a Lo-Fi Sci-Fi fable about money, illusions and change
Z E R O  C R A S H
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FAQ to the Filmmaker

You had a budget of under 15.000.- EUR with a team of around hundred people and thirty days of shooting in Vienna and Andalucia. - You think you will do that again?

Hell, no. It wouldn't work. This power of winning people for a no budget project - you can only conjure it up once. The second time you lack the innocent magic of cluelessness. The fearless mind of the noob. Also there's an unspoken promise in the air: If I'll ask you again, things will be DIFFERENT. - Well, I hope I left that vague enough.

Did you ever doubt the outcome, if you would be able to finish the film?

Before shooting I watched a documentary called 'Lost in La Mancha' about Terry Gilliam trying to shoot 'Don Quijote' and running into one stroke of bad luck after the other. A true disaster movie, heartbreaking. I watched it several times, so I felt fairly warmed up. Locations cancelled short term, an actress in hospital, expensive lenses crashing on concrete, a car collision - we had a fair amount of things that usually can and do happen, luckily no one got hurt, so in a way business as usual, but when you have such a limited budget and tiny crew these things can be the end. So doubt, no - we simply were too busy to worry. - Plus we had lots of luck.

Which part of production do you like most?

Dreaming it all up is great, no limits, apart from lots of self disciplined reasoning about what is possible. Then problem solving begins. And it doesn't stop. I think, at least 90% of it all is problem solving. The money thing, one heavyweight of course. Then, after writing all alone, more and more people joining in is pure joy. Specially in this case, when so many were prepared to do it without getting paid. I'm extremely grateful and feel immensely empowered. If there's no pay check involved and fame is quite unlikely, things become very pure. Don't get me wrong. As things are, people need to be paid. But for the period of preparing and shooting, everybody was 100% there because of the issue, the thing, the common cause. And nothing else. That I had to pull through the whole postproduction almost all by myself is an economic casualty and not at all what I would want to to if I had a choice. I definitely hope, next time will be DIFFERENT.

How long did it take you to get to the shooting stage?

2007 I wanted to write a film musical about the stock market. When I finally had a glimpse of understanding of how financial markets work, the US subprime crisis happened and then Lehmann Bothers. I stopped writing because it was not clear, whether reality would outperform satire all along. 2011 I started writing again and then we tried to raise a budget for another two years.

Why didn't you use computer graphics for the spaceship, instead of building a physical set?

Like the aliens in their suits it was a matter of style. The material was affordable enough and luckily all came out quite well.

Coming from music, is it difficult to get into the filmmaking world as career changer?

Career might not be the appropriate word, but in any case, I don't know yet. Looks like it's harder to get some funding though.

The film seems to have a lot of characters. Is there a main protagonist?

No. In fact, that's something, many scriptwriting guidebooks advise against. I started reading those books long after shooting, because I wanted to understand, on which ground many of the funding commissions' statements of refusal were standing. Also I'm introducing new main characters way to late in the film. A definite DON'T in the books. I don't know. There seem to be many more ways to do it. Where does all this insecurity come from? No one seems to trust their own instincts. All has to be streamlined now. To be machine-readable? Personally, I always find it a good sign, when kids dig it, they tend to watch with an open mind and express their opinion with brutality. I think a lot of it is economic pressure. As already many keep saying: We have to change our money system.

You seem to always have extraterrestrials in the story

They can be anything, the possibilities are endless. They are the ultimate strangers. We can look through their eyes - if they have them - and get a very special perspective of ourselves. You get a lot of aliens in films today but I still like to have them.

Are you planning your next film already?

ZERO CRASH is part of a thematic trilogy. After the root of fiasco - the money system, the next film is about marketing. Our brains have been fried with the marketing stun gun for decades. Our communication is completely fogged, distorted, a sad joke. At the moment I think it's gonna be a road movie on foot.

What do you think is the future of cinema?

I hope the movie theatre stays. It's not so clear it will. Maybe everything will be just streaming and download. You can shoot and edit a film on a smartphone today. People will watch it there too. It's like in music, just a little later. The technology is accessible, great! At the same time the volume of produced films is exploding. The power lies with the distribution channels now more than ever. How will your film reach it's audience? That's all market mechanisms. I think film will not die, it's a deep human want to experience stories, tales, something between collective dream and self-reflection. But how freely we will be able to share it, depends entirely on economic structures. And they have to change anyway!

Zero Crash 2016