A few words with BFFF 16 Award Winner Heiko Aufdermauer
Heiko, you run the art collective SILENTFILM specialized in producing experimental work and fashion film.
Why Fashion Film?
In the very beginning it was a coincidence: My neighbour is a fashion designer and she asked me to work with her 5 years ago. I started to watch Fashion Films and suddenly felt: wow after more than a hundred years of film history, suddenly a glimpse of untouched land.
As a film maker it is sometimes hard to have those giants around you. We grew up with Wong Kar Wai and Antonioni – in the great era of music videos… In Fashion Film there are no giants yet. It is a strange genre - neither music video, nor experimental, nor pure advertisement. For me, it is a form yet to be explored.
You are based here in Berlin. What does that mean for your work in terms of creative collaborations but also looking at budgets?
Still many people come here and they give it a try for some years – if they do not make it, they go back. I know a lot of people from every field – theatre, cinema etc. They do beautiful pieces of art here, but if they need to make money, they go to Munich or Hamburg. Man – we would need something like a union here.
Yes. Your question is already part of the answer. Berlin is packed with incredible artists. And a lot of good people are ready to give their blood for tiny budgets. One one hand, this offers great freedom especially in terms of collaboration – on the other hand it is part of the problem. For years we worked like that. Now, the city undergoes a radical change. Rents go up.
You’ve been submitting work to BFFF since 2012 and finally this year you’ve climbed the stage to take home awards for two of your entries. LE FRUIT NOIR was a fashion film supported by automotive company Tesla. How did this collaboration come about?
Our attempt was to work on a clearly defined genre: Asian film noir from the late 60s. So we were looking for a classic car (like a Jaguar) first, but then realized, we wanted to root the whole project NOW. Tesla is an interesting company – and we love the minimalistic design they have. We just gave them a call – and they agreed really fast. In Germany, their network is still kind of small.
Are you planning to expand your career doing work for other industries as well or will you continue to solely work in the fashion film segment?
artistic freedom for an audience that is aesthetically very aware, a powerful client and ideally unlimited formal possibilities in dramaturgy, image and sound. I believe in Fashion Film as a genre by itself – even if it still misses a theoretical background. If the inner aim of art is beauty – then, Fashion Film has the potential to be its utmost expression. To define beauty within every single film we make in this genre in a new, delicate way, is what drives us.
At the very moment we are shooting a music video for Universal music. For me, music video is not that far from Fashion Film. I love films, which are more than just a hint for a product: a feeling, a thought, something wise, a real experience. Honestly: if I see a film, where every single frame wants to sell me something, I feel offended. Music video is free from that urge, but budgets are really sad. Fashion Film for me promises to be the perfect field:
Talking about fashion: Your Perfect Outfit for a Shoot?
We are often shooting in small teams and I hate it to watch others carry heavy stuff while I drink coffee. So my choice is definitely a practical one: cargo trousers with pockets for a script or batteries and a dark shirt that does not reflect in windows…and the typical director’s cap as well. Even though – I started to wear a Panama hat and it felt really good. I guess in something like 10 years I will always wear a (vintage) suit while directing.
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