IAC logo

The world of non-commercial film and A-V

Events Diary Search
The Film and Video Institute find us on facebook Join us on Facebook

Bookmark and Share

The making of Wet Cigars for Berlin

This film won a Gold Standard award.

My first film is Wet Cigars for Berlin. Back in 1998 I started to take photos to illustrate my crazy concepts. Later I realised that still pictures were just not enough to express my ideas. I decided the pictures had to move.

In 2002 my best buddy and I bought a camera.

Stephan Muller appearing in 'Wet Cigars for Berlin'.

At that time I was working in community services with a firm which arranged transport for handicapped people. [Editor: it is common for school-leavers in Germany to spend some months in public service before moving on to college.]

For ten months I drove physically handicapped people through the city. During that time lots of things caught my eye, things I might put into the film I was planning. At the same time I was recording spontaneous notions in my "Ideas Book". When my civil service career was over, in Autumn 2002, that became my shooting script.

One morning, for example, I called my best mate to persuade him to help me make the scene where I dangle my legs out of Tom Cruise's ear. We met and took the metro to Alexander Platz, where the building with the enormous Tom Cruise poster was. In my rucksack I had a proper workman's outfit. I planned to wear that and sneak unnoticed up the scaffolding which held the huge billboard.

Still from 'Nasser Ziggaren fur Berlin'. Still from 'Nasser Ziggaren fur Berlin'. Still from 'Nasser Ziggaren fur Berlin'.

On the way there in the train we spotted that Detlef (Dee) Soest's Dance School was having some sort of open day. In the open space by the school some girls with fancy hats and batons were bringing dance steps closer to the public. Things were quite chaotic in the courtyard. A stage had been built there and it was surrounded by parents and their would-be pop star children.

It suddenly struck me that wearing the builder's outfit I could dance about on the stage and show these super-groomed teeny-boppers a real "alternative happening". It took a lot of will-power because this is not something I usually do. I jumped on the stage and boogied a bit. To my amazement Dee's girls danced on totally unimpressed. Then, I jumped into the crowd, found my buddy and changed clothes.

On the way back to Alexander Platz, I felt a dull thump at the back of my head. It was Detlef Soest himself, who threatened to thrash me all the way out of the square. I was terrified and stammered things like: "I didn't plan it. It won't happen again." It felt like half an hour before he let us go, though it was probably more like 90 seconds.

Still from 'Nasser Ziggaren fur Berlin'. Still from 'Nasser Ziggaren fur Berlin'. Still from 'Nasser Ziggaren fur Berlin'.

Our number one topic of conversation for the next 20 minutes was, how cool it would have been, if we had filmed that too. But we hadn't. There was just too much happening in Alexander Platz that day so we postponed the Tom Cruise shot till the evening.

Within a month, I had a pile of ideas stored up, but I realised that in order to get a portfolio of work together for my Art College application, I had to make more meaningful things. I set aside all the raw material for the film and didn't look at it for 6 months.

Still from 'Nasser Ziggaren fur Berlin'. Still from 'Nasser Ziggaren fur Berlin'. Still from 'Nasser Ziggaren fur Berlin'.

Still from 'Nasser Ziggaren fur Berlin'. In June 2003, with the portfolio ready, I took great pleasure spending time reviewing all the material we had shot. A friend showed me the essentials of editing on computer.

I quickly realised that I had to shoot more footage to give the film some shape.

The text and scenes that I inserted referred to the music.* The film was ready in about three weeks. My mother has not seen it to this day, probably because she knows it doesn't flatter her.

- Stephan Muller    March 2006

* [Editor: The song which is played twice during the film is by Die Ärtze (The Doctors), and entitled "Schrei nach Liebe" (Cry for Love). Its vitriol is aimed at a right-wing, skinhead type who the band reckon is just stupid and filled with hate because his parents didn't love him. They sing: "Your violence is only a silent cry for love." It is this fascist person they call "arschloch" (arsehole). That links with the film's prejudice against right-wing political figures.]


Share your passions.

Audience silhouette.

Share your stories.

Page updated on 09 October 2011
Contact Webmaster
find us on facebook Join us on Facebook
Bookmark and Share
UNICA information UNICA member
Company Limited by Guarantee No. 00269085. Registered Charity No. 260467. Authors' views are not necessarily those of the Institute of Amateur Cinematographers. Website hosted by Merula. JavaScripts by JavaScript Source. Menu by Live Web Institute. Art work by Tony Kendle.