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I am strongly inspired by authentic stories: Alexander Ratter

A Special Interview with Alexander Ratter who who is strongly inspired by authentic stories, and aims to open up a new understanding for the audience.

 

Tell us about your profile so our readers and followers will know more about you, such as your educational background, birth city, country, etc…

Certainly, I will briefly introduce myself and my background. When I was a teenager coming from a small village in southwest Germany, nestled between picturesque vineyards, I was very thrilled by the opportunity to lead the theatre group at my high school. The amazing experience of directing two theatrical pieces involving fellow pupils and even teachers, motivated by our passion and curiosity, gradually led me to my first professional internship. Eventually, I applied to study theatre and film science at the University of Vienna. Shortly after, I embarked on my initial career steps, becoming an assistant director at the renowned and artistically outstanding Burgtheater Vienna. I spent a total of about six years there until I directed my first piece, “Demut vor deinen Taten, Baby” by Laura Naumann, which was invited to Autorentheatertage 2013 at Deutsches Theater Berlin. My subsequent journey as a director took me to other professional theatres in Germany and Austria until I discovered my inclination to embed my theatrical skills into cinematic projects. I later studied film science in Berlin and filmmaking at the New York Film Academy. Over the years, I created several award-winning short films focusing on topics that personally intrigued me.

My works are intensely personal, aiming to let every viewer discover their interpretation of the films and engage in controversial discussions about the topics with others. I hope to broaden the audience’s personal perspective.

After collecting intriguing stories in my personal life and feeling ready for larger projects, I started working on full-length projects and founded my film production company, Picco-Studio (www.picco-studio.com). Finally, in 2021, I was fortunate to include artistically outstanding partners and, in a first round, two private investors in spring 2023. We are currently searching for two more investors in an upcoming second round in Q1 2024.

Tell us about your inspiration as a filmmaker.

I am strongly inspired by authentic stories, which are often even more unique in reality than our imagination allows us to think. This stems from the fact that my projects need to feel relevant and special to have a possible impact on the audience and contribute to societal discourses. I aim to open up a new understanding for the audience, an empathy-increasing perspective they may not have had before. While I acknowledge that I might challenge them to face something new, my goal is to deepen reflection and not allow ignorance or blindness to escape questioning. I do not fear taking the audience on a cinematic journey that reaches the point of discomfort if it is needed. My goal is to push the audience out of their comfort zone using various methods and qualities that I actively choose to involve.

When and how did you start your career as a filmmaker?

My most important work is my 27-minute short film “Flight into Darkness,” of which I am still proud. I shot it after finishing my first piece as a director at Burgtheater Vienna. In my teenage years, I traveled the world whenever I could, practiced with my photo camera, and merged my own skills with the theatrical thinking I learned in professional projects with influential directors. This, combined with my years of observing outstanding actors while rehearsing and performing at the theatre, laid the foundation for my filmmaking journey.

ESCAPING THE PAST is your student project, right? How was your experience as a student filmmaker?

I shot the film at the New York Film Academy to reflect multiple authentic stories from my time as an assistant director. The experience was valuable, allowing me to enrich my existing skills, practice with larger crews, and deepen my skills to be utilized in more professional teams. While I appreciate the experience, I recommend investing money in a real project and dedicating time to studying skillsets through online courses or books. The skillset is one aspect; creating one’s pieces of art and gaining experience in shooting are equally important. Learning a professional mindset and approach is crucial, and the rest involves hard work, self-reflection, and perseverance, combined with the fortune of involving the right people.

How is ESCAPING THE PAST performing at the film festivals?

We are not applying to many festivals. Your festival seemed interesting to us due to its representation. However, we are curious to see the reactions and judgments!

You are not just the director of Escaping the Past but also the writer and producer. You are an all-rounder; would you like to talk about that experience?

It is my resonance that allows me to excel in what I do. Creating a brand-new world that resonates with my unique feeling for it. Then, the project goes through several births! I am interested in joining this process at the parts where I fit the best. Having your own way of approaching art and creative processes is not just about the skill itself but also about being ready to give the process what it really needs at that particular moment.

How would you describe work as an independent filmmaker? Isn’t it more challenging?

Independent, what does that mean for you? We work with private investors, TV channels, streamers, and state funding. Am I still independent? Independence, for me, means not losing resonance with the project and fighting for the unique feeling that captures the core of a project. For this reason, I founded my own production company. We merge mainstream with arthouse, and we are on our way.

 

What’s the most exciting and interesting thing for you in filmmaking?

Being open to redefining whatever is needed and being thrilled by developments not imagined before. Learning and widening perspectives, allowing input from any direction, and still being able to responsibly take action to enable the best process and work. Being challenged in a way that few things can be compared to.

What projects are you currently working on? And what are your plans in the industry?

We are working with Picco-Studio in 2024 on my first feature and our first series to be shot, followed by a second feature and potentially another series in 2025. We are currently searching for two more private investors we are open to involving. Do you want to connect us to them? Don’t hesitate!

Where can our readers and followers see your film work?

We have a watch-on-demand platform on our website www.picco-studio.com. Check it out!!

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