Felix Steup is 17 years old and is currently preparing for graduation from the Bischöflichen Marienschule (Episcopal Mary School) in Mönchengladbach. After graduation, he wants to attend film college in order to learn how to produce professional films. But despite his young age, Felix already has experience working as a film director.
As early as his primary school years, Felix produced his first film about the 2006 World Cup in Germany. In 2013 he won the young talent prize at the Camgaroo Award, an annual competition for amateur and independent film makers, for his short film “Entgleist” (Derailed). He was even featured in Spiegel Online. Since then, he has received an increasing number of requests for film projects and has produced image films for a number companies and organizations. He edits his films with MAGIX Movie Edit Pro.
In our interview with him, Felix tells us about his work and provides some tips for film makers.
MAGIX: What fascinates you about making films?
Felix: Films are the best way for me to express my ideas. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m always drawing connections between the content and my own personal experiences. But my perspective on things at the emotional level is always involved.
In your film “Entgleist” you play a young man who, amidst thoughts about committing suicide, rediscovers the joy of living through sport climbing. How did the idea for this film come about and what was the production process like?
I go climbing in my free time, among other things, and I’ve made some contacts that way. The climbing church in Mönchengladbach turned out to be an ideal filming location. The topic of suicide came about later as a subject, and the story then developed further around both of those focal points: “suicide” and “climbing”.
Filming took three days, which we did in our free time outside of school. We also needed three months for planning and a week for editing.
What is the process for getting from an initial idea to a finished project?
The process is different for every project. When I’m making a film for an event, I usually don’t have much time to prepare. For example, I can estimate how the lighting conditions are going to be and prepare my equipment accordingly, but I typically have very little control over the things I want to film.
When it comes to scenic films and ad spots, I have more room to prepare and plan what I want to film. Of course, this means more work for me, but also more assurance, so the work is worth it.
After filming comes editing, which I do at home at my desk. I can easily work 4-5 hours straight per night.
What changed for you after the Camgaroo Award?
The Camgaroo Award didn’t make my enthusiasm for films any stronger, since it’s always been very strong. But it did give me the courage to consider filmmaking as a career and not just a hobby.
You’ve been working with Movie Edit Pro for several years. What do you like so much about it?
It’s brilliant how I can change the user interface to fit my needs. Depending on what I’m doing, I can combine the features I need into one window and have several windows with different work areas running parallel to that.
If you have enough RAM, the program runs quickly and reliably, and working on large projects with several hours of high-resolution raw material is no problem.
What I like about ad films is that you can communicate something on a very abstract level as opposed to scenic films, where the content is usually specific. Each has its own appeal.
You use music from the creative commons for your films. Do you have any tips where other filmmakers can find music like this?
Yep! Soundcloud.com is really good for finding music. You can filter for specific genres and licenses to find songs.
Based on your experience, do you have any other tips for filmmakers?
Have fun and be nice to your friends. You’ll always need good assistants and actors!