What is the best thing that I love about my work?
I can make up stories and bring them to life while being largely my own master.
What is my idea of happiness?
I have a great family. Everyone is healthy and doing well. My children study interesting subjects or are successful in school. We have a loving relationship and spend a lot of time together. I see in other families that this is not self-evident. It was also different in the family I grew up in. Not everything is in your own hands, and of course luck is also part of it. An intact family, I can’t imagine greater happiness.
What is my greatest fear?
I look with great concern at the state of our world, at things like the progressive destruction of the environment and the many wars that bring great suffering and hardship to the people affected. I have the fortunate coincidence of being born and living in a rich and peaceful country. Due to a variety of developments, I am afraid that this could change one day. However, I am not thinking of myself, but of those who will come after me.
What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?
I wear my heart on my sleeve and usually say what I think. Some people appreciate me for that, but it has sometimes brought me disadvantages as well. Especially when I get angry at someone and express that anger directly, what I end up with is anger at myself. Anger easily slips into self-righteousness. That’s why I would prefer to be able to restrain myself verbally in certain situations. I have been trying to do this for a long time, but I have not yet succeeded. I’m a lousy amateur in that respect.
Which living persons in my profession do i most admire?
Many of my idols have already passed away, but of the contemporary, still living artists I love the work of the directors Tim Burton or the Cohen brothers. I would love to work with actors like Bella Heathcote, Tim Roth, or Timothy Spall. These are just a few random names and none of them are from Germany, although most of my idols are also from my country. I mention this to make clear that a caesura such as the Nazi dictatorship in the 1930s and 1940s can turn a hopeful cultural landscape into a desert in which nothing grows anymore. Since the fall of the Third Reich, my country is essentially dead in cinematic terms. At least as far as the top league is concerned.
What is my greatest extravagance?
There is no extravagance in my life. At least nothing that I would describe as such.
On what occasion would I lie?
If I were to endanger or denounce someone by telling the truth, I would probably lie.
What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?
Quite clearly: negotiations about money.
When and where was I the happiest, in my work?
I love premieres and the applause of the audience. Then everything that was difficult is forgotten. In that respect, my happiness repeats itself over and over again. That’s why there is not just one moment when I was happiest. There is no comparison.
If I could, what would I change about myself?
Sometimes I want too much at once. They say patience is the mother of porcelain. It still clatters too often in my case.
What is my greatest achievement in work?
When not only others, but also I myself am satisfied with my work. But that doesn’t happen very often.
Where would I most like to live?
Right now I would love to be on a South Sea island, surrounded by warm temperatures and the murmuring of the sea. But that changes from time to time. Tomorrow it could also be a hut in the Central American jungle or an igloo in Alaska. In any case, my family would have to be with me.
What is my most treasured possession?
My health, most definitely.
What is my most marked characteristic?
I have points of view and never give up.
What is my most inspirational location, in my city?
I often go to cemeteries. There I read the inscriptions on the tombstones and try to imagine the time and life of the deceased and create a story from it.
What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city?
I really like being in a beer garden and watching other people. My favorite place is the Prater in Berlin’s Kastanienallee. It’s a vanity fair and there’s a lot to observe. But you can also be by yourself or with friends and just switch off.
What books influenced my life and how?
As a German I am influenced by Geothe, Schiller, Rilke and Hölderlin but also by Franz Kafka, Hermann Hesse, Bertolt Brecht and other classics. I also enjoyed reading Mark Twain, Jonathan Swift, Edgar Allen Poe, H.G. Wells, John Irving, Ernest Hemingway, Samuel Beckett and Francois Villon. They and many others have helped make me the person I am today. I read a lot, currently “The Open Veins of Latin America” by Eduardo Galeano. A very important book, because it describes the history of colonialism and decisively proves that the wealth of the so-called western world is based on a murderous plundering of colonies. It is a hitherto little discussed topic, which we nevertheless have to face.
You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?
I could well imagine Cyrillus Kreek there. Maybe “Whilst Great Is Our Poverty” and then float away.
Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?
Clearly Wilhelm Meister in “Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship” by Johann Wolfgang Goethe.
Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?
As a statement: Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning.
Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime?
“To be or not to be” by Ernst Lubitsch
What role play stories in my life and work?
Stories are the be-all and end-all of my work.
What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me?
That everyone can not only shape her or his life, but must do so.
Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?
My children. And I am very proud of the fact.
Which people or companies would I like to work with in 2022?
As I mentioned before, I would love to work with Bella Heathcote, Gary Oldman, Tim Roth and Timothy Spall on a specific project. Financing such a collaboration would only work with a major distribution label and a well-known producer.
What project, in 2022, am I looking forward to work on?
It is “The Story of the First World Cup”, which I am currently preparing as a feature documentary. I’m also writing a script for a feature film.
Where can you see me or my work in 2022?
Possibly in the cinema. Information is always available on my personal website or on the project websites.
What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?
It is something like my life motto, because I will work as long as I can.