Interview with director Dave Lojek (PROVERBIAL LUCK)

Dave Lojek’s film from Austria (via Germany) “PROVERBIAL LUCK” played to rave reviews at the November 2016 Under 5 Minute FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Dave Lojek: Language and film can have nice effects on audiences. But less talk and more deeds are preferrable in most films. This one needs the voice-over. As a filmmaker and linguist I know that idioms are quite hard to translate. That was a good challenge for the subtitles. The “Amelie” tinge is intended.

The writer and co-director Steffi asked me to read the script, because she had seen some of my award-winning previous movies. I liked the idea but warned her that live animals are a risk factor in shorts. She told me that she had bought all the animals and also created all props, found locations. So we looked around in the film workshop Kino Cuntra in Graz (Austria) that night after a cinema screening and found cast, crew, and equipment. Next morning the shot list was ready and we began filming. So I had about 15 minutes to really decide about making this film. I said yes, seeing the potential for wider audiences, quirky entertainment, language lessons for refugees, and some awards. Over 73 film festivals screened it so far, so my feeling was confirmed. We won the German National Film Festival with this comedy in 2016 and 13 other awards by November.

MT: From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

DL: The brainstorming and writing took Steffi Sixdorf and Peter Lutz about two weeks. Preproduction and funding was a month for Steffi. At this moment I joined the crew as director. The filming itself took two days, the edit one day and the color grading 3 days. Waiting for sound mix and music: 6 months without much progress. My composer friend Mirko in Berlin just spent 2 weeks to create soundtrack and final audio mix last summer.
Worldwide distribution is ongoing and has taken now 14 months already. I count this time also. Can we reach the 80 or even 100 festivals mark?

MT: How would you describe your short film in two words!?

DL: Oddball idioms-romcom.

MT: What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

DL: Waiting 6 months for the promised soundtrack which never arrived. The guy was in a crisis and had forgotten the project. So I had to ask my main composer in Berlin to help us. A good choice, in the end. Mirko Rizzello won a BEST SOUNDTRACK AWARD in a festival for his work this spring.

MT: What were your initial reactions when watching the Los Angeles audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

DL: It’s always nice to hear opinions from culturally so remote places. (We live in central Europe.) The audience spoke about the tone, the feeling, the oddities and compared our comedy to a masterpiece. So sweet. To be the favourite film of the night also encourages further endeavours. Maybe they would enjoy some of our other works:


MT: How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

DL: Steffi Sixdorf had the idea of untranslateable idioms after a conversation with a foreigner. She listed a lot of idioms in German that would be fun to see in a film. She created the characters and love-story-parody, to wrap the idioms in a narrative curve. Steffi knew there would be an opportunity to get crew, cast, equipment for free ( – our filmmaking community), so she planned the project well with minimal resources. I was given the film in a ready-to-shoot-situation like a gift, so I brought my experience and did all the post-production and distribution.

MT: What film have you seen the most in your life?

DL: ALIEN by Ridley Scott / BRAZIL by Terry Gilliam – It’s a bit difficult to count the re-runs, as I breathe film. I basically live in cinemas. If I don’t make a film, I watch short and long films all the time on all devices, preferrably in film festivals. Must have seen over 50.000 films in my life.

MT: What is next for you? A new film?

DL: I make between 10 and 20 films per year, but I must reduce the quantity to raise the quality. Many people urge me to make longer films. So I am constantly looking for good screenplays with my contest:


Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to for more information and to submit your work to the festival.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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