Interview with the Winner: Michael Venus - The Naked Truth


Director, filmmaker and winner of Best Idea, Best Direction and Best Cast at BFFF 2015

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We'd like to know more about the film 'The naked truth', winner of Best Casting, Direction and Idea at last year's BFFF. What was the inspiration behind it ? The drive ?

Back then, the Astra Brewery wanted to launch a new beer called“ Astra Nackt” (Naked Astra). The agency Philip & Keuntje developed the concept of marketing the product as “naked”.

Their first idea involved a barker at the Hamburg fish market entertaining “naked” as the new thing, much to his visitors' irritation. Philip & Keuntje asked Sterntag Film to Pitch this idea and they ended up calling me, sold it to me and gave me plenty of rope to work with.

I was partly influenced by my interpretation of the fashion films I made for Anne Gorke. In any case, right before Astra, we made a music video in collaboration with Curtisfilm “Parasite Single- The Hunt” starring the beautiful Katja Danowski.

She lives with Samuel Weiss, who acts as Pascal Vaughel in the film. You can imagine how I found him. I cast him while having dinner at their home.

I wrote Pascal's text during a train ride after I researched nudist platforms on the internet. I found interesting images, simple everyday scenes dominating the picture: naked at a desk, naked car washing and naked playing table tennis.

At the same time I found real philosophers. Romantics who interpret nudity in an almost academic way. It’s about being as unsexy as possible.



What was the biggest challenge of the film ?

To calculate the perfect pixel size of the censorship. We tried to make the pixel as small as possible. Our client, agency and graphic designer worked on this for two weeks!

Although I need to say that Astra was fine with publishing the spot uncensored. During the launch it was possible to see the uncensored version for one day online.

But after that, there were some issues with the online platforms. It’s a shame.

If you see it in a positive way, it’s a sign of our confidence in our audience. Every single viewer can complete the overall impression in their mind.


That’s okay to be safe but at the same time it means creative stagnancy


What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about advertising?

It doesn’t matter how much your client knows about advertising, they'll decide what is going to happen.

The fear of making mistakes is always around you. That’s why most of the time everything works with this “if” mentality and moodboards.

 That’s okay to be safe but at the same time it means creative stagnancy. Off the record, until now I could always sneak in something new, like a technical aspect or narrative twist.

Anyway, I felt really free while working on the Astra Job. I was really lucky. It was almost relaxing.

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Why do you direct?

Because it gives me self-fulfillment. I’m interested in every aspect of filming. Starting from the written script on a sheet of paper

to designing the end title of the film. And maybe it goes even further into the heads of the audience.


It wasn’t quite what I expected, because it exceeded all my expectations. BFFF made a good impression on me every time.

The final SHOW at BFFF 2015. Is that what you expected? From online to offline? Can you tell us more about how you felt during the show?

It wasn’t quite what I expected, because it exceeded all my expectations. BFFF made a good impression on me every time.

Everybody who’s involved planning it is full of hospitality, enthusiasm, professionalism, eye for detail and last but not least taste. Really friendly!

As I visit the festival with Astra – The Naked Truth - for the third time, I could see as the festival has grown. Also in terms of the quality of the films shown.

What really made 2015 a special year for me was the runway show together with the beautiful Naked Truth ensemble.

I had the pleasure to direct the show, which really touched me. The show lifted our small advert to a whole new level.

Suddenly our campaign got a political and social dimension. What is naked? What means individuality? What is beautiful? What means fashion? To what extent are we copies of somebody else?

I missed the journalists after the show because I fell in love with those people in the show. We sat backstage and talked for hours.

On top of the awards I received, this experiences was really great and a big inspiration. Thank you so much for this!

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