World premiere in Cannes, Critics' Choice winner and a Golden Globe: things could not go any better for the Hamburg-based In the Fade director Fatih Akin and producer Nurhan Sekerci-Porst.
In the Fade centres on a woman seeking revenge after her husband and son's death. What drew you into this story?
Fatih Akin: There is an initial driving force behind every one of my film ideas. This time it was the murders committed by the NSU. Initially, all I know is: I want to show that I disapprove of the Nazis in this country. And then new ideas pop up as I write. I'll think of a character — this time it was a mother — and I start observing mothers; then new levels develop — a bit like an onion that you slowly peel. I try to tell a story the way I know it best. The world in which it is set, the characters that appear in it, the emotions that they have; essentially, it has to be in the most autobiographical way possible.
In the Fade was your first cooperation with Warner Bros. How did that come about and how did it go?
Nurhan Sekerci-Porst: We had actually established contact a number of years ago, when we were working on a children's film and looking for a distributor. A few months later Fatih and I met with Willi Geike (Executive Director at Warner Bros, Ed.). At some point the conversation turned to In the Fade, and that marked the starting point for our cooperation. Willi Geike has a lot of experience for which he is highly valued in Germany as well as in Hollywood. Willi liked the story, Fatih's talent and Diane Kruger, and he put together a wonderful team that really supported us and respected our artistic decisions. It was a very important experience for us.
In the Fade was shown simultaneously in repertory cinemas and in multiplex theatres. How do you manage to combine high artistic demands with cinema for the masses?
NS-P: As if we keep doing that (laughs). Let's say there are a number of interesting factors here that move people from their couches into the cinemas. The film's star is Diane Kruger. She appears in every image and you never tire of seeing her grief and her self-doubt, which she plays very well. And then there's Fatih who has a major fan base and who has made a very personal film with huge societal relevance. That's a big magnet, also for commercial cinema. The Warner test screening should not be underestimated, either, which took place before the final cut. The audience answered a questionnaire, and the answers made it quite clear that the target group was very broad. So we changed a few details in the editing.
Many fans were surprised with the choice of Diane Kruger as the main actress. Why was she your perfect cast?
FA: I generally like unusual casting. People with interesting faces and biographies, with a certain elementary power. It seeps into the whole film. I don't want to cast the "who's who" of the German yellow press. Diane Kruger may appear in the yellow press, but not in Germany. Even though she is from Lower Saxony, people here are unfamiliar with her work and have an entirely false image of her.
Are you now rectifying this image?
FA: No, I am complementing it.
Fatih and Nurhan, the two of you have been collaborating for more than ten years and you co-founded the production company bombero international. How did you meet and how has your cooperation changed over time?
NS-P: We have been friends for more than 20 years and at some point Fatih needed an assistant. It was with Crossing the Bridge that he asked me. I was graduating at the time and welcomed the change from English literature and political science. My work then ranged from shooting a music video in Istanbul to assisting his teaching at the University of Fine Arts. Later I accompanied his documentaries as assistant director and producer, alongside international projects such as New York, I Love You. I followed his every move, and had, what he calls "street credibility (laughs). When we founded bombero in 2012 and produced The Cut, he asked me if I would direct his company.
Your next film is also set in "Hamburger Berg" — in the bar "Zum Goldenen Handschuh". Can you tell us more?
NS-P: We will make an adaptation of Heinz Strunk's novel Der Goldene Handschuh. It's about the serial killer Fritz Honka and is artistically interesting as well as speaking to a large audience. We plan to begin shooting in the late summer. FA I bought the rights to the book Der Goldene Handschuh and want to make the adaptation. I have a clear vision of the film. It will be a hard-core slasher movie, but with comedic elements. Horror always goes well with comedy, and the book lends itself to that.
Titel: bombero int/Warner Bros. Entertainment/Gordon Timpen
Fotos Golden Globes: Filmstiftung NRW/ Reena Rose,