You don’t stay invisible, you speak from behind the camera many times, making the scene very personal and intimate. How big was your crew?
It was very important for me that this personal feeling will be part of the film. So i kept the setting very simple and small. Just Julian and I in his depot. No external help of light, special camera or sound. This film shows a chance encounter of Julian and me. I once tried to realize a “normal” interview set up. With good microphones and everything you need. But he hated it, was not confortable and not the same anymore. So I immediately quit this idea and went back to the way I was filming at the beginning. I was always talking with him behind the camera, we had normal conversations about everything you could imagine. Two individuals that have met in this special place, so I think it was also important that my voice found it’s place in the film.
What is your next film plan? Do you only want to make documentaries in the future, or do you have an interest in fiction too?
My next film will be my Master’s project. It’s called „Bahija – La Princesse De L’Ombre Noir (Bahija – The Princess of the Dark Shadow) and it’s about a woman from South Morocco, who originally came from Marabou, the heart of Morocco. She wanted to become an employee in a beauty salon and got a job offer of a man from Switzerland in a villa in Mirleft to take care of the beauty and health of the women and tourists of this village. But then she ended up in a story with many intrigues, and enemies and is now living alone in a villa, which is not hers, with neither electricity nor running water, unable to move and as poor as a church mouse. By herself, with a wild dog as a guardian for the house and who’s also taking away her fear of burglars.
„It’s a cold war“, she says.
I’m absolutely into documentaries and think that also in future this will be my film path.
Which directors inspire your work? Documentary or fiction?
Photography is very important for me. So before I start with filming, I always take my time and just take pictures of the place or the person I want to make a film of. For example, when I started the project with Julian, for 6 months I was just drinking tea with him, talking about life and taking pictures. After this step I knew the range of light, colours and possibilities this place or person has to give. Especially after being away researching, looking at the pictures at home again, they open a new world for me. I also always work with natural light or lamps that you can find at the location. I like to show the pureness of a picture. When it’s dirty it shall be dirty, when it’s cold it shall be cold and when it’s dark you should feel the darkness. I remember that the pictures of the documentary film Káin Gyermekei (Cain’s Children) by Marcell Gerő really impressed and inspired me. They seemed to be so simple and honest to me.so documentary film really inspires me a lot.
Director’s bio, short film summary, and photos from the official website of the Future Frames. More interviews are coming with the directors!