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Anne Wild - director of
My First Miracle

Interview

The story of an impossible friendship between an 11-year-old girl called Dole and Hermann, a middle-aged family man

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by Federico Greco and
Alex Nartowicz

My First Miracle - Meine erstes Wunder is the directorial feature debut of Anne Wild, the story of an impossible friendship between an 11-year-old girl called Dole (Henriette Confurius) and a middle-aged family man called Hermann (Leonard Lansink) who meet while on holiday by the seaside. Dole’s mother (played by Juliane Koehler, the star of Nowhere in Africa) has a new boyfriend, Philip (David Striesow) and Dole is left very much to her own devices. Dole strikes up an innocent friendship with Hermann and they spend their free time exploring the seabed.

What inspired you to make this film?
“I read an interview with the wife of this man. The story is very loosely based on a real life event and I was touched by the way this woman tried to describe the innocent love between her husband and this 11-year-old girl. I wanted to explore the story and see what might have been”.

Was it difficult to get this film made?
“Yes it was very difficult and it took a lot of time. Making your first feature film is always a complex process. In my case, the problem lay in the fact that I had already written two scripts that were quite successful and so people wanted me to continue in that direction. Getting the money was the hardest and most time-consuming part thing and of course, the subject matter is hardly the stuff of a big mainstream comedy. However I was so lucky in that Juliane Koehler, who plays Dole’s mother boarded the project right after reading the script. Without her, this film would never have been made. She fought by my side and was instrumental in allowing me to make the film the way I wanted”.

Where did you find the girl who plays Dole?
“When I finished the screenplay everybody who read it said it was great but that I’d never find the actress to play Dole. I knew differently. Despite long casting sessions, I finally found my Dole when I was allowed to sit in on auditions for Heidi. I knew right away that she was the one. Although she is not a professional actress, she has this incredible concentration and could not have been more professional. Leonard Lansink was great with her, never condescending: he did not talk down to her because she is a child, but treated her as one professional to another”.

How important was the visual imagery of this film for you?
“I am very interested in the visual aspects and I chose my Polish cinematographer, Wojciech Szepel, with great care. This was his first film too and I had to fight long and hard to get him. We discussed exactly what we wanted before we began filming and it all came into place very easily”.

Do you think the success of My First Miracle will make you next project easier to make? And what will that be?
“I think so because this film also won a very important prize in Germany, the Max Ophuls Prize for upcoming directors. My next project has the working title of The Blue Room. It is about women who disappear under mysterious circumstances and I am about to start writing the screenplay with a professional writer”.