New to Berlin but already making a splash in the filmmaking industry is Eloise Walker, the director of DUB 2018 short film 'Lemons', and our next Expat Filmmaker In Berlin.
Eloise is from Sydney and trained at the University of Technology there, receiving a Bachelor of Communications (Media Arts & Production), and a Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation. Her self-funded graduation film, Lemons, is having its international premiere with Down Under Berlin 2018, but before that, she also had some success with her previous short film she wrote and directed in 2017 called Fugitive of the Mind, which screened in Washington in June and is to be screened in the Netherlands in September at Dutch Media Week.
Why the desire to come to Berlin in the first place?
Eloise - This is an easy one. Berlin was a done deal for me. I spent a bit of time in Germany as a teenager and fell in love with the country - the people, the culture, sogar die Sprache! I finished up my degree at the end of last year just knew I needed a change.
The creative industries don’t work like other industries. You can’t apply for a job as a director. You want to be a director? Prove it.
This is something that I'm still coming to grips with. Suspending the uncertainty and running with the ‘risk’ of pursuing a creative profession is not easy. Though somehow being in Berlin makes it easier. I guess when you move halfway across the world, you can start over again. Fear of failure had always stifled how I created, but here it doesn’t. What does failure matter when you’re almost completely anonymous? There’s something very freeing about that idea. I see Berlin as my chance to pivot and find new inspiration.
Why did you want to work in film as a career?
Eloise - I always knew I wanted to do something creative. My favourite subject at school was Visual Arts. I used to paint a lot when I was younger - something that I’m trying to get back into recently. I am a visual storyteller - usually, my ideas start as images or vignettes which I then build a story around.
I’m addicted to good ideas. There’s nothing more thrilling than that spark you get once you’re hooked on an idea when that first tiny seed plants itself in your head and you can’t stop thinking about it. When its a really good one, it consumes you. Its roots sprawl until they reach other creative minds and pull them all together. That’s how I imagine it anyway - if the idea’s good enough, and you’re passionate enough about it, it becomes infectious. A crew who are all on the same page can transform that idea into something complete. I never got that spark in Maths class.
When filming Lemons, did you run into any challenges along the way?
Eloise - A couple of our outdoor scenes were shot guerilla. We had really good luck at our locations, no major disasters, though one of them was difficult. One of our scenes is in a train station. We couldn’t afford to pay for barricading, so we deliberately chose to shoot this scene at midnight on a Sunday at a station that was at least 25 minutes away from the city centre, in an effort to avoid crowds. But of course, as the universe would have it, with every train that came through, so did a crowd of 20-30 people (yes, even on a Sunday at midnight). So we then had to time our takes so that we were shooting in between trains. I mean, it could have been much worse.
How has your experience in the industry been since you arrived in Berlin?
Eloise - It’s been tantalising (that’s a word, right?). I’ve been working on a couple of indie projects recently, meeting some amazing people who are all so energised to make their ideas real. It also feels really communal. There’s this general vibe that everyone wants to help each other out here, and enthusiasm paired with some clever creative can only be a good thing.
Any long-term goals for your time on this side of the world?
Eloise - I’d like to shoot a couple of music videos while I’m here, and work with some local artists to showcase their stuff. Berlin’s such a hub, and you really do feel the buzz. I want to get in on that.
I’m working on a short film at the moment which we’re shooting at the beginning of August, and then I’m in development for a feature which I’ve been wanting to make for about four years now. Can’t say much about it other than its a Berlin story set in the 60s/70s, and we’re writing it in German.
Any plans to go back to Aus?
Eloise - I’ve got to wait this one out I think. I’m still pretty *frisch* here so I'm planning on staying until at least April next year, and in the meantime, pray for a white Christmas so that I won’t miss champers on the beach too much.
Thank you, Eloise
All Images ©Eloise Walker
Eloise is now working in Berlin, having directed a short film called Terminal, and recently completed shooting as part of the production team on projects with directors Sarah Nolen and Ju Lee. Things are amping up!
Charmaine Gorman is an Australian actress and writer living in Berlin with her family. As a content writer and editor, she works for many clients around the world, and along with her husband, is the founder and content manager of the online travel guide My Guide Berlin