Whereas October is normally a time for darker leisure fare, providing up grim and generally spookier movies and sequence for viewers to take pleasure in as the times develop shorter and the nights develop longer, it is also a time for celebrations, equivalent to Halloween and, for a lot of Oktoberfest. In Netflix’s newest unique sequence Oktoberfest: Beer & Blood, each of these issues come collectively. The sequence, whereas not precisely a horror providing, explores the violent and gritty historical past of the now-famous German people pageant as brewer Curt Prank arrives and begins to capitalize on the beer trade in Munich and envision what he thinks Oktoberfest ought to be.
For director Hannu Salonen and cinematographer Felix Cramer, the story is one which provided a possibility to share the origin of Oktoberfest because the world now is aware of it, shedding a bit of sunshine on the historical past of issues whereas additionally sharing a little bit of German tradition and historical past extra usually. just lately had an opportunity to take a seat down and speak with Salonen and Cramer in regards to the sequence, the historical past and analysis that went into making a world that’s each traditionally correct and unique similtaneously nicely as in regards to the challenges of making such a wealthy and immersive expertise on a finances — together with how they needed to “moonwalk” to get sure photographs for the sequence.
Learn on for our interview with Salonen and Cramer beneath.
: As someone of German heritage, after all Oktoberfest is a factor. So this was simply much more enjoyable. However I’ve to ask, how did Oktoberfest: Beer & Blood come about? What was the inspiration origin for the sequence?
Hannu Salonen: I imply, neither Felix nor I’m from Munich or Bavaria. So, clearly it type of takes one or two guys to have the concept, “Hey, let’s begin digging into the historical past and origins of the Oktoberfest.” In our case, there have been two producers, Alexis von Wittgenstein and Felix von Poser, two guys in Munich, others, they’re from Munich. There was type of pondering, “Come on.” However nobody actually is aware of the origins, nothing. That is actually true. The Germans do not know a lot about it. Felix and I, within the northern Germany you hear nothing about that. , the fundamental these days factor that we’ve, and the worldwide massive factor happening, however in regards to the historical past, no, nothing. They began to dig into this historical past and got here up with this very intriguing character, Georg Lang. It was superb, as a result of clearly they instantly understood this is perhaps one thing, as a result of there’s a type of hushed up about this man too in Munich, even these days, no one is aware of about him. And nonetheless he modified all the pieces. So this was mainly the start of the entire thing.
Oktoberfest change into type of a well known and celebrated factor world wide lately. Was there something particular about Oktoberfest that drew you into that? Or is it simply you bought this nice character and, such as you mentioned, simply type of dove in from there?
Felix Cramer: I feel from our perspective it is one of many two actually vital issues that we’ve in Germany. One factor is after all this darkish a part of our historical past, all people is aware of about it, nevertheless it’s so humorous, as a result of I additionally generally in Los Angeles and have numerous associates there, they usually’re at all times speaking about celebrating the Oktoberfest as a result of it is one thing they actually love to do, particularly in October, or after all the top of October, they rejoice that. So clearly there’s a that means to it additionally within the different nations. For me it was actually a terrific alternative to make this film, as a result of on the one facet we’ve this actually nice, I might say, nice matter we are able to discuss, on the opposite facet we’ve this extraordinarily good and darkish story that’s round this Oktoberfest. The Oktoberfest is a part of it nevertheless it displays, after all, Germany in that point, particularly Munich in that point. It was actually attention-grabbing seeing all these artists, they develop their new artwork. I imply we’re ending in that point within the late romantic hour, then coming to the expressionists. There was numerous motion in that point. So for me it was extraordinarily attention-grabbing on either side. On the one facet, to see this Oktoberfest, but in addition on the opposite facet to see the change within the social life at the moment.
Salonen: Additionally the social-economic… In fact, 1900 was just like the ’20s in Berlin or in New York. The Golden Twenties have been really 20 years earlier in Munich. That is actually superb to check that a bit bit, the bohemian scene and the entire thing. However there was additionally a social-economic facet to it, as a result of Munich and the entire of custom was being modified. The entire fashionable instances mainly simply broke into that metropolis and altered all the pieces. Mainly, Prank is like this kind of man who’s coming and taking up all the standard breweries… That actually modified all the pieces. Ten years earlier than that, they’d like 150 breweries in Munich. 1890, they’d 150 breweries, little, conventional, fantastic breweries. 1910, they’d solely 15. These days, they solely have one which is privately owned. So this was the tendency of the time, which mainly is sort of a unimaginable revolution that’s going by means of and being lived up by the folks there. Fascinating time.
Very attention-grabbing time. Chatting with that historical past and that timeframe, how traditionally correct are a few of these particulars, just like the costumes, the artwork, and issues like that? As a result of there’s some unimaginable particulars on this program.
Salonen: I am not sure of this as a result of we did take numerous liberties with failings, distancing ourselves from any actuality in a means, and going absolutely into the style. However, the manufacturing design and the costume design are largely, and for many of the components, particularly for the Oktoberfest, very, very truthful. It is superb what sort of a job they did by researching, and actually digging very deep into the truth. In that sense I type of had the sensation that Felix and I, we’re allowed to go away from that in attempt to fly into one other dimension that is most likely wanted for this sort of like bigger-than-life kind of tales that we’ve there. However it’s very truthful. Felix, you may inform them one thing in regards to the matter additionally.
Cramer: Yeah, positive. I imply, for us, we received numerous inspiration, particularly by the artists of that point. So we noticed work from totally different artists from the late romantic time, from the expressionists. Particularly the expressionists are attention-grabbing as a result of they’re additionally on this bohemian a part of our sequence, so that you see them already. We discuss guys like Vladimir Kandinski or Franz Marc, folks that have been linked to the Neue Künstlervereinigung, the New Artists’ Neighborhood in Munich. I imply, we tried to base our colours, for instance, on that artist, on these work. So I feel we’re, yeah, we tried to be very correct on one facet, relating to costumes and the manufacturing design. On the opposite facet, what Hannu already mentioned, we freed ourself and tried to be extra in a creative means doing this film and fewer in this sort of historical past, period-piece feeling film that you just typically see in these interval tone or bluish tone motion pictures. We completely tried to be extra like artists, extra like painters, and made our pictures like work of that point.
One of many issues I actually liked about Oktoberfest: Beer & Blood was it actually appears to be like like nothing else I might ever seen by way of you bought these wealthy particulars, however there’s some unimaginable technical photographs as nicely. It appears to be like like such an enormous manufacturing. How did you pull that off?
Cramer: Actually, the manufacturing worth appears to be like actually massive. On the opposite facet, we used each method that’s accessible in the present day. So for instance, we had numerous drone photographs, and the drone, we did particular photographs the place you see the drone goes down, flies down into the group of individuals, after which we stroll by means of. I might say, 10 years in the past the one approach to obtain that might have been static cam operators standing on a crane, what is mostly a massive effort. It’s important to construct a crane that’s perhaps 30 toes excessive, or 40 toes excessive in our case, even increased, after which it takes two or three hours to realize that shot. You’ve got the steady-cam operator, he goes down on the crane platform after which he walks by means of the folks. Now, what we did, it was simply we had this easy drone, we flew down with the drone and our trainee, he catched the drone after which he walked by means of this crowd of individuals.
The primary time we exercised that, it was completely shaking unattainable. However our trainee was excellent, and he achieved a really attention-grabbing type of strolling technique, I might say, perhaps one thing that Michael Jackson did earlier than. It was actually, actually completely strolling by means of this crowd of individuals, after which it appeared like a static cam. So we achieved these photographs that is perhaps very, very costly 10 years in the past. In our case, it was actually very straightforward and low cost to do. I feel the great factor is that we have been actually good ready. We had the storyboard, boarded a 3rd of all scenes. So we knew precisely what we need to do, after which we had some sensible options to compete with this brief quantity of taking pictures time. As a result of we had solely 66 days of taking pictures time for the entire sequence.
That is unimaginable.
Salonen: Yeah, it is actually really superb. I’ve to inform you a small anecdote about this drone factor. As a result of clearly we have been on weekends, we did not get away from Prague, we have been on a regular basis there. So we stored… I did not hold coaching, I used to be simply watching this, however Felix was coaching with this drone and flying it and no matter. And he wished to catch it. However as soon as he made a bit mistake and virtually misplaced all of his fingers.
Cramer: Not likely.
Salonen: Nicely, no. Not less than one was like actually bleeding and somebody mentioned, “This isn’t with none issues.” You probably did apply lots and ready lots for the entire thing, as a result of clearly we do not have, that you need to know, we aren’t in that sense a Netflix Authentic in Germany as a result of we’re a co-production image. Our budgets are to not examine with every other historic US present. However after all, it mustn’t present. So we’ve to simply accept we’re poor, however we have to be higher in that sense. We have got to enhance ourselves, to be actually sensible about how to do that. That is actually a… mainly. Mainly, you get… I had deliberate it for myself, the film’s prepared. It’s accomplished. I simply need to shoot is anymore. That was the Hitchcock means of approaching it, and mainly we took that strategy, in a means. We had the film, the present, in our heads earlier than we really began taking pictures.
What would you say probably the most difficult component of constructing Oktoberfest was?
Cramer: From my perspective it was actually the timing, however we already talked about. One other actually attention-grabbing side was that we had this massive surroundings, this exterior of the Oktoberfest, we needed to deliver it right into a metropolis as a result of whenever you see these scenes, you see that we had many, many extras day-after-day. We’re speaking about 500 extras, 400 extras a day. So our group, the entire crew, was perhaps like 700 folks, 600, no matter. You aren’t in a position to shoot these scenes someplace in, I imply, in the course of nowhere. So we needed to deliver that every one into town after which we shot really in Prague, in Czech Republic. What we did, we discovered an previous items station. It was flat, so we constructed all the pieces there. It was actually good to make our Oktoberfest, however the issue was that it was surrounded by fashionable buildings. So what we needed to obtain is that each single angle, that there was no fashionable constructing behind. It took fairly some time to make this mannequin working so we had by no means an issue. And even when there was a contemporary constructing, then we used fog for the background, numerous fog, to cover these buildings. Only a massive post-production finances, after all. We had after all post-production, whenever you see the massive sceneries, the massive extensive photographs, they’re CGI. However many, many photographs are actually actual in digital camera, and there is not any CGI in any respect.
Salonen: And the factor is, with these massive productions, with tons of of peoples on the set, you are typically type of like awestruck by the equipment, which suggests for a director, which suggests that you’re standing there, stiff like shit, and you may’t be artistic anymore. Mainly, I didn’t need to be afraid of the equipment. So you need to free your self of this factor and attempt to… As a result of our concept was, simply to start with, to essentially dive into the occasions, be center in there, with the characters, and never like being documenting or observing it from the space, like numerous historic interval items are like, “Simply, now, we’re right here, the movie makers, and also you guys are simply there and we’re observing you being there, in some way.” However now we wished to get onto the stage with them, which suggests neglect the equipment, neglect all the pieces round you, mainly, however nonetheless take into accout all this, “By the best way, this shot, if we’ll present these fashionable buildings, we’re as much as… and it prices a lot cash, we will not do that.” And on a regular basis you might be pondering, “This.” However it might probably’t be having the brakes on, so you need to be accelerating nonetheless on a regular basis in away.
And being a part of this, additionally camera-wise, the digital camera turns into then one of many main characters in a means. The visible model that we selected for ourselves was the digital camera changing into one of many main characters and say, “I am right here, I am the digital camera. I am telling the story. I do not disguise myself.” That’s fairly tough you probably have this massive… Since you’ve got this massive equipment behind you, having this sense of a scholar film, a scholar movie in a means, like, Felix, we did numerous the time simply took the digital camera and simply ran with the folks in a means. Having this sense, that is actually liberating your self from that. It is nice. Truly it is nice vitality. I imply maintaining this vitality, that is really my most tough process, in a means. Day by day.
Seems like such a singular expertise too, professionally, on numerous ranges.
Cramer: Positively. It was perhaps one of many… From my perspective, it was actually one of many best challenge I ever did. The great factor is we had numerous enjoyable on the taking pictures, so it was not likely laborious to shoot. It was actually enjoyable to make this film. And that is actually trustworthy. I do know different motion pictures the place you’ve got much less enjoyable, however this one, completely. I can inform you. No, I actually had numerous enjoyable. It was a terrific expertise. We had a lot ardour at movie makers, the manufacturing designer, Benedikt Herforth, he did a unbelievable job, and the costume designer. Everyone on this film was completely unbelievable, actually. That helped us to face all these challenges.
What do you hope audiences take away from Oktoberfest: Beer & Blood?
Cramer: I imply, I feel, to begin with, it ought to be numerous enjoyable, even when it is a very darkish story. However after I watched it the primary time, after all the primary time whenever you watch it, you do not have the space. However whenever you watched it a number of instances to get extra into this sort of distance, and I feel it has this actually humorous moments, even when it is actually darkish. I hope that individuals are entertained by it, primarily, after all. Additionally, by these visible concepts that we had, as a result of many scenes we’ve are solely visually accomplished, with none dialogue. For me, it was after all a terrific present to try this. My hope is that the viewers additionally love this, to be dug in visually in this sort of Oktoberfest. It is not solely the Oktoberfest, it is our personal created world of Oktoberfest. After we, each Hannu and me, began, I feel the books have been actually, actually nice, however our concepts and our manufacturing and our preparation introduced actually us extra into this world that we’re creating now, or that we created. I simply hope that everyone likes this and is entertained and has enjoyable and feels in this sort of world. Hopefully all people likes it a lot that we are able to get a second season.
Salonen: That is precisely… , I see myself as a lot as an entertainer as Felix is. That is mainly my predominant aim, and having a sure type of playfulness, childishness about this too. Additionally, not being afraid of issues. Being afraid, that is one of many predominant themes that simply pursuits me lots, as a result of excellent now, we’re type of residing by means of an period that they did at the moment, 120 years in the past. Plenty of modifications, the third digital revolution, mainly, modifications happening. Folks sticking on, hanging onto to their traditions and folks’s lives being modifications on a regular basis. I type of have the sensation, maybe we’d present a means and say, “Come on. Attempt to outline your individual future for your self. Work on your self and attempt to be open for sure issues.” Keep on with your traditions. It’s important to follow some issues, clearly, however attempt to be open for sure different issues so you do not get rolled over the historical past or one thing like this.
I do not know if Oktoberfest: Beer & Blood helps, as a result of in our case the characters type of like step over, nicely, to the darkish facet a bit on the finish. There was at all times, after all, an excuse for this sort of conduct, however I might after all want that our audiences follow the ethical and say, “Wait a minute. Is it good to pursue your individual profit on a regular basis, or would it not be okay to consider the humanity right here or one thing?” I am not the preacher, however after all there are massive themes which are behind and past all of this that we have accomplished.
Due to the pandemic, actual Oktoberfest was canceled. Not solely the right one in Germany, however little cultural popups which are in all places on the earth. What have you ever accomplished to rejoice or hold the festive spirit alive regardless of these attempting instances?
Salonen: I would inform on my behalf, I have been at dwelling as on the primary of October Netflix put it on on-line. I used to be with my spouse, opened a beer, poured it in, and drank the beer, and that is it, mainly. We really wished to have a premier in Munich on the Oktoberfest. Nicely, did not work out, so… That is my a part of that premier. Felix, what did you do?
Cramer: I needed to shoot, really.
Salonen: You have been really taking pictures.
Cramer: Yeah. I imply that is life. You by no means… Earlier than the film is after the film, so it is like… in any other case, after the film is earlier than the film, so that you all simply generally simply work and do the subsequent step. However for me it was actually… Once more, I watched that additionally earlier than, when it was completed and had a beer and actually had enjoyable with it. Yeah, it was nice. However I wish to go to the true Oktoberfest subsequent yr once more, hopefully we are able to do it.
I can inform you one attention-grabbing story… Yeah, yeah, proper. I can inform you one attention-grabbing story as a result of after I was younger, my father, he was actually working lots. I had not many, many time with my father. However yearly, he went with me to the Volksfest, what’s a type of Oktoberfest by Stuttgart. Yearly I had sooner or later with my father after which I might used all these carousels, all these items, and I used to be so completely satisfied, I do know. That was my yearly occasion with my father. So I used to be not on the Oktoberfest, however we had in Stuttgart a identical type of Oktoberfest. That is what I remind, after all, to the Oktoberfest. As a result of I used to be in my youth very used to is, I imply, not less than to some type of Oktoberfest. Volksfest, however nonetheless.
Oktoberfest: Beer & Blood is now streaming on Netflix.
This interview has been edited for readability and size.