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Interview mit Brian O`Donnell (Regie)

Interviewdatum: 09. April 2017.

Interview zum DVD-Start von AKRON am 19. Mai 2017 (Pro-Fun Media) mit dem Regisseur Brian O`Donnell.

Weitere Informationen zu Film finden Sie unter:
www.facebook.com/akronthefim and www.akronthefilm.com

OBZ: Gratulation! "Akron" ist ein wirklich schöner Film. Wie ist das Projekt entstanden?
DONNELL: I was inspired by a night at the opera. A friend invited me to see Verdis Il Trovatore at the Metropolitan Opera and during intermission I thought to myself, "Id like to write a movie with themes like these - two houses against each other because of fate, a strong love story, a strong mother-son relationship - but with a central gay love story." And during the second act what would become AKRON began playing in my mind in one big piece. The characters, the situation, even the opening shot. Once I realized that I was struck by inspiration I made a pledge to take the project as far as I could.

OBZ: Es ist ihr erster Film. Sie fungieren als Regisseur, Produzent und Drehbuchautor. Zu viel Arbeit? Gab es bei allen Bereichen ausreichend Hilfe? Oder war es Ihnen wichtig so viel wie Möglich alleine zu machen?
DONNELL: It was a lot of work, indeed. But it was such a thrill to be working on my first movie that I would do whatever it was that I needed to, including wardrobe and props. And my film partner Sasha King (who herself did the hair and makeup) and I assembled an incredible team that worked so well together. Our cinematographer Paddy Jordan brought great skill and technique to the process, as well.

OBZ: Sasha King führte ebenfalls Regie. Wie war die Zusammenarbeit?
DONNELL: Sasha and I worked together beautifully. We had the same vision for the film but we each had our own ideas and creativity that we shared on set every day. It was such a collaboration and labor of love for the both of us.

OBZ: Wonach wurden die Schauspieler ausgewählt? Und wie verlief hier die Zusammenarbeit?
DONNELL: We hired a great casting agent in New York City. More than 50 young men auditioned for the two lead roles but the moment we saw Matthew Frias and Edmund Donovan it was very clear they were the right choices - they were both so talented and prepared and understood the material and characters. And we found the rest of the cast in the same manner. In fact, all of the actors were our first choices for each of the roles, and we were thrilled when they all agreed to be a part of AKRON. Because of the ensemble nature of the movie it was important that we have not only great actors but actors that could work well with each other and strengthen each others performances. All of the actors shine in AKRON.

OBZ: Der Film erhielt Preise und lief auf vielen Festivals. Wie war die Resonanz? Was hat Sie besonders Beeindruckt?
DONNELL: The response has been terrific. Audience members have approached me after several of the screenings to share personal stories with me. AKRON touches people on a deep emotional level. I ve been impressed with the way audiences recognize that they are seeing something new, and how straight audience members relate to the gay characters and gay audience members relate to the straight characters. The film realistically portrays the emotional journeys all of its characters and the audiences really respond strongly to that; they laugh, they cry and they empathize.

OBZ: Stört es Sie das man den Film mit "Romeo und Julia" verglichen hat?
DONNELL: Not at all! I constructed the script purposefully to be a mixture of both progressive and classic storytelling. The balance of the classic structure of star-crossed lovers and the newness of seeing gay characters fully out and accepted is something that makes AKRON special. Everyone can relate to first love. When we gay people fall in love we dont fall in "gay love". Its important that all audiences see our love depicted on screen - when they do they realize that they can relate to first love between two young gay men - because love is love!

OBZ: Welche Szene im Film war die schwierigste? Bei der Umsetzung?
DONNELL: We filmed in Ohio in March so there were a couple of days when we had scheduled for outdoor shoots and because of a big snow storm we had to quickly rearrange our work schedule. And working on an 18 day shoot that was a real challenge. But on one of the rescheduled nights, for the scene where the boys lean against the car and talk at the vista, we were able to capture the only sunset of the whole shoot - so nature worked against us and for us.

OBZ: Akron ist Ihre Heimatstadt. Warum dort?
DONNELL: I was born and raised in Akron, Ohio and my parents and other family still lives there. When the idea for the screenplay came to me it was set in Akron, I was seeing locations in my head, I could easily visualize scenes in the homes, college dorms, fields and downtown streets of Akron. I had never seen a film set in Akron and I knew no one else had either, so that made it special as well. And going back 25 years after I moved to NYC it was a thrill to not only get permission but full support to shoot in the real locations.

OBZ: Am 19. Mai 2017 erscheint der Film in Deutschland auf DVD. Was würden Sie den deutschen Zuschauern sagen? Was kann man erwarten?
DONNELL: Although the film is set in a mid-size city in the American Midwest, I am sure that German audiences will feel as thought they are watching themselves or their own neighbors on screen - they will relate the the universal themes of first love, loss, grief, loyalty and forgiveness.

OBZ: Imagine you have the possibility to thank all your friends, your family and the people who are important to you in your life, what would you tell them?
DONNELL: I had so many family members and friends help directly with the making of AKRON that I have gratefully had many opportunities to thank them for their belief in me and in AKRON. The movie in so many ways is about the importance of relationships, especially family, and the incredible support of so many people in my life has proved to be a living example of that. Life imitating art imitating life.

OBZ: Was können wir in Zukunft von Ihnen filmisch erwarten?
DONNELL: I am working on a new screenplay, so I am currently in the wonderful early, creative stage of what I hope will be another feature film.

Steckbrief (persönlich ausgefüllt von Brian O Donnell):
- Name: Brian O`Donnell
- Hobbys: travel, writing, reading, painting, theater, boxing
- Lieblingsfilm: far too many to pick just one, but favorite directors include Almodovar, Fellini, Todd Haynes and Lucrecia Martel.
- Lieblingsfilm: Rock, New Wave, Soul, Funk
- Lieblingsessen: Vietnamese
- Lieblingsbuch: Favorite authors include Colm Toibin, Alan Hollinghurst, Reinaldo Arenas, Junot Diaz and of course Walt Whitman.
- Lieblingsstadt: Akron, of course! But I have called New York City home for almost 30 years and I have a deep love for it.
- Lieblingsland: I ve loved the times I ve spent in India, Brazil and Canada.
- Lebensmotto: When I moved to NYC at 18 my father gave me great advice: "Keep your wallet in your front pocket and be yourself."

Copyright: Brian O Donnell &
Dewey Darko.



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