Synopsis: Two senior citizens view Berlin city life from their respective windows on opposite sides of the street and develop an unusual bond.
What prompted you to make this film?
I've lived in several cities in my life: New York, London, Berlin and Los Angeles. I'm always struck by the lack of community in large places. A person goes through the day encountering many other people but often fails to make any real connection. Our addiction to cell phones has only made this worse. I was in New York during 9/11. It was, of course, one of the most horrible days I've ever experienced. The days following the attack, however, were some of the most beautiful I've witnessed. The sense of community that emerged out of the pain was astounding. People really connected with each other often in simple ways. A pat on the shoulder, a shared smile, a hug. Those simple connections got us through.
The two lead actors are marvelous. Where did you find them?
Sophie Molitorus, a dear friend and casting director in Hamburg, sent us a list of actors. We spent several days looking at show reels and websites. Gertrud Roll and Horst Westphal were our first choices to play Marta and Albert. Needless to say, we were THRILLED when they both said yes.
Do you think the lives of senior citizens are neglected in film?
I think that their value is overlooked. Marta and Albert are such an integral part of the fabric of this particular community yet when Albert is no longer in his window, only Marta seems to notice. But the fact that she does notice, and feels his absence - the lack of companionship and the harsh sounds of the city in place of the music - is what our story is all about.
How did you decide on a location for the film?
It is a very Berlin story. In Berlin, one will see the older population watching the world from their windows quite often. It's something that perhaps you don't realize if you live there day in and day out. You become so used to it.
What was your biggest challenge in the making of the film?
Berlin Mitte, the setting for our film, has undergone a rapid gentrification in the past ten years. It was quite difficult to find two un-renovated buildings across the street from one another. When we did find two such buildings, we then needed to get permission to film in the first floor apartments of both buildings. It was not an easy task. Thankfully, it all seemed to come together four days before filming was to begin.
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