Interview with Filmmaker Michael Bernstein (DOWN)

DOWN was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the December 2020 Dance & Music Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I was very touched by the choreography when I saw it for the first time. Then when Corona Lockdown came along, I immediately thought that now was the time to make a film out of it.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

I had the first vague idea two years ago. But then it went quite quickly. In April 2020, I had the concrete idea of where I could shoot the choreography. In May we shot and by the end of May the film was essentially finished.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Loneliness and beauty

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

The clarification of the music rights

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I was very happy and felt very well understood. Above all, I was pleased that the dancer’s expressive variety and intensity was so well received.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

I happened to see the dancer Maya Mayzel with this choreography two years ago and immediately thought it would be a good template for a film. And then came the Corona pandemic and I found this pyramid, the city library of Ulm, as a location.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

I can’t say for the life of me. I watch so many films…and there are quite a few that I enjoy watching over and over again.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

Basically, it’s a very good platform because there are a lot of festivals now. But if you don’t choose only the free festivals, it’s easy to run into money.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

Also difficult to answer. I listen to a lot of classical music, have sung many songs myself. But I probably listened to children’s songs most often – back in my childhood and then with my two children.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

I am currently working on a documentary about an extraordinary artist and her monumental work “Altar of Europe”. And I’m writing a book.

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