Born near the Baltic coast of Germany, Katharina Ludwig studied Directing for Feature Film at the University of Television and Film Munich and graduated with the feature film and improv dramedy This Is Where I Meet You.
Katharina started her career as a PA and 1st AD for commercial and music videos, followed by an internship for renowned german production house X Filme Creative Pool. Her work has been screened at various international film festivals. Her graduation feature This Is Where I Meet You premiered in Competition at the Max Ophüls Prize Film Festival, Germany where it was nominated for the coveted Max Ophüls Prize and won the Best Narrative Feature award at the Montana International Film Festival as well as Best Narrative Feature and Best of the Fest at the River’s Edge International Film Festival. Her commercial projects have gathered awards at the Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards, the New Media Award, and Eurobest, and have been shortlisted at the Cannes Lions.
Her film, This Is Where I Meet You, is part of BIFF 2022.
What was your first experience on a film set?
My very first experience was a commercial I was acting in. I was immediately drawn to the hustle and bustle behind the camera, observed what people were doing, and asked everyone 1000 questions. This was my gateway into filmmaking. I started working as a 1st AD and production assistant and while it was a great learning experience, it wasn’t quite what I dreamed of. My first experience on a feature film set was as an extra in a Hollywood Sci-Fi action movie that was shot in Germany. It was like a new world that opened up and it was exhilarating. Being immersed in it made me aware of the possibilities of world-building, but the true magic happened once we started shooting. The intimacy of a small shooting crew, the anticipation when the stand-ins would leave the room and the actors would step in, both very accomplished in their respective fields – you could feel the energy rise. It was electrifying to watch them perform and their immense presence, dedication, and focus left me in awe of their craft.
What was the first film you directed/wrote?
I directed a few shorts before and while attending film school. I loved arthouse movies, so in my first shorts I tried to find my voice by trying to recreate what I liked, f.e. the visual storytelling of Ingmar Bergman, the wit of Woody Allen, and the realism of German director Andreas Dresen. Still, This Is Where I Meet You feels like a first movie to me because with this film I approached storytelling differently and it feels like I’m finally discovering my voice.
Who is your favorite filmmaker?
Growing up as a child in the former GDR, I didn’t have the chance to watch a lot of movies. That changed when the wall came down. As a teenager, I remember driving 2 hours from the countryside to Berlin with my brother to see Stanley Kubrick’s remastered “2001: A Space Odyssey” in the cinema. I loved films by Hitchcock, Bergman, Polanski, Godard, and Allen. I’m also a huge fan of Lars von Trier. But I felt increasingly frustrated that I didn’t see many films by female directors, except for maybe Jane Campion and Kathryn Bigelow’s work which I both admire. Today, there are so many great films made by female and non-binary directors, and I try my best to keep up watching. But to name a few, I love Chloé Zhao, Joey Soloway, and Maren Ade’s work. I love their sensitive portrayal of complex characters. You can feel their love for their characters and with love, I mean the presence of all feelings. I enjoy watching Maren Ade’s unapologetic characters and bold humor, I love Chloè Zhao’s gentle yet powerful, poetic storytelling and how gently she invites us into the character’s worlds. And I immediately fell in love with Joey Soloway’s series Transparent: Before I understood what the story was about, I could feel it and to me that is groundbreaking. To watch their characters discover themselves and grow into aware human beings, to see them relate and live their truth is a pure joy to watch.
What are you working on that no one knows about?
I’m working on different projects connected to the climate crisis and what it means to be human in a fragmented yet interconnected world. The next feature I’m developing is about community: How can we come together and face the tasks ahead of us if we’re not aware of ourselves or our relationship to nature? How can we make wise and just decisions if we are not willing to account for our own actions and relate to each other? I’m also developing a fictional series about the climate crisis from a scientific, holistic point of view and a documentary on women working for a just and regenerative world while deeply connected to their communities.