Interview by Andreea Boyer // Edited by Chris Charles of Idol Features
German filmmaker Manuel Weiss knew he wanted to work in movies ever since he was a kid. Now running a production company in Munich, his recent film Day-X, is an example of why he’s making a name for himself as a rising talent in the German film industry.
Andreea Boyer: What can you tell us about yourself and where are you from?
Manuel Weiss: My name is Manuel Weiss and I was born in Munich, Germany. In my youth, I lived in Paris for three and a half years. Back then, I started making movies with my friends from school with my father’s VHS camcorder. Now, several years later, after my studies as an editor and media designer, I am a father of two and I am running a film company in Munich.
Andreea Boyer: Have you been working in the film industry mainly in Germany or also somewhere else around the globe?
Manuel Weiss: Yes, until now I only produce in Germany.
Andreea Boyer: How did you start your career as a filmmaker and what has motivated and inspired you?
Manuel Weiss: I’ve always wanted to tell stories with sound and pictures. When my father bought his first VHS camcorder, I immediately started with my own little movies. In 1993, I saw Jurassic Park in the cinema. From this point on, I wanted to know everything about filmmaking. Accordingly, I also chose my studies in the media industry. After that, I worked for a few years as an editor and later as a producer at ProSiebenSat1. At the same time, I shot image films and music videos for clients. That’s how I started my own business. At some point I started working on my real passion; fiction.
Andreea Boyer: When did you start with your career as a filmmaker and has filmmaking always been your main focus?
Manuel Weiss: Actually, I started as a kid and there never was an alternative thing to what I’d like to do for living. I just want and wanted to make movies.
Andreea Boyer: What can you tell us about the cast and story from your movie Day X?
Manuel Weiss: The story is partly based on real events and plays with a constantly topical dark topic. It is also about the question of how far self-justice can go if the system lets you down. From the beginning, the actors were ready to tackle this dark topic. Sometimes we had time to try different ideas which often came from the actors. They created moments on set in which you could feel the whole tragic of the character. That was intense and pretty unusual because normally it is not very emotional on a film set because of the many people and technology around us. I think we had extremely good actors who can compete with any great German actor in every way.
Andreea Boyer: Where did you film Day X?
Manuel Weiss: We filmed in and around Munich. All locations were only possible through supporters, friends, or family.
Andreea Boyer: What can you tell us about your other films and work?
Manuel Weiss: Before my feature film debut, I produced two seasons of a series called Ebersberg. It is a Bavarian mystery series about the existing legend of the woman in white of Ebersberg. Originally, it was just a test pilot for Youtube. But as the clicks grew higher and higher, we even got support by the Bavarian Film Commission (FFF Bayern) for the season two. Today the series is running on Amazon Prime, Pantaflix, and Kinoflimmern.
Andreea Boyer: What can you tell us about your best experiences and which moments in your career have been the most influential ones for you?
Manuel Weiss: When I put together a team which likes working with me on a film and is also proud of the movie when everything is done, these are the best moments during production. Because then all their work and efforts have paid off. Receiving the support by the film commission twice in a row has certainly shown me that my work is starting to get recognized by the German film industry.
Andreea Boyer: What is your advice for all young independent filmmakers on how they should work on their goals and reach the best audience for their individual work?
Manuel Weiss: People should always plan to get their films done and seen. There is nothing worse than a project that does not have an end. It is disrespectful to all hard-working crew and cast members. Sometimes I have to live by the motto “done is better than perfect.” Because it is okay, if not everything is perfect, but it is not okay, if there is no film. If you love the story that you are filming, then there is also an audience which likes to see your film. Whoever does what he loves usually does it pretty well, or rather, as best he can. I think that is a good start.
Thank you, Manuel. We wish you continued success.
See more of Manuel’s works at his IMDb Page.