IXFF Filmmaker Interviews! Part Two: Steffan Schulz
Steffan Schulz is the subject of our second filmmaker interview for the the Good Vibrations Indie Erotic Film Fest. His film “Lorelei” will be screened in the international short film competition at the Castro Theatre on September 23rd (for more details and tickets, visit www.gv-ixff.org). We asked filmmakers from around the world to show us what’s sexy in 7 minutes or less, and Staffan’s unique aquatic erotica really captured our imaginations.
Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, filmmaker Steffan Schulz’s work has been featured on PBS, ABC, NBC, ESPN and MTV. Specializing in international productions, he has taken his camera and storytelling sensibilities to India, Asia, South America, Outer Mongolia and even filming underwater in the Arctic Circle. As a scuba diver, Steffan is Nitrox and Rebreather certified and an avid wreck diver.
What do you hope audiences will get from your work?
On the surface, its simply about a man thinking about the lost love of his life. But more than that, its about every decision we’ve ever made, the path that our lives have gone down. Are they the right ones, did we make the right decisions? It’s about the “what if?” factor. My father passed away when I was very young, so I spent a lot of time contemplating how my life would have been different had he lived throughout my adolescence, attended my graduation, saw my first film. Would I even be where I am, or would my life be drastically different.
Who are your stars, and how did you meet them/invite them to participate?
Jeslen, Jeff and Joe. The two male leads I had worked with in the past and knew they would be right for the parts. Jeff (the sailor) had worked with Jeslen on another project and when I put the casting call together, he thought of her. The role called for a very strong swimming background. We spent a long time at the bottom of the pool in the dark and Jeslen had to be very comfortable and trusting that we would supply her with air whenever she wanted.
Were there any funny or unexpected moments while filming?
Underwater, we shot in 20 to 30 minute increments and then surfaced to discuss our progress. Ultimately we spent about, 5 hours underwater and within five minutes I could see goose bumps all over Jeslen’s body. So much for close-ups. The pool was about 83 degrees, but after such a long time, the body can’t fight the temperature difference. She never complained once. Total joy to work with.
What is your favorite sex toy to use in a film?
What advice would you give to first-time erotic filmmakers, or filmmakers in general?
There’s a wide definition of erotic, but no matter what anyone says the mind is the one unifying factor. Arouse the mind and the body will follow. Set your mind to arousing yourself and produce a film that stimulates you. Your audience will follow. Mystery, conflict, passion, location, are all important elements in any film. It’s no different with erotic film.
How does the film you submitted reflect your views on sex, and was there anything you learned in the process of making the film?
This is a very relevant question in regards to my inspiration for this film. I have been traveling abroad a lot and noticed some very sensual imagery on television overseas. Whether it was in a cafe, or bar or during prime time viewing hours, the imagery on an international level is so much more provocative than in the US. The puritan mentality that dominates American society today is really kind of sad and hypocritical. Violence to me is more obscene. And violent imagery is so pervasive. It seems more acceptable to see someone decapitated and disemboweled than to see a pair of breasts. That’s a shame, because they really are beautiful. In addition to that, I wanted to do something that had a foreign feel to it. What little dialogue there is in the film, is mostly in a foreign tongue. My hope was to make a film with a universal theme.
What projects are you working on now/next?
A music video for a german electronic artist and a post apocalyptic feature film.