On The Cusp, Longlist - Short Film - Fiction
Shortlist - Short Film - Fiction
Short Film - Fiction
Winner - Gold

The Boy Who Couldn't Feel Pain

Eugen Merher

Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, Tempomedia

Ever since I was a teenager, I have been deeply fascinated with the United States and its culture. What captivates me most is the desolateness of some remote American towns that you could never find in Europe. I feel like it’s places like this where the most interesting and absurd things can happen, but nobody ever hears about them because nobody ever stays there for more than one night. With this short film, I tried to capture an intimate view on this world of trailer parks, deserts and bowling alleys in the form of a fictional myth, that locals could be telling passing travellers during lunch at the local diner. My producer team from film school and I flew to New Mexico based on a simple phone call with a local bowling alley in Grants, a small town East of Albuquerque. Sandy, the owner of Thunderbird Bowling Lanes was on the phone and we asked her if we could shoot a short film there. She agreed, albeit with a giggling voice, because she didn't really believe that a group of German kids would come half around the world to shoot in her bowling alley. But we did. We took the next flight to Albuquerque and drove to Grants. This started an emotional and adventurous journey both for us and for the people of Grants. Speaking of the people of Grants: They supported us from day one. A lovely elderly couple, Richard and Sandi, gave our German crew of 8 a place to sleep for more than a month and we had an instant connection with people from all sorts of backgrounds. This short became a collaborative effort of many different people from the city of Grants, from Albuquerque and from film students who drove more than 300 miles from the South of New Mexico to help make this short film come alive. This film is standing on the feet of ex-convicts, school board directors, city council workers, Native Americans, teachers, high school students and many more and I am still overwhelmed by the amount of unconditional support that we received when making this film.

Eugen was born October 24th 1990 in Chisinau, Moldova, and moved to Germany when he was five years old. At that time he discovered his passion for filmmaking with his parents' DV camera that he used for cheap action flicks with his friends. After almost 10 years of being a student, pleasing his parents with a bachelor’s degree in communications, and making lots of spec commercials and short films at the infamous Filmakademie Ludwigsburg, he is finally ready to tackle the real world with his storytelling skills.