It’s wonderful to see some good-humoured, well-crafted slapstick. How did the script come about and what was the process of writing it?
We wanted to make a surreal and fantastic film about the search for happiness. I found inspiration in the German fairytale by the Brothers Grimm (Hans Im Glück) and the movie Hector and the Search for Happiness.
The style was inspired by Wes Anderson and the great Roberto Benigni. I also stumbled upon a quote by the Dalai Lama: “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions”. Each scene stands for one maxim in life: dare, share, help, follow your heart, work hard, conquer your fears, live the moment and don’t regret. Nathalie (creative producer) and I would sit down together brainstorming until we found a way of telling the story in both, an exciting and also feasible way on a student budget.
The production looks mega, but knowing you’re on a student budget I’m assuming it wasn’t. Please tell us about the shoot, the main challenges and how you solved those.
Things on Mallorca move in a very different speed. Everything is always: mañana. Still – we needed to build everything on the island because shipping was way too expensive. Our production designer found the chassis of an old four wheeler that she used to build the soap box with. She came up with a beautiful design from scratch and spent more than two weeks building it in an old garage.
Our tutors at school were a little sceptic that a project this size could be handled on such a tight budget. Luckily, Nathalie had just moved to Palma so we used her apartment for most of the crew. The whole place was filled with inflatable mattresses – it felt like one giant sleep-over party. Soon enough we realized that we needed more money, so we got ourselves a job for an image film and put all of the earned money into the production of the film.
My biggest challenge in pre-production was finding all the actors. We didn’t have enough money to buy more plane tickets, so we had no other choice but to find them on the island. The only imported character was Hans – the lovely Tice Oakfield from London. The day before the shoot I was still missing two actors so the line producer Valentina and I ended up scanning the streets of Palma for shepherds and charismatic grandfathers. Luckily, we succeeded – thanks to a Swedish tourist couple who fell in love with our story.
Sheep are lovely animals, indeed. Soon we realized that they can’t be taught anything at all. Also, the little baby sheep did not want to go anywhere without its mother, although, that turned out to be an advantage because little sheep would always go the shortest route back to its mother. Somehow we managed to get the shots we needed – but it felt like blindly pitching a baseball hoping it would end up as a strike.
Our last challenge was the weather. We came to Mallorca because May is supposed to be a pretty safe bet. However, we lost almost a whole day out of 4.5 days of shooting because it was hailing marbles from the sky. Fortunately, I brought some Star Wars Lego to keep the boy happy during those long hours of standstill.
The post production must have taken forever did it and how did you go about it?
The editor spent quite some time cutting the film. The first draft was almost five minutes long. The biggest challenge in VFX was building the hot air balloon that we didn’t have in real life – the basket was shot hanging from a crane on top of a hill.
The most fun we had was certainly composing the music. We decided to use real instruments like violins, trumpets, kazoo and tuba. Even though we worked with professional musicians, I found it charming to make it sound a bit crappy and vintage. In the end, the composer himself contributed the vocals as a temp track. Much to his surprise, we ended up using his temp track in the final version of the song. He wants me to keep that a secret, though.
What are you currently up to? And what are your plans?
Besides pitching for commercials, I am working on two scripts for serial drama, one is comedy and the other one is going to be a thriller. Nathalie and I are also sharing a dream, a vision for the future. We want to found a film house on Mallorca where creatives meet, share and post-produce their stories. Currently, we are looking for suitable housing and co-op partners.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Dare, share, help, follow your heart, work hard, conquer your fears, live the moment, don’t regret and come meet us at our film house on Mallorca.
See more photographs here
Contact details in credits
Director: Gabriel Borgetto
Producer: Nathalie Kraft
Production: Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg
Co-Production: Black Pearl Film GmbH
Created by: Gabriel Borgetto & Nathalie Kraft
DOP: Markus Gebhart
Editor: David Gesslbauer
Original Music: Stefan Benz UNEON SOUND
Art Director: Angelika Duft
Line Producer: Valentina Kaminker
Set Manager: Daly Dominique Curtis
Production Assistants: Carolina Feijoo, Pao Ensenyat, Laura González Plaza, Ruben Capilla
Costume Design: Carl Christian Andresen
Make Up Artist: Valentina Kaminker
Steadicam Operator: Chris McKissick
Gaffer: Heinz Rose
Grip: Henrik Gustavsson
Drone: Dronpro.sl & Droncompany
Electrician: Till Pallapies
1.AC: Emanuel Köll
2.AC: Alexander Beitz
Art Director Assistant: Yvonne Leuze
VFX Supervisor: Julian Weiß
VFX: Chimney Deutschland GmbH
VFX Producer: Oliver Arnold
VFX Coordinator: Marco Muñoz
Lead Compositing Artist: Mauricio de Oliveira
Compositing Artist: Marco Masotti
Compositing Artist: Manuel Mastropirro
Compositing Artist: Philipp Bauer
Additional Compositing: Mario Bertsch
Motion Design: Patrick Poelchau
Sketch Artist: Giulia Sara Bellunato
Color Grading: Colors made in Germany
Sound Design: DELTA Soundworks
Mixing: Marvin H. Keil
Musicians: Clemens Braun, Teresa „Tesi“, Matthias Fitting, Gergely „Gergö“ Lukacs, Jonathan Kluth, Stefan Benz
Hans: Tice Oakfield
Truck Driver: Diego Ingold
Bride: Marcela Baraca
Groom: Simón Merado
Boy: Bryan Lopez
Old man: Juan Nincolau Comas
Shepherd: Per Tallaksen
New Guy: Chris McKissick
Casting: AH Casting
Animals: Parque Zoológico Natura Parc
Rental: MNStudios & Mallorcalighting.SL