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The making of Oldiegarage

To BIAFF 2008 results | To Full Making Of Index

Oldiegarage won a Diamond Award and the prize for Best Documentary at BIAFF 2008

On his own website Manni Perez-Moreno says: "I came into the world without legs and ever since I was tiny I've taken a great interest in getting around." Frustrated with office work he turned his hobby into a business: restoring vintage cars.  With typically charming Bavarian use of language he called it: The Oldiegarage.

Manni, the Oldiegarage and Me

by Bernhard Hausberger

It was the 27th of December 2004...

Still from 'Oldiegarage'.I was watching TV and saw… Manni! I only saw a few scenes - about 40 seconds in all - and then the report was finished, but I remembered the name - Manni Huber Perez-Moreno, and I must tell you that I was so fascinated I went on the Internet immediately. One quick "Google" search - and there he was - www.oldiegarage.de and his telephone number.

I called Manni and told him who I was and that I wanted to make a film about him. "Ha, ha" was his answer. He was not interested. He already had so many bad people, who only wanted to make money out of him.

"But I'm an amateur!", I answered.

"No, sorry, I'm not interested", he replied.

He did not trust me, but then he agreed to let me speak with him for an hour, so I went to the Bavarian town of Ainring near Salzburg (about 100 miles far away.) Our one hour became four hours. We had lunch together and talked about a lot of things. "You smoke too much!" he said, and I agreed.

Still from 'Oldiegarage'.I gave him DVDs of all my latest films like Waldesglut, The Moldau, La Battaglia delle arance, Gigantomanie and so on. He promised to have a look at the films and to call me back.

The days went by - no telephone call, so I tried to call Manni on the 1st of January to wish him a Happy New Year. No answer. But on the 2nd of January he called me at 11 p.m. - I was sitting in my pub, drinking my Williams with pear1...

"Hi, Bernhard, I saw your films..."


"There's no but. I liked your films very much, they are honest and they come from the heart," he said. "Let's make the film together!"

"Wow!" - I was really happy!

So we started our film on the 4th of January - I didn't know how to approach it, but I said to Manni, that I always start my films in the same way...

So what do I do?

Very easy - I start filming and get to know the subject, step by step.

Still from 'Oldiegarage'.Still from 'Oldiegarage'.In the following days I drove to Manni's place several times, because he had Christmas holidays, the "Oldiegarage" was closed and so we had time to make the film. I think it was my "basic instinct" to take the scenes from a low angle. I nearly always was on my knees when making the video, because I felt that I should show Manni in very big size.

When I talked to Manni about his handicap, it was like talking about shopping, watching TV or anything else. It was normal - a life like other lives. And then I quit smoking (9th of January), and it was Manni who helped me, because he was so strong. Manni also liked my wife Karin very much and I'm sure that this was also very important for the success of the project.

Auro, Manni's wife, was a little bit distant and she didn't want to speak about Manni to the camera, but then she got to know me better, and the interview with Auro was one of the last shots. That was just talking with her and her statements were very good. Manni's parents were also nice and cooperative, I think it we were in sympathy from the very first.

So - we started to make the video on the 4th of January and the last shots were made at the end of January. That meant I went to Ainring only five times. The raw video ran about two hours, not very much. The film began to take shape in my head. I cut it in the night in my dreams and also sometimes when I spoke with other people. That's the reason why I'm sometimes "away with my thoughts", when the others laugh … I'm already editing my next film in my mind.

Still from 'Oldiegarage'.Still from 'Oldiegarage'.I thought hard about the title of the film. Using the correct title is very important, because the title should fit the subject, it should sound interesting, but it should not give away exactly what the film is about. So I used "Oldiegarage", which is Manni's main interest. I think it was the right choice, because it leads people's thoughts in the wrong direction. When the film starts you really think that it is just a technical film about vintage Porsche cars, but then Manni passes the camera and that should be a shock for the audience the first time. I just put the camera on the floor and asked Manni to look straight into it, so directly into your hearts... And he managed it well as he does everything in his life - great Manni!

On the 19th of February the film was screened first at the club-championship competition in the Videoclub Zillertal. The judges (five top scores of "1") and my club colleagues were very impressed with Manni. But Manni had to wait. He saw the film first at the awards ceremony. He had tears in his eyes and was very happy about the film, and I was happy, too!

Our national competition works in stages or rounds. I want to tell you what happened at the next competition - the Tyrolean championship. A female judge gave the film a "2", because "I forgot to talk about Manni's sexuality in the film," and she would have been interested how it worked.

Still from 'Oldiegarage'.For Manni and me this was embarrassing, because I thought, that the sentence in the commentary "Everything is normal" tells us all we need to know and a filmmaker should always tell a story at a high level and not in basic terms. Manni was very upset... But nevertheless, it was the same woman who in May 2006 said cancer (my lung cancer) was a taboo subject and I mustn't make a film about it. Let's stop now, it's not worth talking about that!

Working with Manni was a marvellous experience for me and I'm still very proud about Manni and the film Oldiegarage!

But there's still another aspect, because three months later I got my diagnosis of lung cancer, and after that I often thought of Manni, because I always thought: "Manni achieved so much, so I too should be able to make it..."

And it came true. I'm still alive and I'm looking forward to showing you my next films.

- Bernhard Hausberger

When Oldiegarage won top awards at the Festival of  Nations, Austria, Manni drove over in his sports car to attend. The specially adapted car soon drew more attention than Manni's handicap. He came on stage with Bernhard for the prize giving.

Manni outside the Kino in Ebensee Austria. Bernhard and Manni with the Festival of Nations prizes for 'Oldiegarage'.
1 Bernhard's signature drink is a Williams - a liqueur of pear brandy that is 25% alcohol and comes from South Tyrol - served with a sliver of fresh pear. You keep the fruit in your mouth and drink the liqueur over it.

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