Probably the best thing since the Sex Pistols. Anarchy on a tricycle. Meet Kit Fraicher.
How’s that for a triply excitement-inducing tagline?! One look at the trailer for this upcoming short film from Londoners Dominic Bergmaier and Aaron Guthrie was all I needed to get on board. Dig this: Timothy ‘The Impaler’ Schwader interviews the filmmakers behind Kit Fraicher, Dominic Bergmaier and Aaron Guthrie.
The Impaler: Welcome to The Impaler Speaks! You are Dominic Bergmaier and Aaron Guthrie, filmmakers at large. We need to learn more about you, but first… Kit Fraicher. C’mon, a pre-teen anarchist raising hell in a sleepy suburban neighborhood? That’s awesome! The trailer alone is worth watching over and over again. What’s the Kit Fraicher origin story? How did this come about?
Dominic Bergmaier: I’m glad you like it and, to be honest, we love the trailer ourselves. The idea about a young anarchist originated in the company of my very good friend Sam Elsen, who lately has been a big inspiration in my life. It completely stuck to me, and not long after my wall was full of Post-it notes and sketches containing middle fingers, punk music, tricycles, and angry neighbors. I decided to be a bit more experimental with writing Kit Fraicher and freed myself completely from any analytical scrutiny of my work. Piece by piece it was slowly put together, replaced or discarded as I assembled the script from the Post-it notes and sketches on my wall. The process, which I feel was very much in the vein of Kit Fraicher himself, paid off… and after the first draft a very interesting task was upon me. I read the script for the first time with the intention of understanding what this story was actually about. It was a fantastic experience, and I hope people will be able to take something from the picture themselves when its done.
The Impaler: What general details can you give out about Kit Fraicher – no spoilers, please! – in terms of the production?
DB: In short, boobies will be grabbed, things will be trashed, and candy will be taken without permission from the local store. There are a lot of things going on in Kit Fraicher. The form that we tell the story in is montage, and the main inspiration has been from Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s short film Foutaises. The form has allowed us to paint a bigger picture of Kit Fraicher which would not have been possible if we had told the story in a classical linear way. A montage piece as a short film allows you to use a lot of cinematic tools that often are hard to employ to short films simply because you don’t have the time. Kit Fraicher has become much more of a mosaic of scenes where ambient sounds, effect sounds, and music dominates the picture over dialogue, and has in this way become a very cinematic experience. If you can imagine Foutaises mixed with Trainspotting then throw in a teaspoon of cuteness taken from Amélie… voila! Kit Fraicher is served.
The Impaler: We’ll get back to the film, of course. Now, can you each discuss yourselves (or each other!), including your respective roles in this project as well as an overview of your other work to date?
Aaron Guthrie: The Director of the project, Dominic, has a wonderful way of working. Paired with his raw ideas for films, he brings alive these stories and characters, where he has this way of ‘embodying’ the character, so giving life to his characters. I feel it’s a trait of absolute necessity in directing. Also, a way of honesty, which isn’t a required filmmaking characteristic as such, but is a personal one of pure transparency. After having a first read of Kit Fraicher, it was obvious that there was something bigger in there; I had a personal connection with Kit’s desire to challenge society’s norms. As for my previous work, I’ve been working on a lot of mixed sets, encompassing music videos, TV dramas, features, and shorts, mainly to get a broad and understanding view of the different paths within a broader job perspective. Much to my love, I’ve been producing for most of the time recently.
DB: Aaron is the producer of the project and a pretty damn good one! I have been looking for a great producer for a long time, and when I first worked with Aaron there was no doubt about it. Aaron has the rare feeling about the project that reaches far beyond planning and organizing. He feels the pulse of the project and brings to it what it needs in order for it to become the best project it can be. I know it sounds fantastic, and it is nothing less than that. As for me and my work to date, I had been working with and studying film at various schools and master courses in Copenhagen for about 3 years before I came to London. By the time I decided to leave Denmark I had been making various productions such as short films, music videos, and commercials. A lot of my success I owe to all the awesome people who gave me the chance to prove my worth, especially the Danish band Surfact, with whom I made my debut music video and who also have made the music for our teaser.
The Impaler: Both of you have worked on music videos for different artists. Can you give us a little more information about that?
DB: I have made two music videos on a professional level for different artists. My debut was quite a big production where we had state of the art equipment, a big crew, and quite a good budget, I would say. I am very thankful that I was given this opportunity as the production had an important impact on my future connections and the way I was met in the industry. It literally allowed me to take that extra step up the ladder. My second and so far latest music video was a very small production, and the budget was very limited. But the artist was awesome and the team was simply amazing. The whole team met the challenge with high spirits and we spent long nights brainstorming on how to make this music video special and unique with one location, two actors, two lamps, and a single camera. It ended up being the film that I am so far most proud of and it also started to make me reflect a lot about group dynamics and the power of good team spirit. It has definitely been one of the most important experiences so far in my carrier as a filmmaker.
AG: I worked at a sassy film production company in London for about a year. They mainly produced music videos, along with some commercials. I had a production role in the office, aiding the process of pitching, principle photography, and delivery. Aw, this sounds like a boring CV…! It was an awesome place to work and taught me a lot of what I know now. Weird business.
The Impaler: We have to discuss music in a little more detail. Let’s start with a broad look and then we’ll segue back to the film, cool? Drop some knowledge on us: your favorite artists, albums, songs, concert experiences of the past and present?
AG: Right now, I cannot get enough of Funk D’Void. He released a new mix-track a few days ago, and I’ve been listening to it non-stop. He is quite subtle, in the sense that he maintains an overall simplicity in his music. I find it hypnotizing… well, I am more focused. I don’t get distracted. I’m going through a stage at the moment where Funk D’Void and electronic music in general is a big inspiration and drive in my life, along with rock and blues, but classical has always been a constant.
DB: Depending on my state of mind, I listen to everything from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons all the way to the sinister and experimental music by artists such as Rrose and The Haxan Cloak. I read a comment once to one of Rrose’s tracks saying ‘do people actually dance to this?’ – I found it hilarious and yes, people do dance to this, and it’s a pretty surreal and hypnotizing experience when you lose yourself to this kind of music. Today’s pop hits almost never fail to annoy so much that I have to turn it of. I just can’t feel it; it smells too much of sex and money with no content. On a rainy day I put on The Ink Spots’ I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire. Try it! Its amazing.
The Impaler: So, what’s the music like in Kit Fraicher? (Great segue, right?!)
AG/DB: It’s dominated by punk, but you will also find traces of classical music and quite an important break of the film will be complimented by elevator music/Muzak. I wish we could tell you more about this part but I’m afraid it will be kind of a spoiler if I do. Let’s just say that when this Muzak plays you will see Kit Fraicher in a new light and will get a better understanding of who he really is. If you like the Sex Pistols then you are going to love Kit Fraicher.
The Impaler: Can you gush about the on-screen talent a bit?
AG/DB: We had some moments where we just hit that spot where you feel ‘Hell yeah! That’s it!’. Finding Kit Fraicher was one of them. We had been looking for the right boy to play Kit Fraicher, and from the start of the project we had said, ‘no Kit, no film’. We had been scouting numerous stage coaches and held acting workshops for children where we invited children to come and do film acting exercises with us. After a while we still had not found Kit Fraicher, and one evening before an acting workshop we needed to test an exercise, and for that reason Rhianna – our awesome Production Manager – had arranged a meeting on Skype with her brothers. So we got online and it was almost too good to be true. Sol Rizvi just had that aura and that spark that you would expect from Kit Fraicher. It’s a matter of attitude, and he had it. We were kind of struck afterwards because we weren’t expecting to find him then and there. We weren’t even looking for him. So we invited Sol Rizvi on set for the teaser and, as you can see, he is simply amazing. He completely becomes Kit Fraicher.
The Impaler: What led you to the visual arts? Any particular films, actors, directors, scenes, etcetera, that made you think ‘yeah, this is what I’m going to do with my life’?
AG: It’s always been about change for me, or making change, or the want for change. Changing the color of my walls excites me. I discovered in my hometown that many people just take things as they are; they don’t question. I’ve found a medium where it is possible to aid people to feel something different, to think of what they know as normal and reevaluate it. Why don’t they change it up? But, eh, I’m the one who gets excited about changing the color of the walls.
DB: I have been playing with filmmaking since I was a high school student, where we had a lot of fun and quite a blast with our productions. As it says on my biography on Kickstarter, we covered my little brother in tin foil, dressed my best friend Ole in a pair of tight hot pants, and persuaded the headmaster of my high school to dress up as a gangster and then interviewed her in her office. Since then I have always been making and editing short films on my own but it lasted a long time before I decided to do anything serious with it. I think the reason for that was that I for a long time did not want to do anything with my life. I think I was very much going through the kind of phase that Kit Fraicher is going through. It was a time where I saw all the problems of the world and where everything going on seemed to be hopeless and unjust. I remember feeling ‘Why bother? We are bringing doom on ourselves anyway.’. At that time I was living in Berlin and I wasn’t really getting anywhere with my life. I was a bit self-destructive, I would say, but there came a point where I felt an urge to do something with my life and I knew it had to be something that I would want to wake up for every morning and be excited about. I was very much aware of the competitive business that I was moving into, and since my decision I have been working hard and have reached a lot of my goals already. I still have a long way in front of me but I’m at a point today where I see myself as a filmmaker and to be able to share that with you makes me very happy.
The Impaler: You are crowdfunding the production of Kit Fraicher at Kickstarter. Make your pitch!
AG/DB:If you liked films like Moonrise Kingdom, and can imagine the same kind of story – the outsider boy, the anti-hero making his way in the only way he knows and feels – then you will like Kit Fraicher. It’s innocently cute and jaw-droppingly extreme. Kit Fraicher stands out.
The Impaler: Famous last words? The floor is yours….
AG/DB: Feminism is not equalism.
Kit Fraicher on Kickstarter
@KitFraicher + @KitBergmaier + @AaronGuthrie