Are you looking for love in all the wrong places? Now its time to Stand Up! Timo Jacobs explains why to Cult Critic
Interviewed by Anushka Dutta
Cult Critic (CC): Hi Timo! A warm and pleasant welcome from Cult Critic Magazine.
Timo Jacobs (Timo): Thank you.
CC: We understand that your career in the film industry began in 2003, with the mentorship of Klaus Lemke, a cult critic filmmaker.Would you like to tell us something about your early experience in the industry?
Timo: I went to an agency that I got recommended to and they booked me straight away, but it was really tough to get jobs. I had to shoot a lot of low budget movies and without any payment at all before things really started to get going.
Early on I started to think about my own ideas and how to make them fit into the movie-making process. At the beginning we just had to work with what we had around us – as simple as it was – and I asked my friends or people in the industry who I met over time to get involved. And in that way, I slowly just built up a movie network.
CC: You’ve starred and made a memorable appearance in Christian Schwochow’s 2014 tragicomedy BORNHOLMER STRAßE. Do you have a vision for tragicomedies? Tell us your take on the genre.
Timo: I was always attracted to anti-heroes or to just dreamers. And the more you really get involved in the film-making process, the more it feels like you deserve whatever success comes your way. Most of us filmmakers are too romantic to just choose the easy way. It’s like in the old movies when you watch Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin, how hard they tried to be a better version of themselves and tried to keep it real, that made them the best of the genre.
I meet Christian Schwochow at the Max Ophüls Festival in Saarbrücken where my first feature “KLAPPE COWBOY” was in competition. He saw me in the lead role as “Cowboy” – totally skint and down on my luck, but full of self-confidence, someone who accepted every role that he could get, only to well and truly mess it up every time. I think watching that movie inspired Christian to give me the role in Bornholmer Strasse.
CC: Do you have any future plans of making more films in this genre?
Timo: Yes I’d love that a lot, it makes me feel alive. One of the highest forms of pleasure is the feeling we get when we’re freed from whatever deep pain we might be going through, and this is what I try to achieve through that genre, right?
CC: Tell us the significance of the title – STAND UP! Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places, and why you chose it.
Timo: It was a struggle to find the right title. I think it’s good to have a short title, but I still decided to choose such a long title because the movie really needs that, the struggle inside of us all, the ambition to continue to walk the road against all odds, that’s what was important to me.
CC: You have had a remarkable career in the film industry, yet your male protagonist is experiencing constant obstacles in his career in the performance arts. Is it ironic or mere coincidence?
Timo: It’s what I took from my own expierence, and I put it into movie’s narrative in as dramatic way as I could. Most of the obstacles which we have to conquer are the obstacles of perception… of how we see the world. And I love using irony to communicate that.
CC: You’ve directed, written, produced and acted as the leading character in this film. How did you balance between the roles?
Timo: Thank you for this question, as super complex as filmmaking appears to be – and it really is exactly that… ‘complex’ – I certainly won’t say it’s easy, you need a team that is really believing in the film. But above that all, you really have to do is: you have to stay in character.
CC: What inspired you to write a plot based on a struggling comedian?
Timo: You just can’t get tired of this topic because this is what we all have to figure out: who are we, why are we here, what is our purpose in life and how do we deal with the constant changes which we face within it? When you see people trying to create art, you also see how we as humans try to be better than nature. This absurdity is always worth a good laugh.
CC: Are any of the characters or incidents in the movie influenced by any personal moments?
Timo: Yes they are, for me it is really important to work with my own expierences and of course also how I see others. It helps a lot when you already have the actresses and actors in mind while you’re developing the movie. So I try and use my own experiences in such a way that they make an impact and hopefully effect a change in the world. At least that’s my desire, that’s the minimum of what you really have to give to the world.
CC: What message did you try to send through this film?
Timo: We are all really fragile, we should take care of what we love, and we should triumph over death. It might also be a rumour invented by life?
CC: I found the painting heist sub-plot quite strange. What was the purpose of that side story? Was it merely for comic relief?
Timo: The painting is called “Das Bild der Liebe” – which means ‘the painting of love’. Love is something which seems to be missing a little in everyone right now, and I really don’t think that’s anything to laugh at, but a serious problem in our society, and it’s a collective desire deep within the movie’s characters and something which they are all desperately searching for.
CC: Although the film is intended to be a tragicomedy, the comic elements are more tragic or bizarre than humorous. Why is that?
Timo: Because humour is always subjective and different for everyone. I prefer people to keep a smile on their face a little longer, rather than just a short laugh which vanishes just as quickly as it comes. I prefer to show life as I see it instead of going for the joke, and that might seem bizarre to you, but that’s great – no? Plus, it’s so revealing to experience the absurdity in a movie of what we call ‘normal’ in our everyday life.
CC: Please tell us a fun event from while you were on set, making the film.
Timo: The story of the film needed a magic bunny. So I got a bunny from the animal home and called him ‘Murphy’. We became friends because he was running around my apartment for the whole shooting period. After a while, I felt like he needed company so we organised a female bunny companion. You see them together in the final scene. Once the movie was finished and the ‘baby bunny’ was born, Murphy almost simultaneously became father of 8 little bunnies. The lead actress Pegah Ferydoni took the whole bunny family home with her because she has a big garden for them. Happy End!