Our next Expat Filmmaker in Berlin is no stranger to Down Under Berlin: we screened his film Pop-Up in 2016 and since then we've been waiting for him to submit his next big feature...sounds like it's in the works.
Brisbane based film director and university lecturer, Stuart McBratney, was first working in Berlin ten years ago, these days he's galavanting around the world making his own films and regularly coming back to Berlin to work, and play. He has just completed 90% of the principal photography on his latest feature project Don't Read This On A Plane in Italy, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Hungary, Romania, Greece, and Portugal in May & June 2018.
This film is about a young author called Jovana Fey and her cheeky new novel "Don’t Read This on a Plane", which chronicles a married woman’s dalliances with a hundred women. As she checks into the first hotel on her European book tour, Jovana learns that her publisher has gone bankrupt. Penniless and stranded, she decides to continue the tour regardless, resorting to hitchhiking and crashing on strangers' mattresses to meet her appointments, while attempting to project success. As the public and media become intrigued by her story, one question dominates the conversation: is her book autobiographical?
When did you start and finish shooting of DRTOAP?
Stuart - Principal photography commenced May 1 - June 30, 2018. Another week of filming will take place in late 2018.
Is the production financed/funded by a company/funding body?
Stuart - It is being co-financed by Amazing Visuals (Romania) and McBrat Motion Pictures (Australia).
Have you found there has been a big change in what it's like to work in the film industry in Berlin in the last ten years?
Stuart - I've been to Berlin at least ten times. I filmed there when I lived there then years ago and I directed a music video for electronic producer Nick Skitz. One difference between then and now is the camera technology; cameras have improved significantly in the last decade. Filming in Berlin itself hasn’t changed significantly. I love its unique mix of grunge and beauty, and it’s still my favourite city in the world!
How long ago did the idea for this film come about, and what has the process been like to get it to this stage?
Stuart - The first draft of DRTOAP was written in mid-2016. Pre-production began in mid-2017.
How many days did you spend filming in Berlin and what was the schedule like?
Stuart - We spent six days in Berlin in total, shooting sporadically. The main shoot was at the Jakob und Wilhelm Grimm Zentrum (see header image).
How did you find your international star, Canadian actress Sophie Desmarais?
Stuart - Via the internet and subsequently contacting her agent.
You traveled with a small crew to all your shooting locations, did you come across any interesting scenarios/hiccups along the way?
Stuart - Every day had its share of challenges. For the first month of shooting, in which we flew to a new country every few days, the biggest challenge was filming with only a tiny crew. It was especially difficult given the limited time allocated to shoot at the various bookstores/libraries.
What was your experience at the European Film Market (EFM) at the Berlinale like?
Stuart - I've learned a lot from the EFM about the business side of filmmaking. As a result of this, my strategy in making DRTOAP has incorporated a lot of what I've learned at the EFM over the last few years finding buyers for my last movie Pop-Up.
When can the public expect to see Don't Read This on a Plane?
Stuart - We will aim to have the premiere next year and find buyers afterward. So the release will be in 2019/2020.
I'm assuming you'll be back in Berlin sometime soon, any more international plans or projects lined up?
Stuart - There's still another year of work on DRTOAP, so I'm just focusing on that for now, but who knows where I'll end up!
Thank you, Stuart
All images © Stuart McBratney
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.