«Fucking Drama» & Cinema

…He said the idea was stupid, but he already had the script he had written in one day. I really liked it…



Fucking Drama (dir. Michael Podogil, producer Lukas Zweng) was shown at Silver Cinema as a part of the Short Movie Club Film Festival competitive program. After the showing, the audience was eager to learn more about Fucking Drama and its creators.  So we’ve interviewed Michael and Lukas. We credit Konstantin Pronkin who interviewed the artist and the producer in Vienna.


— How did you start working together?

Lukas Zweng (LZ): «Fucking Drama» is our first narrative fiction short project, but we worked together on commercials before. That is how we got to know each other better and figured we could get along well.

— What kind of commercials?

LZ: We did some internet commercials for Zipfer brewery in Austria.

— How did u come to the FD idea?

Michael Podogil (MP): I told him the idea and had the script, and he said: “Let us do it”.

LZ: We were meeting for a different project, making artists portraits for Vienna state opera. That project never happened, but we had a chance to discuss FD over coffee. He said the idea was stupid, but he already had the script he had written in one day. I really liked it.

— So it happened quite fast?

MP: From the initial idea to the final movie only half a year, very fast.

LZ: The core of the project is a competition in Film Academy every year, there is a theme every year. That year it was drama.

— What was a specific trigger for the idea of FD?

MP: There was a theatre festival in Vienna which does not exist anymore, but It looked like what we showed in the film when actors invited people from streets to see their shows. So my idea was — what if something goes terribly wrong? I was inspired by many things. The Theatre festival, the Joker character of Batman and Christoph Walz in Inglorious Bastards.


Director Michael Podogil

— In the movie, there was a message. The guy betrayed his girlfriend. Under deadly circumstances, every man can be weak. Is that so?

MP: There were some sarcastic messages. How different people behave and make fun of situations. This couple, and their relations. I can identify with every character of the movie. I can understand their motives. That does not mean that they are doing the right things. They are just humans. My favorite moment is when the guy screams to his girlfriend to go on stage to the guy with a gun, and the woman behind tells her to go too. There’s also the idea of voyeurism, people filming.

LZ: In the first place we wanted to take the audience on an emotional roller coaster ride. We did not mainly think about messages. But still the movie addresses a lot of issues. What interested me the most were the roles between men and women.

MP: We were afraid of making an embarrassing movie. This is not a moral movie, it does not answer questions and tells you how to behave, because the movie which gives you answers is a kind of boring.


— A lot of characters, each opened up in a short time. A lot of action.

MP: This story would not work in a big movie.

— Where did you get actors?

MP: Casting is the most important part of every movie. Even everyone in the audience was cast. They had to be good actors and be able to show fear.

LZ: The king is played by the people. If you want to show a scary guy, you need a scared audience.

MP: A good thing about Film Academy, I apply for casting and tell what I want to do.

— Do you have another project on your mind?

MP: We have a new fun project for a short movie. I am also writing a script for a 90-minute movie, the long one. It is a romantic comedy, but not in the traditional way – it is about who we are when we play roles. People play games with each other. I always like dressing up, playing around, asking who we are.

— What about the short one?

MP: Imagine 12-year old in bed, sick, and asking for soup. Mother will bring it to him without hesitation. So if you are sick, it gives you power. The idea is to bring this to the top.

— Getting back to FD, did you have any doubts?

MP: No doubts. I put the script on competition in university. They loved it and gave us money for production.

LZ: I liked the project from the very beginning, it was a crazy and powerful idea. It was very easy to get it funded and find an amazing crew for it. We got an excellent editor, cinematographer, set designer and great actors in particular!

MP: FD worked very well everywhere in the world, but not in Austria.

Nobody got paid in our movie. All crew worked for free. We only spent money for props and equipment, special effects supervisor also cost us, catering and transport – you can’t avoid these costs. We didn’t get any money either. But we didn’t spend our own money on it.

MP: We got money from the Film Academy because we won the competition. And the university supports you in making movies.

LZ: In a student project, unfortunately, nobody gets paid. We use all the money to pay for the locations, set decoration, catering, transportation, and electricity! Without the support of all the crew members there would absolutely be no FUCKING DRAMA.


Producer Lukas Zveng

— What was your impression of Belarus?

LZ: We didn’t think a minute if we should go. We had nice encounters, made some friends.

MP: We came to the city which from movies we knew was city of bad guys. We talked a lot about that. But we had the best time there. We met lots of people because of the film festival.

LZ: I met Lina, a Belarusian girl. She did English and American studies and saved money to travel to the US even though it was very expensive for her. Unfortunately she did not get a visa and in the end was not able to go. When she told me, I felt really bad for her and also felt quite privileged. As an Austrian I’ve never had a problem traveling. She was very nice and (of course) absolutely no different from us.

— Do you think festivals are important?

MP: Festivals are big thing. We want our movies to be seen.

LZ: Festivals are big deal for directors. But not for producers. Production companies do not care if you won any awards as a producer. I go to festivals because of networking. I have friends all over the world now. If you want to make a big movie, you need co-production. This is when you need network and connection – to get funding in this or that country. Another reason why I attend festivals is because I watch a lot of films and speak to a lot of people, and I learn a lot about movie making. The most you learn is from bad movies.


Fucking Drama

— What do you think of movie making in the EU?

LZ: Austria has a good output of movies. We are not a major film nation, but if you compare to other European countries, we can be proud. Of course some movies no one wants to see. It is not so hard to get film funding comparing to Germany for example. Film landscape in Austria is more independent from broadcast. We can be part of the industry, we are small fish in a small lake, but we appreciate it. But still 80% of movies shown in Austria are from Hollywood.

MP: France has a special film culture. They can show a film like FD on TV. In Austria they would never show short movies on TV.  French are very good in making movies, especially romantic ones.

LZ: French people have sensitivity to movies. They are open to new approaches, they do not only follow the Hollywood scheme.

— Do you have any icons in movie making world?

MP: When I see a good movie, I get kind of frustrated – wow, I have to work so hard to reach such a level! And then I start working harder 🙂

LZ: When I see a well-written and well-made movie, I enjoy. I analyze a lot. I am very impressed by Ruben Ostlund’s “Force Majeur”, by Thomas Vinterberg’s “Festa”, and by Michael Gondry “Eternal sunshine of a spotless mind”.

Thank you very much.