Axolotl Overkill (World Cinema Dramatic Competition)
Who: Helene Hegemann, director and writer
Logline: Sixteen-year-old Mifti falls in love with a white collar criminal twice her age, and tries to survive among wealthy grown-ups who behave like adolescent maniacs.
The length of the shoot was: 24 days
Our crew size was: 35
Our camera, lenses and lighting package were: Vantage and Maier Bros.
The first spark of an idea for this movie came when: I published my novel (on which the film is based) in 2010 and a few companies wanted to buy the movie rights. They told me their half-baked ideas, and I suddenly felt the obligation to make the film by myself.
Budget range: $1-2 million
My favorite scene (or shot) in the film is: an unusual family dinner. Two half sisters, a new stepmother they have never met before and their patriarchal father, played by Bernhard Schütz, who talks about Islamic terrorism as a contemporary career path.
An audience watching my film probably won’t know that: the penguin is my personal covert advertising for Linux!
The weirdest or most difficult location we shot at was: the Antivilla, the Berlin weekend house of the amazing architect Arno Brandlhuber. We hired security guards, because we were so scared that someone would accidentally destroy one of his super expensive, unrecognizable artworks.
The most expensive thing in our budget was: the penguin!
The greatest flash of inspiration or brilliance we had making this film: Instead of buying 200 extras for the wedding scene, we invited our friends and had a great party.
The biggest lesson I learned making this movie: Give the people you work with the possibility to do things they wouldn’t be allowed to do anywhere else.
A darling I had to kill along the way was: a scene in which Mifti gives an explicit lecture to a 4-year old boy about why he should never, ever spank a woman’s ass (that is, if she’s not his girlfriend).
I need to give a special shout-out to: my lead actress, Jasna Fritzi Bauer, without whom the film wouldn’t be watchable.
When I heard we got into Sundance I: acted much calmer than I actually was.
I’m most excited about seeing the film The Wound by John Trengove this year.
My favorite moviemaker of all time is: John Cassavetes!