Logline: It’s Berlin in 1993 and the controversial film director Leni Riefenstahl prepares to give a film interview. Left alone on the soundstage, she descends into a dreamworld and confronts her past demons… her younger self and Adolf Hitler.
Length: 21m 32 secs
Director: Adrian Vitoria
Writer/Producer: Alistair Audsley (with Rosie Fellner, John Adams)
About the director and producer:
Adrian Vitoria is based in LA/London and is an established features director with credits including the acclaimed British crime drama “The Crew”, war film “Age of Heroes” and US thriller “The Heist”.
Alistair Audsley originally hails from the Isle of Man and is a features writer/producer with credits including award-winning feature drama “The Paddy Lincoln Gang”, documentaries “The Watchmaker’s Apprentice” and “The Green Hell”.
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists):
Funders: Private equity
Made in association with: Solus Films, Rosebud Pictures, Evolutionary Films
Release date: May 2016
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
I had always wanted to make a film about Leni - I think for anyone in film, her contribution to our art is undeniable and yet equally notable was her contribution to the ‘easing in’ of the worst regime in history. Above all, she is a character against whom outright ‘black or white’ judgement is not easy. In fact, for me it is intellectually lazy. I wanted to make a film which lets the audience make its own conclusions and hopefully inspires some debate!
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
You will be entertained! You will be educated - and you might even have a damn good argument afterwards!
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Wouldn’t we all like to meet ourselves at different stages of our lives and be able to better understand how we become the person we will be until we die? To what extent do we take responsibility for decisions made as younger people without the knowledge of hindsight? And to what extent does the world have the right to pass such judgements?
How has the script and film evolved over the course of its development and production?
My co-writer, Tom McNab (script consultant on “Chariots of Fire”) is a successful novelist and playwright. He had a correspondence with Leni back in the 1960s I believe and was equally fascinated by her. Tom had been playing around with a radio play. He is a master of research and so when I managed to raise finance, I had a great launch pad. Although my eventual screenplay changed significantly from this source material over 6 drafts, the basic conceit of Leni meeting herself was already in Tom’s play. By the way, somewhat rarely, we went back a step and actually shot draft 5!
What type of feedback have you received so far?
It’s only just coming out, so the feedback has been gratifyingly through attaching amazing HoDs and crew. For instance to get an established features director like Adrian Vitoria was a game changer.
He brought a truly cinematic sensibility to a film which could so easily have looked like a play - the script breaks so many accepted rules of film structure. Matt Beecroft, our DoP - another seasoned features cinematographer has been so attached that he has supervised the entire grade.
Next, our lead actress, Hildegard Neil was incredibly complementary about the script and to work with someone who has had a career as a leading lady opposite the likes of Charlton Heston was amazing.
An interesting aside - Hildegard starred opposite Roger Moore in a film which really affected me when I was young; “The Man Who Haunted Himself”. Ironically this film deals with themes of identity too. I followed Hildegard round Ealing (where we shot) plaguing her with questions about that movie!
Valeria Kozhevnikova is a fast rising Russian star and again, she fell in love with the challenge of playing Leni in three separate guises.
Once we had the film in the can, it was amazing how we attracted the likes of Cheryl Potter (Editor) and Jodie Davidson (Colourist) - their last films were “The Martian” and “The Revenant” respectively! Then getting Technicolour on board, who are now showcasing the film.
So, we’ve built the film incrementally over nearly a year and, each time the baton has been passed, it’s been picked up by world-class talent.
Hopefully now the rest of the world will think we’ve produced a film worthy of all that belief!
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
When I set out I really didn’t think we’d get such amazing people on board.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
To raise awareness of “Leni. Leni.” and to start justifying the effort and work way beyond the call of duty that all those people invested into the film.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
We’d love for the film to have a great festival run over the next year, so I guess film festival directors and journalists in the first instance - and to be noticed by major agents and producers if we build a reputation around the film.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
Obviously we filmmakers want people to love our films! I’d like to hear people talking again about Leni Riefenstahl and keep an awful period of history to the fore which must never be forgotten.
I’d like for a major producer to turn it into a feature!
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Did Leni Riefenstahl deserve to be cast into the wilderness after the war?
Would you like to add anything else?
Just a thank you for discovering our film at the Short Film Corner!
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
Adrian and Rosie (Fellner) are working on completing principal photography on a feature called “New York Stories”, and we have a couple of features in development, one being a biopic of a famous musician I have been approached to write.
I’m developing a feature called “Hotel Rixos” based on a true story of a hostage crisis during the Libyan revolution, and I’m working on a couple of motorsport documentary features about the Monaco Grand Prix and the Mille Miglia - they are shooting as I write, directed by Hannes Schalle. Matt Beecroft is prepping to shoot a feature called “Football Kingdom”