1. What motivated you to make this film?
A friend had introduced me to Krishna Ashu Bhati in December 2018 at a team screening of his film “Beyond Good and Evil”. This film, similar to “the Ugly Truth,” is also very quietly and unexcitingly told. But that’s what I liked about it. At first glance, the plot was simple – almost unspectacular – but behind the facades, human abysses opened up.
My mother had died of a stroke a few months earlier and I was very much dealing with my own past, my childhood and youth.
“The Ugly Truth” therefore has a lot of autobiographical elements and many dialogues took place word for word. The film has a lot to do with me coming to terms with the past, and that was also my motivation.
I wanted to produce a drama about a family that outwardly appears to be the happy academic family, owns everything money can buy, has no real worries, but in which every member of the family is nevertheless deeply unhappy.
I wanted to tell the story of an ideal world built on a construct of life lies, lack of love, depression and addiction problems and show where sweeping any problem off the table with the words “everything is fine” leads to.
2. from the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
The Director Krishna felt very addressed by the topic. We had amazingly many parallels, even though he comes from India and I from Germany. It was a bit like we were Siamese soul twins in terms of our creativity.
At that time we wanted to get started immediately, we didn’t apply for any funding and invested our own money in the film. We ignored everyone who told us “never take your own money”. But passion sometimes makes you blind.
We wrote the script together in March 2019, shot part of the film in July, the rest in October 2019, and post-production was finalized in January 2021. So from the idea to the finished film it took us just under two years.
3) How would you describe your film in two words?
(Dangerous) Life Lies – this is the most difficult question, as the movie is even difficult to describe in one sentence.
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
The biggest problem was financing the film. Krishna and I had only one goal in mind at the beginning, namely to shoot the film as soon as possible. In our almost manic creative urge we were unstoppable and in post-production we ran out of money prematurely. Thanks to the financial support of friends, however, we finally made it.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I got goosebumps when I watched the feedback from the audience in the video. That’s a really great idea when you’re not on location as a filmmaker to get a clip like that and we are very grateful for the input. We were very touched by the feedback and also pleased that exactly what we wanted to say with the film was perceived. There is no typical protagonist or antagonist in the film – there is no good or evil. There are only characters who unfortunately make bad decisions or no decisions at all and live under the same roof, but are mostly focused on themselves without caring for one another. With this film I make myself quite vulnerable as there are very many of my own experiences and soul injuries in it from my youth.
It has moved me very much that the audience feedback was so positive.
Watch the Audience Feedback Video:
6. when did you realize that you wanted to make films?
I’ve always wanted to make films and I’m an absolute film fan. i just went down the acting route first because the challenge of making movies seemed too high and I love acting.
Five years ago I finally felt mature enough to make films and I’ve been in so many films myself where the script was really flawed, even though the budget was ten times higher than “the ugly truth” that I finally said to myself “I can do better than that!” I expect filmmakers to swim against the tide, not with it. Art has the obligation not only to entertain the viewer, but also to make him think and to give him new insights in his life.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
The film I have seen most often is “Requiem for Dream” by Darren Aranowsky. This exceptional director manages in this film, as always, to completely captivate the viewer and make him go through hell with the characters. I love actor films that are mainly carried by the inner processes and problems of the characters.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
As an independent filmmaker, festivals are a wonderful opportunity to draw attention to a film, to introduce it to different nations and to find a distributor. In addition, you generally don’t make much money with independent films and the praise from the audience, the jury and the press actually is the real reward for your work. But what I find most exciting is the exchange with other filmmakers. At the festivals you find artists with amazing talent and get to see inspiring movies.
Here you have the opportunity to exchange contacts and collaborate on a future project.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
I think the Freeway platform is fantastic because you get to see festivals that you haven’t thought of and you get to present your film to as many people as possible.
10. What is your favorite meal?
That’s a funny question: I myself love to eat hearty things like Bavarian cuisine with Schnitzel or Obazden. However, Krishna is a fantastic cook and once had an Indian restaurant in Berlin himself and his chicken massala got me totally hooked.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
Next, Fantomfilm is planning a comedy for a change. My partner Alexander König and I are in development of a series material about three young men who don’t really know who they are or what matters in life yet. They engage in the most unbelievable and absurd contortions to pick up women, which is a big challenge for young men in the modern world between “me too” “toxic masculinity” and “strong women”.