An Interview With Alexandra Bekiou & Micky Jukovic ("As the Wave Broke")
Congratulations again on winning Best Supporting Actor and Inspiring Woman in a Film for As the Wave Broke! It's such a memorable film, with a simple yet empowering message. Before we chat about the film, please tell us a bit about yourselves. What sparked your interest in visual storytelling?
A.B.: First of all I want to thank you for being part of your amazing film festival and winning those awards for my film „As the wave broke…“.
I am a new filmmaker based in Cologne. Micky Jukovic is a very well-known actor in German TV and very busy in social medias, mostly playing roles as a “bad guy”. Michael Marwitz is a high qualified actor in Germany for nearly about 40 years and Katerina Giannakopoulou is a multidisciplinary artist.
I wanted to create something different about movie making, so I have chosen the visual storytelling. It was a way to give the actors the chance to tell a story with their acting, and I have used mostly the form of Storytelling with voice overs and only one scene has a dialogue. I think I mostly got inspired of old movies with Charlie Chaplin. It is also interesting to see if the audience will be able to understand my film as I have produced it. I took that as a challenge to show something different than the audience will except to see.
Alexandra, your entry to the film world was a bit untraditional - you didn't go to filmmaking school, but instead, you show that with talent and hard work one can achieve a lot! How did you start out?
A.B.: I am writing stories for about 40 years now, starting to type on the writing machine of my father, when I was 6 years old. Many years between the age of 26-35 I was more involved in the music business as the film business. Moving then with 39 back to Germany from Greece, a friend of mine took me onto a Filmset for a long movie he was acting for, just for fun. After many weeks of being on this Filmset, I had the chance to help out as Set Assistant, Set Runner, Assistant Director and being often behind the monitor helped me to see for myself, that I have a good eye on things. Then it just clicked and so I started to visit film festivals, connect with people from the film business, start writing over 3 scripts for long movies and with LEARNING BY DOING, I helped out on many sets as I could. And then I woke up one day and said to me, that it is meant, to become a filmmaker. I am very proud that I have managed with lots of help from others to go this path.
Having worked as an A.D. and a location manager on many short films and commercials, do you feel that helped you to wear the director's hat?
A.B.: Yes indeed, it helped a lot. The whole process within the pre-production, has been the most creative process before you work on Set. One's own creativity is stimulated by creating one's own images and having his visions of film. My talent, if I may say so, is that I can quickly translate visions of someone else’s ideas into images. Furthermore, I leave the actors enough space to unfold themselves in front of the camera and to bring something of themselves into the role.
Micky, your first encounter with acting was as early as 17 years old, but it took a while before you actually pursued a career in acting. What were some of your first steps into the acting world?
M.J.: A film was made at my school and they were looking for a suitable actor playing a drug dealer.My younger brother told me about it and I happily went to the casting and few days later we were shooting in public on the street. I liked all the atmospheer, the whole process of film making and a year later I was sitting at the movies, and was very excited to watch my performance. But the circumstances at that time were unfavorable to start a career as an actor, I still didn‘t know where my fate was leading me, so I continued my banking school and studies properly. I have done various jobs and none of them fulfilled me as a person; I knew there was more, and as I wanted to find myself I remembered that time during the schooting with pleasure and so i decided to try to act in movies.
You have extensive experience in theatre, opera and also in front of a camera. Do you feel it's acting on stage, in front of an audience, is different from acting in front of a camera and a film crew? If so, in what ways?
M.J.: My first acting steps were in the theater and opera because the two branches were in the same house. I was also a singer in various opera productions. Of course there are differences when you are on live stage, because the audience is sitting in front of you, and you have to be 100% perfect during your play. In the operas, overacting is almost desired but in the theater you should not overact too much. It was hard for me to keep the balance, so I love more acting in movies. Even if I like to play live from time to time, I still want to stay true to the film Industry and I am looking forward for cool film projects all over theworld.
Let's focus on As the Wave Broke. The film features a powerful message about trauma: people must not see themselves as victims - and they can actually grow stronger after being abused. The story seems to come from a very personal, honest place. Alexandra, what was your creative writing process like? Was this film inspired and/or based by true events?
A.B.: Every biography of a person can resemble a story of an other person. I have met a lot of abused people in my life, especially women. Since I had to experience a form of abuse for about several times in my life, I brought a lot of my father's life wisdom into the film, which helped me in my life to be able to get up again after every case. Personally, I turn everything negative that I experience immediately into something positive. My biggest statement in the film is actually only one. No matter how often we are physically abused, no one should let his soul being abused, and no one should see themselves as a victim! My film is partly based on a biography and on the other hand I have contributed my own experiences and thoughts. In my feature film, which I plan in the future, much more intensivity is presented. This film here is just a touch of the biography.
Is this your first collaboration with co-author (and actor) Michael Marwitz? How did you initially meet and in your opinion, what are the advantages and disadvantages of working with a co-author?
A.B.: I have worked with Michael Marwitz on several Sets. He was booked as an actor and for myself, I have mostly worked on those Sets as an assistant director.
I can tell you that there is no disadvantage of working with him together on this film as a co-author. Michael is very eloquent and incredibly powerful in the German language, particularly in the lyrical form. He is also my best friend and one of only a few people I can really trust. We also plan to work together on the script for the feature film. We used the short film (22:13 Minutes) As the wave broke / Als die Welle brach… as a reference to draw attention to something unique.
This is your directorial debut! How did you prepare for the shoot, and what were some of the main takeaways from this experience?
A.B.: It took me about 2 months to get the final screenplay. Within 3 months I was busy with location scouting, financing possibilities, offers for the equipment and a lot of conversations to get everything organized on Set, so that we could all start working on Set from day , in peace. I had really positive experiences during the planning, because I got to know many people from Germany and Holland who found my film history and theme very interesting. So I didn't need any filming permits, and with rental prices they all met me very well. My plan is deffinetely to direct and create special movies.
Micky, your performance was marvelous. How did you prepare for your role as Ricky, and what was the most challenging thing about portraying him?
M.J.: The preparations were not difficult for me, I knew the script and the great filmmaker and director Alexandra Bekiou for about three years already, and even if this was our first cooperation, I had no doubts at all that this film would not be a success. She has an amazing talent to sell you the story so well, that you even can see the film even without reading the script. She also is a pusher on Set and took the best out of me. Also I knew the co-author as actor Michael Marwitz. We have met at many film festivals in Germany. A wonderful collegue!
The most challenging was that I didn‘t know the main actress before and I was a bit anxious about our part that we should play together.
I focused fully on her as a person. So we come closer as collegues and I could imagine our part together for the film better.
What was the rehearsal process like, and was there any improve done on set?
M.J.: We hadn’t any rehearsal process because Alexandra Bekiou already knew me and saw me at the big screen. I played there a bad guy in a long movie, but as we talked afterwards at the party, she told me that she would like to give me a chance in playing something else, because she saw some kind of sensitivity in me.
Actually at the beginning oft he shooting we stuck on the script. But Alexandra stopped it as she realized that it didn’t worked as planned. So she asked me just like that: „Micky, what would you do at this moment if you were Ricky, and what would you have said in such a situation?“ So I have showed her some examples and than we took the best out of it.
Let's talk about some of the technical aspects of shooting the film. Were you at all worried about shooting the violin in a scene where it certainly gets wet?
A.B.: Well it start with this. I bought this „Dummy“ of a violin for preparing my actress for her role of Julia. As for myself I am a former violin player, and I realized that only „holding“ and „smelling“ a violin, could help out for a special perfomance in a scene. Afterwards I had that idea for putting the violin beside the water oft he sea. Water can destroy as it can heal. I then held the violin in my hand and just got some beautiful images. So I put her into the water and then my DOP Lukas Herbrand has created brilliant images we used at the beginning and end of the film. My photographer Daniel Dornhöfer has chosen this image to create the simply but strong held film poster.
How many days did you have to shoot, and what was the size of the crew?
A.B.: I have planned 3 days of shooting with one day additionally as a „buffer“ and I am very glad that I did so, because the third day we could not shoot the scene with Michael Marwitz, as the weather was very stormy. So we used actually the „buffer“ day. 4 days of shooting, and we have been for 5 days in Holland.
We were 2 crew members, Lukas Herbrand (DOP) as myself, and 3 actors, Michael Marwitz, Micky Jukovic and Katerina Giannakopoulou.
At the post-production we were more crew members (technical department of 2 more members) as the film composers Andreas Wolff and Felix Tille from MUSIC PARADISE TONSTUDIO and the band ASTROLAUT who wrote the beautiful filmsong.
What was the most challenging scene to shoot?
A.B.: The most challenging was definetely the ONE SHOT scene oft he role of Julia in the woods. We have prepared as act that very special scene many times before we shot it. It was very intense as afterwards everyone was crying and very happy that we could manage it even better as we thought we could have done it. So I love challenges, because I think that everyone involved in scenes who are ONE SHOTS, is getting his own challenge for those minutes because of hard concentration.
Do you have any tips for younger actors who wish to follow your footsteps?
M.J.: Just be who you are, listen to everybody from which you can learn from and stay focus on what you want to achieve. That was my motto anyway from day one.
What is your dream role? When approaching a new project, what are your expectations from a film director?
M.J.: When I am watching films from hollywood, I often tell myself that this or
that role would suit very good to me. But I would love to play a seductive vampire someday. My expectations from a film director would be to push my limits in front of the camera.
Tell us about your next project, what's in development for 2021, and also for the long run? Also.. have you considered making a longer version of this film? (Maybe, turning it into a feature?)
A.B.: First of all I am re-writing the exposé and my script for the „Feature“ of As the wave broke / Als die Welle brach... But it will be a cinematic film with dialogues as mostly dramatic scenes of two people. Nevertheless, I got an offer for being part as an assistant director for a long movie that will eventually be shoot in 2021, also a biography from the latest 50’s. Since yesterday I also got an offer from a young new upcoming filmmaker to work with him together on his own drama short film, which will be financed by a scholarship, so I am writing with him together the script and will assist him as well as co-produce the film. Afterwards I will help him out for the national and international submissions at the film festivals.
Where can our readers follow your work? (Social media links, website, etc..)
A.B.: I love create new contacts with filmmakers all over the world so my social media links, Mickys links as my co-authors Michael links we prefere are the following: