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Alex Pitstra

Alex Pitstra

Director of Die Welt, Tunisia and Netherlands

Q: What film inspired you to start a career as a filmmaker?

A: As a child, I really liked The NeverEnding Story (Michael Ende, 1984), but later on I was struck by films like Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986), Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976), 8 ½ (Federico Fellini, 1963) and the works of Jean-Luc Godard, Tony Gatlif and many others. They really made me aware about another world of film and film language. But, the best inspiration was working as an assistant cameraman with Thijs Gloger, a fellow director from Groningen. His visual style and his adventurous way of working really encouraged me to take the big leap.

Q: Did you make Die Welt with a specific audience in mind?

A: I think the audience for this film would need to have some cinephilic 'viewing experience', some appreciation to look beyond borders and some willingness to be immersed in other cultures. It is an open film with different layers and ideas at the same time. It is very concrete and simple and not a commercial, formulaic Hollywood-narrative. You will know this by the end of the opening scene.

Q: What memorable events happened during the production of Die Welt?

A: The film was a journey. It was a tough, exhaustive road that took the maximum out of everyone involved. We were an inexperienced crew from Holland working in a foreign country in the middle of the summer with a Tunisian crew - including all the cultural misunderstandings that come with it.

Q: What did you learn from working on Die Welt?

A: I think the film came out fresh and original because we worked around 'the system', without compromise and under very high pressure. It was a very intuitive process and we managed to capture the zeitgeist of that moment in Tunisia. Although I will probably prepare better, work more professionally and be better organized for my next project, I hope to maintain some of this 'uncontrolled' and intuitive openness in my creative process.

Q: If you could work with any actor, living or dead, who would it be?

A: I like to work with non-professional actors—people from the streets who just play themselves—and mix them with more experienced actors.

Click here to view screening dates and times for Die Welt.