11/04/12 - Chinese 4, 3:30 p.m.
11/07/12 - Chinese 6, 2:00 p.m.
By Kim Luperi
AFI FEST Now had the chance to sit down with German filmmaker Jan Ole Gerster to discuss his debut feature OH BOY, which had its North American premiere at AFI FEST.
AFN: OH BOY is featured in the Breakthrough section of AFI Fest. Can you tell me how the film was selected to be included?
Jan Ole Gerster: We sat down, looked at the festivals we loved, submitted it, and it was accepted. It’s hard to believe, because there are so many great filmmakers applying here, and it’s a great honor to be here.
AFN: What was it about this idea that interested you? Was any of it based on your personal experiences?
JG: I went through the same phase as my main character when I came to Berlin in my early 20s, and, at one point, I noticed a lot of my friends went through a similar period. This is the time when a lot of people start to question their decisions when they get older — am I on the right track? will this be what I do for the rest of my life? does it make me happy? — so I thought one or two people may relate to that story.
AFN: OH BOY is your feature debut, and you are credited as the writer and director. What was the writing process like?
JG: First of all, without thinking about shooting the script or going out with it right away, I wrote it because I had to; it all came out of intuition. I wrote scripts before but in a very analytic way — how to write a script, how to create a character, how to build dramatic conflict — all these things they teach you in school, and I was a little unsatisfied with these scripts, because I felt like I was a hypocrite and I didn’t know what I was talking about. At that point, I thought it was worth having a closer look at my personal life. They also taught that in film school — stories have to be personal but not necessarily private. It’s easy to say but hard to do.