Luzie Loose • Director
“That time in my life when I was 15 or 16 was very intense”
by Kaleem Aftab
- We spoke to director Luzie Loose at Busan about her debut film, Swimming, which tells the story of two 15-year-olds whose burgeoning friendship encounters some serious difficulties
World-premiering at the Busan International Film Festival, the German film Swimming [+see also:
interview: Luzie Loose
film profile] heralds the arrival of new directorial talent Luzie Loose. The Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg graduate’s debut tells the story of Elisa and Anthea, two 15-year-olds whose burgeoning friendship is challenged by their interaction with boys, classmates and social media. The German premiere will take place at the Hof International Film Festival later this month. Furthermore, Loose’s 2015 short film French Fries played at the San Sebastián Film Festival.
Cineuropa: Where did the idea for Swimming stem from?
Luzie Loose: I wanted to do something very personal. So many of the relationships and the characters in the film are taken from my own life and from people I know. I think you should only tell stories about things that you know about, and that time in my life when I was 15 or 16 was very intense. We were a group of girls back then, and we had quite full-on relationships. I think at that age, the relationship between girls is even more important than the relationship between girls and boys, even when you’re a girl and into boys. Dating is not something that is super-important at that time, but your friends are quite influential.
Did you have to do a lot of research into how young people use social media at school today?
We worked with a whole class of students [at the Mendelssohn-Bartholdy High School in Berlin Pankow], and they play the classmates in the film. What we saw was that they have a group chat on WhatsApp, and there is one girl in the class who is not in that chat, and she’s really not part of the group. I don’t think they bully her, because they are really sweet and nice to her – but still, she is some kind of outsider. I talked to her, and I talked to some younger siblings of friends of mine, and they all use social media like this. I was surprised by how much they reflect on it. I was under the impression that some of those kids don’t think about what they do, but actually, they are quite aware of what they do on social media – and the consequences.
What was the writing process like?
I took six months off from film school to go to Istanbul and just do nothing, and that’s where I started developing the idea. Then I wrote it over a period of one-and-a-half years.
How did you get financing for the project?
I went to a film school that is very close to the industry, the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. We got to know the commissioning editors of a number of TV stations at the university, whom we could approach with our projects. We met with the TV station SWR (Südwestrundfunk), and they decided they wanted to do it. We also got support from the MFG film fund. We now have a two-year period for the film to have a theatrical release before it plays on television.
A list features heavily as a plot device in the film; where did you get the idea for that?
For me, it’s important to stick to something that I think is realistic, and I tried not to make things up. When we were young, we made a lot of lists about everyone, like all the boys in the class and who was at the top of the popularity ladder, and I think the list comes from this memory of my youth.
What was it like shooting in Berlin?
It was awesome, as we were able to shoot at the original locations that meant something to me or to the other people on the team. We shot a lot outside, on the streets, and actually this was the most fun we had because we just went out with a really small crew and did what we wanted to do. It was a lot of rock-and-roll shooting, especially when we were only filming with mobile phones. The sound guy and I were just going out with the actresses, so we were super-flexible.
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