Seidl exports his talent to the Croisette
by Bénédicte Prot
20/04/2007 - After Dog Days (Grand Jury Prize at Venice 2001), Viennese director Ulrich Seidl – known for his documentaries (Animal Love and Models) – has found a director’s most coveted platform for the world premiere of his second feature film: the 60th Cannes Film Festival.
Import/Export [trailer] follows an unemployed pair who travel to the other side of the Iron Curtain in search of work. Ukrainian nurse Olga moves to Austria, while a hooligan from a rough area of Vienna heads in the opposite direction.
In an interview with the Austrian Film Commission, Seidl explained his long-standing desire to make a film in Eastern Europe. While he has a strong interest in Romania, he chose the Ukraine and a Ukrainian actress who had never seen the East because he wanted a distinctly East European outlook that has started to disappear in EU countries.
As far as his working method is concerned, Import Export is the result of a long period of preparation, which allowed Seidl to transform the shoot into a moment of creation, to which the subtle magic of the action added to the film’s storyline and research.
Starring Ekaterina Rak, Nataljia Baranova, Paul Hoffmann and Michael Thomas, the film was produced by Seidl. This first producing experience added additional pressures for the director, especially concerning unpredictable financing. Nonetheless, he succeeded in raising a €2.1m budget and admits that this helped to sidestep a number of pitfalls involved when self-producing. To avoid any contradiction between his two roles, however, Seidl confirms that directing is what is most important to him.
Sales on Import Export are being handled by French-German company The Coproduction Office.
(Translated from French)