In Conversation with Boris Seewald
Boris Seewald is a film director who was raised in Central-West Germany, he first ventured into digital media through design and played music in various bands. He moved to Berlin in 2005 with a clear intention of pursuing a career in film, and began work on his own film projects and developing work experience. Owing to his innate ability to coordinate image and sound, Boris seeks his form of expression in the rhythmical illustration of music. His latest short film Momentum was screened at numerous international film festivals and received 6 awards in Ukraine and Germany. The film was chosen as part of the official selection at over 20 film events including festivals in Canada, USA, Hong Kong and UK.
View of the Arts: We have been asking the directors, who participated in the Let’s All Be Free Film Festival, about their experience. Did you find the festival interesting?
Boris Seewald: I think it was a very unique festival and I haven’t experienced a festival based on that certain topic so far. I find it fascinating how many different movies were there based on the question ‘What does being free mean to you?’.
View of the Arts: One of your short films, Momentum, was screened at the festival, what’s the film about?
BS: In reference to the theme of this particular festival, ‘Momentum’ starts out as a short documentary-styled expression of an individual’s personal story, starting from a moment of self discovery inspired by a tortilla chip. It builds up as he shares how not caring what others think about you can liberate one’s sense of freedom which he expresses through dance. He invites everyone to participate, including his mother.
View of the Arts: How would you define freedom and what does being free mean to you as a director?
BS: Tricky question… that leads to a bigger discussion, I guess, and that’s what was discussed during most of the festival. In a few words: not being afraid of failing when you do your film. Not thinking beforehand what will come out of the movie and whether it will be successful or not. Trying to be free from the limitations of overly pre-produced and conceptualized ideas.
View of the Arts: You have screened your short film at different international film festivals, which of those festivals was the most memorable one?
BS: The most memorable was the Cindans Festival in Amsterdam; a dance film festival, and ‘Momentum’ won the 1st Prize there. It was the first big prize I ever won and it felt like a recognition for all my hard work. The festival took place in the brand new ‘Eye’ (dutch film institute) building and its architecture is very impressive. At the same location there was an exhibition about Oscar Fischinger and his visual music works, I am a huge fan so it was a bit like paradise for me.
View of the Arts: What’s the situation on filmmaking in Germany? How hard is it to raise funds to make shorts or indie films.
BS: This is a hard question to answer because I can’t compare the situation to other countries and I haven’t done a feature length film yet, but what I can say is that there is a lot of paperwork! Since Germany is famous for it’s bureaucracy I can imagine it might seem like an overload of forms to fill out for other countries. Basically it is good to at least have a short which has participated at recognizable festivals before applying for film funds, e.g. the German Federal Film Board.
View of the Arts: What’s your opinion on crowdfunding such as kickstarter or indiegogo?
BS: It is a very good opportunity to finance a film and not being too dependent on national film funds. Sometimes it seems so easy when you hear stories about how much someone raised. But to raise a big amount of money via crowdfunding is a full-time-job and this should be taken into consideration. It is much more work than it seems.
View of the Arts: What’s next for you?
BS: I am still in the festival circuit which is keeping me quite busy, but I want to use the success of ‘Momentum’ to finance my next project. Right now I am in the development stage of my next project and at the same time in the process of editing a little short.
Interviewed by Maggie Gogler.
Edited by Roxy Simons.
Above picture courtesy of Georg Simbeni
Here are few photos from the Momentum film set, courtesy of Seewald & Hanna UG