Fri Jun 5, 2020

Interview: Mood management for times in between, about human contradictions

Episode Die Sexarbeiterin - Hannes Hellmann, Maria Kempken © Joachim Jung

Interview with filmmaker Joachim Jung about the second season of his web series The Man For Your Sins

The web series The Man For Your Sins already entered its second season and will have its world premiere in the Official Selection of the 6th Edition of the Seriale! It is nominated for four awards: Best Screenplay (Joachim Jung), Best Leading Actor (Hannes Hellmann) and Best Supporting Actresses (Gabriela Maria Schmeide, Maria Kempken)!

The main character in the series, priest Wolfgang, is still confronted with all kinds of weird situations. In his confessional-container, he awaits people who have something to confess. This is followed by one weird character after another - topics such as greed, jealousy, communication-barriers and sexuality are presented in an amusing, funny and reflective way. It is the everyday topic that you, as a spectator, can put yourself into and test your own morality. What is interesting is the priests behaviour - his dealing with the problems presented to him is a passing game between the values of the Catholic Church and those of modern society. This results in a story that has an accompanying effect beyond the individual consequences and, here in a case of interactive content, it creates a small, approachable world in itself.

The Seriale conducted an interview with the producer, screenwriter and director, Joachim Jung and took a look behind the scenes.

Tobias Lack: Joachim Jung, what was your motivation behind this production?

Joachim Jung: On the one hand, we want to create entertainment for situations in everyday life like in the subway or while waiting. We want to reach people who are on the go and who just need a bit of mood-management. The series is designed for entertainment in between, for the tablet or smart-phone. Hence the simple form: two or three actors, the spatial and temporal unity, a lot of close-ups and the best acting – simply a real web series. On the other hand, we think the situation of a confession is extremely dramatic, but also very funny, extremely helpful and at the same time extremely stupid. Contrasts and conflicts are the foundation of a confessional situation. However, in the series we not only tell of confession, but also the story of a contradicting man with a character that is not always up-to-date: a wannabe macho whose life is made difficult by women. I think it is very nice that this character is also a priest. The feedback of the first season at the web festivals suggests that the series is also understood by other cultures.

Tobias Lack: How was the series produced - were there any obstacles and / or happy coincidences?

Joachim Jung: It is already the second season. This time we produced in a large apartment in Berlin where our production designer, Anina Diener, set up the studio. Since we work with a manageable team, the organization was relatively easy. With great support from Ludwig Kameraverleih and MBF Lichttechnik, we were able to have the studio including the technical equipment set up for three weeks without incurring any additional costs. In this way we were able to find a suitable shooting day for each actor and shoot without any time issues. Overall, the shoot went well. We shot with three cameras in parallel, which gives the actors a certain freedom in their acting and gives them great pleasure. This also saves shooting time. However, the dialogue was not improvised because I consider the precision of what is spoken necessary for the short comedy.

Tobias Lack: As we know, movies often carry a message. Is there any background information about the plot or the production that you would like to specifically communicate to the viewers of your series?

Joachim Jung: The Man For Your Sins is a series of completed episodes. But there are also storylines beyond episode boundaries and recurring characters. These stories, spanning all episodes, are only gradually opening up. It is also important to mention that the viewer can contact the main protagonist via Facebook at any time. Wolfgang, the priest in the series, had his Facebook account for several years and is happy to get new fans. At the same time, Wolfgang’s Facebook page is used to publish information and news about the series. There are even exclusive sermons from him. So we tell stories across platforms and are therefore a real web series, that can only be told online in their entirety.

Tobias Lack: Is there a comprehensive background-story for the short stories?

Joachim Jung: Yes, Wolfgang should have become a bishop soon, but another priest with a conservative attitude was appointed. As a result of his disappointment, Wolfgang started drinking. During this period of weakness, he had an affair with the choir director Frau Werner. Wolfgang lost his ministry and his dignity. He agrees with the Diocese that he has to bring people closer to confession. He suggests a mobile confessional: the confessional-container.

Tobias Lack: Is there a certain ambiguity / an appeal behind the chosen topic of the modern priest?

Joachim Jung: Yes, it’s about ambiguity, double standards and the bigotry of people. We all carry these personal elements in our chests. These human contradictions are the foundation of the series. The contradictions and illogical nature of human existence are very clear in the religious environment. In fact, I would say that the series also works against racism, against inhumanity and for humanity (take a look at the episode Bintang with Gabriela Maria Schmeide).

Tobias Lack: Even the selection of the location for the container at Kaiser-Wilhelm-Memorial-Church seems well thought out - was this deliberately chosen?

Joachim Jung: The place at the memorial-church is simply perfect: the small scrap container with this two churches next to it. The constellation of The Man For Your Sins also takes its benefit from the contrast between the small interior of the container and the huge open, busy space outside.

Episode Der Bankräuber - Hannes Hellmann, Samuel Finzi, © Nicolaus Herrmann Photographie

Tobias Lack: How do you think this year’s Seriale will be in the online-appearance? What are you particularly looking forward to?

Joachim Jung: I’m simply looking forward to it. I hope, that an advantage of the online-appearance, will be to experience the new series in their ‘natural habitat’. At the same time, I hope to bring the short formats closer to more people through the links of the festival. The live festival in Gießen is an inside meeting, the online format could also appeal to the broad masses. But sure, I’m sad not to be able to see the series on the big screen.

Tobias Lack: Finally we would like to pose the question why Seriale Giessen will remain a special place for you despite the current situation?

Joachim Jung: The Seriale was the first live festival that invited us for our first five pilot-episodes. Our main actor, Hannes Hellmann, didn‘t allow himself to be ragged and even travelled there. We had a wonderful time at the festival and already got great feedback. Now we are very happy to present the second season. The festival is wonderfully organized and offers all filmmakers a great space for exchange and networking.

Now, if you‘re curious about the new experiences the priest Wolfgang is having, you can view The Man of Your Sins and all the series and pilots from our Official Selection from June 3 to 8, 2020 via the Videmic app. Furthermore Joachim Jung will participate in the Creator’s Panel at the Educational on June 5.

Interview: Tobias Lack