Director and owner of the production company Hafzoo
How did you get into film? What particularly attracted you to become part of this industry?
First and foremost, I wanted to get away from Tirol. Further than Munich, further than Vienna, there had to be at least a larger amount of water between me and Tirol. So, through a series of lucky coincidences, I was admitted to the Arts Institute Film School in England to study film and directing. I would say I was lucky, because only with a good distance do you begin to see your homeland sharply, learn to appreciate things that are perhaps commonplace there and develop a relaxed view. Getting a taste of the big movie business and carrying the film trailer reels from the impressive Universal Pictures office through the narrow alleys of Soho during an internship was exciting. I received my training in the ‘old school’ of celluloid film. I had great respect for the medium and it was planned, prepared and rehearsed umpteen times before each take – because it was expensive to keep the mill rattling. That has stayed with me, I plan my projects carefully and enjoy detailed pre-production.
My central attraction in the work was and is, as a director, to creatively accompany and be responsible for an idea from the first steps of preparation, through the realisation of the mostly logistics-dominated shoot, to editing and the soundtrack. Directing creative energy as it arises in the process with a film team is simply the most exciting thing for me and never gets boring on a human level. Giving form to an idea in a team effort, together with talented professionals, and bringing it into the world, that’s what drives me.
What distinguishes Tirol as film region for you?
I like filming in Scotland or Sweden, but when it comes to alpine accessibility, Tirol leads the way. It’s not for nothing that the postcard view from the Anna Säule to the Nordkette mountain range directly behind it is so special; in film jargon this is often referred to as ‘short distances’. Tirol’s spectacular nature is indeed incredibly well developed, which encourages productions to shoot here.
We are curious: Tell us your favourite location in Tirol!
With pleasure, Innsbruck. Because I’m constantly challenged to find new corners, angles and views in this small city that Innsbruck really does deliver anew. A gift that keeps on giving’, I would say. Just recently, in the course of a production, we scouted the various institutes of the University of Innsbruck, which are spread all over the city, and were allowed to open doors that normally remain closed. It was an eye-opener what extraordinary motifs there are, from the huge space telescope of the university observatory to the jungle in the botanical garden to the impressive historical reading room. The closer you look, the more interesting motifs and corners you discover.
And now: The stage is yours! Please introduce yourself and your field of activity.
I have specialised primarily in short formats. After 10 years as a freelance commercial director, shooting films across Europe for brands like Vodafone, McDonalds and Garmin, I started my own production company ‘Hafzoo’. I am interested in being able to offer the experience I have gained in innovative production methods and creative practices from a single source and to implement them independently. When I moved back here with my family, after a total of 13 years living in the UK, I moved Hafzoo from England to Tirol. In our office in Kaiserjägerstraße, we create stories for campaigns, we scribble, cast, produce and edit. A strong story, like the one we create in the conception of an advertising film, is the basis for all the components of an advertising campaign. If necessary, all communication measures can be derived from it: Film, photo, print, TikTok, text, PR, even a radio spot. I see the advertising film as the essence of communication tools because it represents the sum of all creative things.
To push this further, we recently launched ‘FeSt’. Together with my friends photographer Clemens Ascher, producer Lucas Riccabona and documentary photographer Nicolas Hafele, we design communication ideas and implement them in Kaiserjägerstraße www.fest.at. We work for international advertising agencies as well as for regional companies and love our craft.