One of the chief appeals of ﬁlmmaking as an artistic practice is also what makes it so precarious: the lack of a career template. if artistry emerges from the interplay between method and hazard, between luck and preparation, then cinema, as a collaborative art, can pose an especially pronounced concentration of difﬁculties.
PraCTiCe MaKeS... words by Michael Pattison
Many directors consequently learn their cra making short films. Shorts are generally cheaper, requiring less time, resources and risk. ere’s room for experimentation – and for failure. All of which is to say that the production history of any film is by its very nature unique. At the same time, all these stories add up to the general appeal of filmmaking as a practice: there’s no blueprint. is is especially the case when it comes to films made outside the commercial studios. Sanna Lenken is a case in point. Her story is, like any other filmmaker’s, her own, and yet the diﬃculties the Swede negotiated in getting her award-winning debut feature My Skinny Sister made are in some way emblematic – especially at a time when funding infrastructures are becoming so labyrinthine that investment from multiple sources is something of a necessity. e writer-director’s debut feature was made with both Swedish and German money, and the co-production deal imposed challenges as well as opportunities. Chief among the former was meeting her German coproducer Ilona Schultz, and her cinematographer, Moritz Schultheiss. Of her working relationship with the latter, Lenken notes: “We just really had a connection, which was so lucky for me because it could
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have been very diﬀerent. It was a risk. It was almost like dating someone – I had to feel like I could trust him.” e biggest drawback was an obligation to do post-production in Hamburg. “e most stressful was the sound. I would have liked to meet them before – but there was actually no time – to talk about who I am, watch some films that I’ve made. I felt like I did do this, but I should have done this earlier on.”