Meet the Jury - Franz Leithold

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A writer, director, editor, and professor at IES Abroad Freiburg, Franz Leithold shares some recent accomplishments, advice, and a favorite documentary.

Franz Leithold
Writer, Director & Editor
IES Abroad Freiburg Faculty - Film Studies

Q: Which of your many film-related accomplishments do you feel the most proud of?

A: In the past three years I made two films of significant length. The subject of one of them is Freiburg Cathedral, which it portrays throughout the seasons. It also narrates stories from people who are involved with this beautiful Gothic building on a day to day basis. The most exciting part was the scene in which we flew through the cathedral at night with a remote-controlled quadrocopter and a camera. My latest film deals with the work of stonemasons in Freiburg, Basle, and Strasbourg.

Q: What advice would you give to young filmmakers today?

A: Make sure you first learn to handle film techniques effectively (camera, light, sound, editing). Just as important are the basics of film language, and in this context you should watch as many films from the past as possible. You will only be in a position to try something new if you have mastered the tools of the trade. Then you can have the courage to use unusual camera perspectives, movements and editing techniques etc. But with all this do not neglect the story you want to tell, which must be interesting for you and have something to do with your life. And you should definitely dare to ignore the classical dramaturgy of Hollywood cinema. Real life does not always provide happy ends….

Q: What is your favorite documentary? And why?

A: The most interesting documentary film from both past years is, in my eyes, “More than Honey.” It tells of the extinction of the bees and their importance for mankind and shows fantastic images.

Q: How would you condense the spirit of study abroad into one word?

A: Inspiring.

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