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Anne Wild • Director

Diversity and persistence

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Anne Wild • Director

"One watches, the other permits himself to be watched." Things start to get especially interesting when Anne Wild talks about her work with actors, for the director began her own career by training in that profession. During that time, certainly, it became clear to her that she wished to take a different path: "Even then, I was already staging and producing my colleagues," as she recalls, but she has retained a high opinion of the profession. "Mutual trust" is the most important thing, she says. Today she selects her actors and actresses herself: "I saw Juliane Koehler in a production of Stella, and subsequently I approached her for the main role in My First Miracle." It was also her idea to cast Sybille Canonica in the role of the witch in her filming of Grimm’s fairy-tale Hansel and Gretel. "I wanted a tall, dark woman and not a wizened old granny."

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The 39-year-old director has made her name thus far with two films. In 2001 she wrote the screenplay for What To Do in Case of Fire?, a film that combines a generation portrait of late seventies left-wingers with genre motifs, filmed by Georg Schnitzler. Then came her own debut as a director, My First Miracle. For this bold story about the intense friendship between an 11-year-old girl and an adult, Wild won the acclaimed Max Ophuels Prize in 2003. "Of course, deep down it is a similar theme," says Wild as she looks back at these two very different films. "In both cases it is all about growing up."

It took quite some time before Wild grew up as a director. By contrast to many of her colleagues, she never went to a film academy. After acting school, she worked in a range of fields; as a journalist, copywriter and production assistant. Then the breakthrough came with What To Do in Case of Fire?. "That was my first big screenplay; meaning that I couldn’t film it myself at that stage. But after that, a lot happened automatically" and the doors were opened for a film of her own.

My First Miracle was also a minor cinematic miracle: full of poetry and dense atmosphere, but without slipping into the sentimental, Wild recounts an impossible love – and a break with taboos. Far from all narrative clichés of teenie puberty and child abuse, the film concerns the relationship between a child and an adult, and shows a brief interlude away from the security of bourgeois conditions and norms, a time of daydreaming and escaping from the world. As always, Anne Wild had the self-confidence to win over others for her material: "I was very sure that I could make it succeed." An outstanding film employing the simplest of means, it later ran with only 17 copies in German cinemas and enjoyed reasonable success: "The distributor did not take a loss – that is important to me."

It was followed in 2005 by Hansel and Gretel: "A film version of Grimm’s fairy-tale that stays completely true to the original." Wild did not want to modernize it, for after all, it is about fear, the subconscious and archetypes – "that is the interesting thing about fairy tales." After being shown at the Berlinale 2006, the film is due to start in German cinemas some time in 2007.

At present Wild is working parallel on the development of three ideas. One project is again about young people, one is a family story, and the third screenplay "is a love story, with a number of women and one man".

Wild finds the actual writing of screenplays difficult and time-consuming, and sometimes she misses an exchange with other writers. But, as she says: "It’s just that the things I do, I cannot do them any other way than how I do them."

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