Transcript: Q&A at Oldenburg Film Festival

published 17 September 2012
written by Karo

OldenburgFFModerator: Here are Petter Naess, David Kross und Florian Lukas! But we also have a few other guests as well, for example the Co-Producer, that’s Maria Köpf, and the relatives and friends of Horst Schopis, Florian Lukas’ charakter, they are here today, too. Those are Heide Bockermann and Ingrid Joch, a very warm welcome. I am very exited that they are here.
First of all, it’s a very emotional movie, so first we have to talk about some feelings, I guess. So, what is it like to see such a well-known and familiar face portrayed by a young man, by Florian Lukas, in such a fantastic way and manner on the big screen? It doesn’t happen very often that friends or relatives of such a person are present at a cinema premiere. You have already seen the film once in Oslo…

Heide Bockermann: I have seen the film twice and it touched me a lot, and I want to thank Florian Lukas, it turned out great!

Moderator: And it is great that you are here in front now, because that is quite something, I really do respect that. Thank you very much!

Ingrid Joch: We get a lot of goosebumps. We have known our Horst for so many years, and now he continues to live on. Thank you.

Moderator: Thank you, Florian, yes.

Florian: I have to add, I got to know Horst and his wive and niece in Oslo before we started filming, at a press conference. Sadly, he died in the summer last year, so he did not live to see the premiere in Oslo. We all did experience it together in Oslo, sadly without Horst, but it was great to meet him, in an aircraft museum, in front of such a Heinckel, and he was very proud, I think, that he was allowed to experience something like that in his 99 years of live, but he did not make it to the premiere. But it was great to meet him, and we had a long evening during which he offered me immediately to call him Horst, so Horst and Florian spent the entire evening talking, and he told me a lot.

Moderator: Yes, and the director is here, too, so, it’s a very small story about five people in the white mountains lost for a few days. How did you stumble into that story?

Petter: It came to me from Zentropa. I was attached to do some movies for the company Zentropa, and the producer Valerie Saunders, she had heard about that story. And I, vaguely, I had heard it as well, and many Norwegians kind of know about it. It’s not a big story, but Churchill heard about this story, and he talked about it in the House of Commons during the war, and he called it “anachronism of war”, they should have finished them off in the air, that’s what he said. So Churchill heard about this story long before I was born, but when I heard about it, I found it… it’s kind of a wonderful set-up for a movie. It’s too good to be true. Two enemies shoot – literally shoot each other down, and they seek shelter in the same cabin in the mountains of Norway. In kind of Nomansland in that time, because nobody knew who was in charge over that part of Norway at that time, it was two weeks into the war, so it’s literally Nomansland, it’s very at the mercy of nature. So, that was a very long answer. Yeah, but I like the idea that it’s a very classical set-up, where enemies are forced together and they have to deal with it. And this is based on true events, and they did become friends after the war so it’s an encouraging war story.

Moderator: Do you have an explanation why there isn’t a start date for the German cinema?

Petter: I don’t know anything about that, maybe you should ask the German co-producer about that. I just made it.

Maria Köpf: The film will be in German cinemas at the end of October. The release date is around the 28 October.

Moderator: Okay, then I can relay, because there is nothing yet on the internet, but that can be changed right after the filmfest. Because I was already worried that the German distributors don’t have enough respect for the topic of this, or the audience. But I think it’s a very wonderful movie with special feelings, and there’s a lot of humour in it, and a lot of kindness.

OldenburgFF (1)Petter: For me, humour, and maybe you’ve seen my movie, which I made some years ago, Elling, which is a theatre play also, and for me it’s very important to use humour, because this is war, this is drama, and I screened this movie about these German and these English pilots, and I screened it to Norwegian war veterans, people who had literally been shot down by Germans, and they loved the movie. Because of the humour. And maybe it’s the jargon, and the way they talk, and “no, no, that’s exactly the way it is” they said. It was so much humour, and these guys together, when they talk, they used this kind of language and the humour is a very existential way of communicating.

Moderator: *to the audience* Any questions from you?

Audience: I have a question for the producer: When the film will be released in Germany, will it be synchronised? Because I wonder if that works.

Petter: You can answer it later, I really hope it will be subtitled, because the whole idea is the differences of languages. And if they all speak German, I think it’ll be strange. But then again, you’re Germans, I don’t know.

Florian: Well, normally the German distributors don’t bother about that. But I think, if there would be a synchronised version, then that would have been made already. I mean, I am hearing of the release date as 28 October for the first time, so I think it’s impossible, except if it’s sometime next year. But if we start in October, I don’t think there will be a synchronised version.

Moderator: Florian is already holding the microphone, so this would be an opportunity to ask David and Florian more questions. Maybe, because we were already talking about the way, the humour of the film, can you imaging a film like that being produced in Germany, was that the important thing, the refreshing, to do this abroad? Where the element ‘humour’ is being added differently?

David: Well, I don’t know. The scandinavians have a very dry sense of humour, which I really like, and I have also seen Elling before, and I found it extremely funny, and I heard from Petter that he adds these absurd moments. Though, it’s not particularly funny for my character, it’s rather sad, and I spent most of the time in bed, but still, the work was very enjoyable, and it was a funny atmosphere on set, even though it doesn’t look like that on my end.

Florian: Yes, I agree that a film like that is better made in Norway, and of course with Petter, who has a lot of humour anyway. And we had so much fun out there, and then during the three weeks in the cabin. But yes, I think us Germans would struggle to deal with a topic like that in such an easygoing way, so I think it was good that a Norwegian director, and in this case Petter, filmed this in Norway.

Moderator: That would be my question as you mentioned the cabin, did you really spent three weeks with oatmeat gruel to make it look authentic?

Florian: Well, the catering wasn’t very… there wasn’t a lot of money… *laughs* Well, we spent three weeks where this story really took place, we stayed in a wonderful hotel and always went to work in the morning with scooters, and there were no streets or anything, there was only just that hotel. And then we moved to Sweden into a coolhouse, and they had built a cabin there, and then we spent three weeks inside that cabin from morning til evening… And we always had to get up so very early, because the Swedish finish work quite early in the day. So we had to get out at 5 in the morning, and film a half-drunk scene like that one at six thirty in the morning, but then were done by 4 p.m.! And, due to the fact that we are taking down the cabin, we had to film chronologically, so we did rehearse and film in chronological order, like a theatre play. We did a scene, then the team joined us and a side wall was taken out, or everyone sat down in some corner. And then we did a little theatre play of 3, 4, 5 minutes, then we filmed it, and then everything started again. So it was like theatre. But with a camera.

David: And I was in bed the whole time!

Moderator: One question about Rupert Grint, maybe, who most of us have known as Ronald Weasley over the past ten years. My question is, is that his real accent, or did he exaggerate and adopt it?

vg_noPetter: It’s real. It’s not his accent, but it’s real. It’s a Liverpool accent and practiced it, he was prepared with that accent. Was that the question?

Moderator: Yes, it was. Are there more questions? About Rupert Grint again, but…

Florian: But it actually was like that, we never understood him. I knew the text, but even then it was really hard. So we kept including that, that we didn’t understand him, because that wasn’t in the script, because it honestly wasn’t possible to understand – my opinion anyway – so, well…

Moderator: And isn’t it enjoyable to be able or allowed to participate in an international production and speak such a great German English? Where you don’t need to bother with articulation and “th” and so on, and you simply break it down?

Florian: Yes, absolutely. Without a coach and everything! Well, I did watch a few films from that time, and things that were made after the war, or during it, and that is quite a bit stronger. I mean, you cannot listen to that nowadays, with such a hard German accent and extra exaggeratition, in the way they talk. *imitates* Ahahaha, kamm hier, I vill shoot you. Hahaha!” Soem film by Billy Wilder, I think. Well, I didn’t want to do that, it really was cruel to speak in such a military, harsh, German Englisch. So I didn’t do it.

Moderator: Further questions?

Audience: Question to Florian Lukas, how often does it happen that you play someone you actually know? It’s not common in your job.

Florian: It’s the second time, if I remember correctly. Yes, the second time. I have met someone once, who had a really sad, horrible story; that was a film about the flood in Hamburg during the 60ies, but he wasn’t as open, and he had really been doomed. That was the first time ever that he spoke about that story, so it wasn’t quite as… it was much harder than with Horst Schopis now, to speak about it, who was much more open and interested in talking about it, and to be in dialogue with me and to tell me many things. And yes, you don’t have that very often, and it’s really sad that he is no longer here.

Moderator: So, if there are no more questions, it was great that you were all here, it was a very special evening, Thank you for coming!

Copyright of this page's contents lies with If you wish to publish, please make sure to link back to us, or email us via