"The Man With A Coin", dir. Christian Schilling
Cannes Lions, Clio Awards, New York Festival, Porsche Award - these are just some of the prestigious festivals at which Christian Schilling was awarded. This young director developed extremely original advertising tongue. A graduate of Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg told us what inspires him and how he copes with budget limitations.
It’s an enormous achievement to won Young Directors Awards in Cannes twice! Looking back on it, can you tell what factors made you successful?
Christian Schilling: I am not aiming for certain trends. I’m always trying to tell stories that are timeless and unique.
Why did you choose commercials? Why they are fascinating for you?
I’m a kid of the 90s, which means I grew up playing a lot N64 and Gameboy (By the way: If anyone’s up for a round of Mario Kart, just give me ring. Rainbow Road only.). In retrospect, all the time in front of fast flickering screens influenced my attentiveness. This could be why I like short stuff like commercials, haha. But really, it’s the thrill and the craft to tell a whole blockbuster of emotions in less than a minute.
"Wake her soul", dir. Christian Schilling
I try to avoid to be inspired by other movies, but someone who I adore a lot is Edgar Wright, because he is the best when it comes to super well-paced rhythmic visual storytelling. I can’t wait for his new masterpiece next year.
Your ads are the synonym of creativity. What’s your way of getting new ideas?
Ideas just fly into my head like tiny clouds filled with genius.
Sadly, that’s not the case. Mostly, it’s hard work! If you have a spark of an idea: Don’t throw it away immediately. That’s almost the trickiest part because it’s easier to search for something new than to look at your idea from every angle. Then you have to shape that idea, while you think it over and over again until you've gone through all possible options. You need to break it to the simplest form it can be.
UNICEF ‘Granatapfel’, dir. Christian Schilling
Besides the fictional movie world, I’m really into sciences and new scientific findings. A book I was very inspired by is A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. I really enjoy those nerdy universe talks.
You are not afraid of a challenging production. “The man with a coin” has a lot of locations and stylish scenography. What is your way to overcoming production obstacles like limited budget?
I let one of my producers answer this question: “Well, there were a lot of tears.”
The only way to overcome difficult tasks is to face them head-on and identify the biggest problems early. If you take a look at the magic triangle of producing (time, money, quality), you know what to expect when you don’t have any budget. So basically, it was powering through, be thorough and organized, and a super important part is being able to motivate people to support your project.
(And of course, you should have good food on the set - preferably cake from your mom).
"Kill the noise", dir. Christian Schilling
TV series inspirations:
Just recently I started to watch "Malcolm in the Middle" again. I love how they used the ordinary family life and exaggerated it to make all these little 20-minute feature films. And the cast is just amazing.
What is your advice for young filmmakers, who are at the start of their career?
Keep the audience interested but in your own way.