A businessman from Switzerland and a young woman find each other and discuss a dangerous plan which soon becomes a reality. That's the plot of the feature film, The Radicalization of Jeff Boyd, we discover more as we begin a conversation with the talented director, Uwe Schwarzwalder.
Filmtage : What inspired you to become an independent filmmaker, and how has your journey been so far in this challenging industry?
Uwe : Taking part in a short film, I saw the director had many hats on - camera, sound, light, editing, catering, everything. I realised you don’t need a big team to make a film. Being an actor, I thought this is a great way to get busy and work. We wanted to do something together, so I came up with a concept as the director did, and funny enough, we really had the same idea, and shot a 55 minutes film. After that, I wanted to make a real feature, adding more depth, and started writing in a hot summer The Radicalization of Jeff Boyd.
Filmtage : Independent filmmaking often comes with limited resources and funding. How do you approach the creative process to maximize the impact of your storytelling within these constraints?
Uwe : The same way as it were a million dollar project, just scaled down a little. All processes are given. There’s no short cut, but you have to give it all to achieve some quality, within your limits of course. And you have to find people who are friendly with your vision and support you, who are passionate enough to go the extra mile and to create something special.
Filmtage : The film you submitted has received critical acclaim for its unique style and narrative. Can you share the creative decisions and influences that contributed to the film's success?
Uwe : I tried to execute the scenes in a minimalistic, puristic, and simple way, focusing on the actors and their play, but I also took good care that the framing is nice and the cinematography in general. The style was completed in the editing process which I did as well, and took me a long time because I really wanted to add some uniqueness. Last but not least, I tried to make the actors comfortable on set, so we started the day with Bach music.
Filmtage : Independent filmmakers often face challenges in distribution and reaching a wider audience. What strategies have you employed to promote and share your work with a broader community?
Uwe : At that time, many people were talking about self distribution, but it turned out that this is not the optimal solution - lots of work, so I'd prefer to have a proper distributor on board, and focus on festival submissions only. They are a great help to promote your film and some filmmaker festivals are very cool. You meet all kinds of filmmakers and you share your experiences.
Filmtage : As an independent filmmaker, you have the freedom to explore diverse and unconventional subjects. Could you tell us about a particular project that was close to your heart and the importance of bringing that story to the screen?
Uwe : Basically I like to tell stories from life and I hope they are entertaining. Fantasy has no limits, so I make them a little stronger than in real life, but they could happen, and some might have even happened. It’s all very subtle, also when I want to convey some kind of a message, as part of the story, not too heavy, but it’s there.