10th January 2019
Spirit in the sky
Title of film: Tears in Heaven
Director: Bernd Faass
Production Company: Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg Co-Production: Element E Filmproduktion, Rocket Film
Not wanting to make a spec spot, Bernd Faass distilled his own gin and created a real brand for his film, Tears in Heaven, a hit with the 1.4 Awards jury as well as taking the top prize at the Porsche International Student Advertising Film Award. We talk with the new director about his quirky, fastidiously crafted work and the booze in his basement

You have to admit, the narrative for Tears in Heaven is fabulously far fetched – rocketing an onion into space to collect god’s tears in heaven for the eponymous gin brand. Nuts!Did the script evolve from the brand’s brief? Please tell us about the evolution of the film’s idea.

Actually this whole project happened a bit upside down. First there was this idea to steal god’s tears. It was for my diploma at filmschool (Film Akademie Baden Wurtemburg) and it could have been a spec for a major spirits brand like Absolut or Skyy Vodka. But then I felt: Why should I make a spec commercial that probably none of these big companies would care about, if I could also create the product and brand myself. A great idea and some booze… sounded just perfectly conclusive to me.

So you actually created the limited edition gin brand? How did you choose which gin distillery?

First a friend and I started experimenting with different flavours on a small distillery ourselves. It ́s actually pretty easy to make your own gin, that’s why it seems everybody does… Of course the hard thing is to make it tasty…. and to avoid your distillery exploding. One day it took off and covered the whole room with juniper and lemon.

When we fixed the distillery and finalised our recipe we went to a small distillery near my hometown in the German countryside. 500 litres seemed to be a good size for god ́s tears. I designed an all-round bottle label with references to the film and a website. Well… then we bottled every single bottle by hand, and now I have a lot of gin in my basement.

How should we drink Tears? With tonic or neat? Are there any rules?

TEARS is a very fruity premium dry gin. If you like tonic go for a very dry tonic so you won ́t kill the gin’s own fresh flavours. If you ́re a purist, go for TEARS on ice or with mineral water. I think TEARS is perfect for springtime. Happy sunny daytime drinking…

The film is fastidiously crafted. Did you work closely with a vfx artist? What were the main challenges of the production?

The main challenge beside building a giant squeezer was definitely the visual effects. I didn ́t want to make a crisp and clean science fiction commercial. Earth had to be a sweaty and dirty place, where god is the only graceful sight. But with all that sweat and dirt comes a level of detail you have to make sure you can also convey to the visual effects. So to create this visual approach and putting it into practise was the main challenge I’d say. From the very beginning I worked very closely with my good friend and supervisor Matthias Bäuerle. He has done a fantastic job, and I am greatly in his debt…

You have a distinctive filmmaking voice – very crafted, quirky and amusing. Do you write most of your own narratives? When working for clients how easy do you find keeping to your own vision?

Thank you very much. I have some sparring partners to think and talk with, but the writing I do myself. When working with clients I think the most important thing besides getting to the core of the idea, is getting to the core of the project’s needs. It ́s no rocket science to say that there won ́t be a good film if you don ́t get agency and client on board with you.

Do you work with a regular team?

If right for the project I try to work with my team. Sometimes it ́s very hard to get your mates from filmschool involved, but I think trust and dedication can be better for the result than a reel that fits the project.

Please give us the elevator version of your background which led you to filmmaking.

I ́m from the countryside. So what I wanted to do in my live was non existent there. I didn ́t even know where to call to say “Hey I wanna be paid for having ideas, hire me!” Thanks to coincidence and a handful of people I ended up in filmmaking. My parents always supported me without exactly knowing what I was doing… they just hoped that I wouldn’t end up on welfare. So far so good…

How would you describe your childhood? Was it particularly creative?

I think childhood is perhaps the most creative time in anybody’s life. Is there even a childhood more creative than others? When you ́re a child you’re a painter, an actor… most adults forget.

Where do you now call home?

I live with my family part time in Stuttgart and part time in the German “outback”. I still love the countryside. Nobody’s into filmmaking there… Although, they started to get interested in what I’m doing since they heard I have booze in my basement….


Your English is impeccable – have you lived abroad or is that just a good European education that puts us to shame in the UK?

Thank you. No I never lived abroad. But my English is probably better than my high German.

LINKS

Instagram: @berndfaass

Bernd Faass

Drink Tears

Credits

TEARS IN HEAVEN (drink-tears.com)

Written & directed by: Bernd Faass
Based on an idea by Jędrzej Golecki (jedrzej-golecki.com)

with:
Michael Specht, Andreas Braun, Frank Jacob & God

Production Company: Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg
Co-Production Company: Element E Filmproduktion, Rocket Film GmbH
Producer: Alexander Pietzsch (peach-cherry.de), Finn Neubert (vimeo.com/finnneubert)
Head of Visual Effects: Matthias Bäuerle
Director of Photography: Markus Gebhart (markusgebhart.com)
Production Designer: Nadja Götze
Editor: Henning Nolte-Tschofen ( henningnolte.com)
Casting: Tobias Krautstrunk DeeBeePhunky Casting
Colour Grading: Armin Riedel (Bronco Actionbronco) & Moritz Ripprich, Walking on the Moon WALKING ON THE MOON GmbH
Composer: Sizzer (sizzer.nl)
Sounddesign: Denis Elmagic

1st Assistant Camera: Hanns Maier, Alexander Zimmermann
2nd Assistant Camera: Verena Pietzsch
Gaffer: Patrizio Guerra
Electrician: Jan Wittkopp, Tine Wetzel, Daniel Kilgus
Dolly Grip: Jörg Rambaum, Philipp Knopf
Production Coordinator: Felix Weyers
Set Manager: Dennis Scherr
Assistant Set Manager: Moe Salamat
Assistant Producer: Veronica Garbero
Art Director: Jan Zinn
Assistant Production Designer: Luka Sola
Property Master: Sarah Batz, Claudia Frank, Marta Jeszke
Prop Maker: Denis Hahn, Lina Meyn, Jonathan Behr
Construction Builder: Lilly Hofmann, Iulia Mitzner, Mareika Greiss, Thassilo Vahlenkamp, Sophie Eidenberger, Amre El Kady, Felix Weyers
Costume Designer: Jessica Mayer
Wardrobe: Larissa Zu Höne
Hair/Make-up Artist: Hanna Pfeiffer
Catering: Sophia Schreier
Catering Assistance: Sofie Weyers
Storyboard: Felix Zehender
VFX Supervisor: Matthias Bäuerle
VFX Producer: Yuan Wang
Technical Director: Anno Schachner
Modeling: Carl Krause, Sebastian Süß, Matthias Bäuerle
Texturing: Thomas Sali, Carl Krause, Matthias Bäuerle
Rigging: Matthias Bäuerle
Matchmove: Matthias Bäuerle
Animation: Yuan Wang, Monika Tenhündfeld, Matthias Bäuerle
FX: David Bellenbaum, Sebastian Süß, Gero Eckhardt, Matthias Bäuerle
Shading: Anno Schachner, Carl Krause, Matthias Bäuerle
Lighting & Rendering: Matthias Bäuerle
Composting: Florian Zachau, Henning Nolte, Matthis Kimmich, Irina Abt, Denis Krez, Jörg Schmidt, Stefan Fraberger, Matthias Bäuerle
Additional Concept Art: Tobias Trebeljahr
Post Production: Institut für Animation, Visuelle Effekte und digitale Postproduktion, SEHSUCHT, WALKING ON THE MOON GmbH, Element E Filmproduktion
Making of: M