Chennai International Film Festival

Uwe Schwarzwalder

Passion for Perfection and Originality are Key to a Filmmaker: Director Uwe Schwarzwalder

A Businessman, an Actor, a Producer and now a Director as well – Mr. Uwe Schwarzwalder gets chatty with Ms. Divya Jay and shares his love for classics cinema and how American movies were his motivation in making films. He also shares his thoughts on what traits he adores in his favourite filmmakers! Read on to understand his journey…

How did Mr. Uwe, an Actor become a Director?

After focusing only on my acting career, besides working as a businessman and attending many

acting workshops, I started writing a script with the idea of making my own film while using what I’ve learned so far. I’ve gained lot of experience during my stay in Los Angeles where I was busy working every day on a different TV or film set for over a year. It proved to be very helpful for my plan. My first film garnered over 200 awards.

How did ‘The Safe’ happen to you?

When I discovered a family safe at my mother’s place, the idea to write a story about it popped

immediately in my head – stealing a safe from a dangerous person. Everything was shot in my hometown. I just had to flavour it with some gangster style themes and conflicts.

Which filmmakers inspire you the most?

Falling Down, Deer Hunter, Citizen Kane; Elia Kazan, Woody Allen, Wim Wenders, Werner Herzog

What makes these filmmakers your favourite?

Their passion for perfection, courage and originality!

Would you don other roles than directing?

In my films, I also act, and am involved in the editing and producing process, besides writing the

screenplay of course.

Do the writer and director need to be the same person?

They can be different, of course, but should work together very closely, like Kazan did with

Tennessee Williams, for example. However, best is that both are the same person I think, then the director knows exactly what the writer wants.

Would you direct a movie written by someone else?

I think I would if the script touches my soul.

Would you write a movie that might have a different director?

It’s a difficult question, but if I know the director well, I would trust him, also to learn and see

other aspects of the story which I didn’t think of.

How did you start and how has your moviemaking journey been till now?

My journey hasn’t been that long – My first film “The Radicalization of Jeff Boyd” received lots of recognition with many awards, The Safe has just started to be seen, and “The Spiritualization of Jeff Boyd* is in post-production. We filmed it in Switzerland, Germany, Bulgaria and India, and

will soon be submitted to festivals.

Does having a degree in filmmaking help become a better director?

I only studied acting, with Dianne and Lorrie Hull in Los Angeles who worked with Strasberg and

Kazan, and Jack Waltzer in London and Online, lifetime member of the Actor’s Studio, and a few

more. I never attended a film school. What I needed to know for editing, I learned from Youtube


What difference do you see between making a short film and a feature film.

I did only one short film which is 53 minutes long, “A Tangled Web”, where I played a role in it and was executive producer, but I might make a short film next year. I like challenges; therefore, I make features I think, and I have a lot to tell.

Tell us about the cinema scene in Switzerland.

It’s picking up lately. Many have started making their own films, but it’s far from America and India. To receive support is still very difficult though, as they prefer only a handful “known” filmmakers to support them commercially.

Have you seen any Indian movies?

I’ve seen quite a few Indian films, many classics too. I was also a judge at an Indian film festival where I saw many new films. They impressed me a lot and I gave them good ratings.

How does it feel to have ‘THE SAFE’ at 21st CIFF?

I feel great and humbled at the same time, being part of such an amazing selection of which I

watched quite a few films.

How similar/different are Indian movies from the kind of movies you make.

They have a theatrical touch which I appreciate. It’s a different form of film and culture. Some are western oriented respectively executed and some have their own local style. They are

original, many have strong messages and are truthful. You also feel dedication and passion

in them. I really enjoyed watching them.

Which movies helped you in your journey of becoming a filmmaker?

American films. I also like writing in English the most. But after visiting many film festivals in

India, I think Indian films influenced me too in some way. We’ll see when ‘The Spiritualization of

Jeff Boyd’ is out.