Maximilian Bungarten is the director of 2023 Lighthouse Selection THE AGE OF INNOCENCE, a short he shot on film in his home-city of Cologne, Germany. The film, which he independently uploaded to T-Port along with another Lighthouse Selection from his production company, Benedetta films, was picked by guest curator Laurence Boyce.
Hi Maximilian, would you please introduce yourself?
I’m a filmmaker from Germany. I started in the production department until I couldn’t resist wanting to see my own images and stories on the screen.
What did it feel like to find out your film had made the T-Port Lighthouse Selections? How did you react?
I know many of the other films and was therefore very happy to be a part of this great selection.
What does making the selection mean to you and your journey as a filmmaker?
The visibility is great and the feeling to be taken seriously in the short film genre.
What was the inspiration behind your film?
First: I’m always inspired by specific places and by a certain aura. Growing up in the suburbs of Cologne, my teenage years felt like always being in transit areas and non-places. While visiting my parents during the pandemic, I imagined what a melodramatic love story would look like in these locations. I wanted to find magic and poetry in places that are actually made to be pragmatic. And then of course: Martin Scorsese.
How was the filmmaking process for you? Can you tell us about how you went about the production process?
It was very clear for me in the beginning that I wanted to shoot on film and that this film would be very influenced by the images. So the most important part for me was to travel around the area with my DoP Tom Otte to understand what this world really is. What are the arenas and how the aesthetic language of the film could be. From that on, the characters developed by working with the actors and our amazing costume designer Laura Andraschko.
There is very little dialogue in the film so that the costume, all the little details that we planned, gestures and references in the images made it very special to me.
What were the biggest challenges you encountered during making your film? What did you learn from them?
Definitely working under the Covid restrictions while bringing people together from all kinds of places.
Tell us about the visual choices in your film. What were your main goals and techniques in creating the visual style of your film?
I’m interested in the mixture of realism and cinematic elements. I wanted the film to feel almost like a documentary in the beginning and like a fairytale in the end. Working on analoge 16mm film helped me to create that feeling. It was also a lot about the colours. This world is very grey, so the red hoody became an important element in the movie.
Tell us about the sound choices in your film
I worked with the sound artist Paul Ebhart on very beautiful spherical sounds that to me, perfectly described the strangeness of the places. Other than that we tried to embrace the quietness that can feel overwhelming sometimes.
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