May 23rd 2013
Cannes screening for young Islander's short film
He’s living in Berlin and working with a professional music video production company. But film making is his first love and, 24 year old Kasimir Zierl, who grew up on Magnetic Island and was first inspired to become a film professional after winning the much-loved Magnetic Mango Film Competition, has now had his first short film, titled 'Echo,' accepted in the shorts category of the Cannes Film Festival. Proud of this young Islander’s achievements Magnetic Times conducted the following interview.
MT: How did you come up with the idea?
KZ: I work at a music label and one day we were shooting an interview of one of the artists and were walking in the park, by the time we got back to the car the windows had all fogged up. So I started shooting the streetlights as we drove past thinking that I would love to use them in some space travel scene, like in 2001 a Space Odyssey. However, whenever I looked at the footage I only saw cars, and streetlights, no matter what I did to the footage. And then out of nowhere I had the idea of putting a cool baritone voiceover on the film as though we were listening to the thoughts of a detective on a big case.
MT: Did the idea start with the light effects as in what might you be able to do with such pretty foggy lights?
KZ:Yes, the film started with the light effects.
MT: Echo is a kind of spoof of an old film noir storyline. Is movie history a major source of ideas for your film making?
KZ: Film history usually inspires my ideas. Yes, there is a great film noir called "Lady in the Lake" from 1947 where the entire film is shot through the detective's eyes. It is made so well that you start to feel that you are this bastard detective as he rummages around to solve the crime. There is a scene in the film where he leaves a suspect's house in his car and he is followed by goons, he tries to outrun them but they cut him off and they have a collision. My film is very much based on the rising suspense in this scene. It is the only scene in the film that makes me really, really, frightened.
I haven't been watching as many films in Berlin as I did when I was studying in Brisbane. After coming home from a day at film school I would race to the video store and watch a whole lot of classic movies, to get an idea of what the history of the art form was.
Since I haven't been watching that many films here, I have been able to focus on the films that mean the most to me, and remember the scenes or the stories that caught my attention. What I always remember are the scenes where I felt in the most danger, where I was excited by the scale or the scope of the scenes and especially good special effects.
MT: What sort of work have you been doing (mostly) since you moved to Berlin?
KZ: Since I've moved to Berlin, I've been making a lot of videos for non profits, or small companies or events, and I've been working on a lot of short films and so forth. If you take a look at my website (click here) you'll see some of them.
At the moment I am working for a company called the 55 Arts Club, and I am the head of video department. But this means I am directing live concerts, editing music trailers, making EPKs and making music videos. I want to get back into filmmaking, to telling stories, because, to be honest, I love films and not live concerts.
MT: How many other entrants are in the short film category?
KZ: The short film category at Cannes is HUGE, it could be a festival all by itself, the Cannes film festival is basically four parts. First: the red carpet with the big stars and the screenings of the major films; second: the film market where companies display their current films and look for buyers to distribute their films in different markets; third: the countries and their tourism departments displaying their countries to sell people on shooting there and fourth: the short film market where young filmmakers like myself show their shorts and search for interested people in the same genre.
The short film festival is about 150 films, so amongst all of this, everyone is searching for the exhibitors that would be interested in showing their movies. For me, I am searching for horror, thriller and action film exhibitors, and there are a lot here.
MT: Where do you see your work headed into the future?
KZ: I see myself heading up to making feature films, but I have noticed an interesting trend in online videos recently that they are becoming a very good platform of their own. I recently got into a group called Rocket Jump, who make a lot of action packed short films, and they have millions of people watching their short films, every week. I would love to get into this, and make a lot of cool short films and build an online fan base. From there, it is very easy to crowdsource a feature film through your fan base and sell tickets to it before it has been made. I think the future of film is in the internet.
MT: Was it important to you and your film making path that Magnetic Island had the Mango film comp all those years ago?
KZ: Yeah, lovely Magnetic Mango short film competition. That was the beginning. That was where we got together and started making films and realising how to do it. with Andrew, Michael, little Mark, James, Sam, Felix, Alex Ryan, Fabian, Ethan, Louise and everyone else. I loved those days running around the Island shooting films.
What is funny is that the first year we won, the second year we came second, and the third year we came third, but we were more and more ambitious with each film, in the end, the final jury decision didn't even matter, it got me started in thinking that I could make films.
MT: Has your upbringing on Magnetic Island been important to your development as an artist?
KZ:I notice it all the time living in Berlin that I am not actually German. I used to think I was when I was growing up, and say that I'd never sing the national anthem because I'm not an Aussie. but now that I'm here, I realise that I am an Australian really… I'm more carefree and fun loving and happy and jokey than all the people I know, (apart from the Irish - they are hilarious) and in Berlin you always see advertisements of people on tropical Islands sitting in the sand, and for everyone here, it is like, "wow what a dream", but I know where that beach is, I know where to go to be the only one on the beach and then go for a snorkel. Plus as kids on the Island, you can do what you want, go where you want, and all of this social strata stuff that happens in the city just isn't there.
MT: Is there prize money and if so how much or whatever is it that you win if successful?
KZ: My short film, isn't in competition, so I won't have a chance of winning, what I can do is get the interest of someone with a film festival of their own to screen it. and then if I win that I can get prize money.
I'll only have my short film public until the end of the festival, which is the 26th of May, so feel free to link to it up until then so people can see it.
To see Kasimir's film: (click here). The password is: dangerous