Tag Archives: Adolfo J. Kolmerer

CRYSTALLINE STRUCTURES: DIRECTOR ADOLFO J. KOLMERER ON “SNOWFLAKE”

Adolfo J. Kolmerer on the set of "Snowflake"
Adolfo J. Kolmerer on the set of “Snowflake”

Snowflake is a twisted meta-narrative movie in which an amateur dentist screenwriter finds his own characters pressuring him to change the outcome in his script that features hitmen, angels, superheroes, and fascists fighting it out in a dystopian future Germany. In his review of the film, raved, “Using a bold style while slavishly following scripted narrative logic, [director] Kolmerer continued to amaze me at every twist and turn.” Snowflake director Adolfo J. Kolmerer was kind enough to answer a few questions submitted by 366 Weird Movies staff via email.

366: William James is credited as “guest director” (“gast-regie”). What was his role in the production?

AK: William James is not only the guest director, he is one of the editors and the creator of Hyper Electro Man1. William is one of my closest friends and collaborators, we have been working together for a long time.  He wanted to do Hyper Electro Man as a short film and direct it. We decided to put the storyline in the film and I asked him to direct it.

366: Snowflake was made independently on a very low budget— how did you convince so many people to work without immediate pay?

AK: I think we convinced them with the crazy ideas the script was offering. I promised them that I would finish the film, that it will remarkable and different.  It was a lot of energy that we invested into convincing people to help us not only the ones in front of the camera, I’m happy that at the end everyone is happy with the result and they are proud of being part of this unique and mostly wild ride.

366: Did your previous work in making commercials influence Snowflake? Commercial directors are often obliged to make a small budget look big.

AK: Well, what we spent in Snowflake is a quarter of the budget of a normal commercial, but yes, that’s something important that I learned while doing commercials, which is to find a way, always! To work under massive pressure and stay focused.  Of course shooting a film is a different job but I think it helps a lot to have experience in both.

366: With so many characters, who do you see as the primary protagonist of the story (if there is one)?

AK: I developed a different kind of love for everyone, but the primary are TAN, JAVID, ELIANA and CARSON.

366: Is Hauke (synonym for “warrior”) Winter based on anyone in particular, or just representative of the rising fringe in German politics?

AK: Hauke is based in Populism, the men of power that disguise themselves as victims of the system to get to power (Left and Right wing). It is very sad to see what is happening in the world right now. No continent is safe from their own Hauke.

366: Did you know screenwriter Arend Remmers before beginning this project? How did the script come to you?

Still from Snowflake (2017)
Arend (Alexander Schubert) performs a quick script rewrite at the urging of Javid (Reza Brojerdi)

AK:  I was involved on the project since the beginning, the writer Arend Remmers is one of my best friends. Snowflake was born out of frustration because of failed past projects, that never got done because of financing and producers trying to make our stories more conventional, so Arend and I decided to do a bonkers film and break the rules, but only under one condition: we have to do it ourselves together with our friends, so we don’t have to compromise, that meant no fancy production companies or any budget. We have known each other for 8 years now, we worked together in many small projects before Snowflake. Now Arend is one of the most brilliant writers in Germany, he is not afraid of breaking rules and changing the form, which I love. I am like that too, so we work together very well! We are like brothers, we respect each other’s opinions and share the same film DNA.

366: Why was “dentist” the day job for the in-movie screenwriter?

AK: Because a friend of ours is a dentist and said “you can shoot here.” Everything in the movie is based on ’s rule: Use what you have 🙂

366: How did you go about casting someone to portray a character with the real name of the actual screenwriter?

AK: Alexander Schubert, who plays Arend Remmers, is a friend of ours. I remember we pitched him his character and what he does and he was very excited. When we told him that his name is Arend he went crazy and started laughing. He took the job on the spot, ha ha.

366: Did you consider a cameo role for the real Arend Remmers?

AK: No, ha ha, my Arend is too shy, it would give me a headache to direct him.

LIST CANDIDATE: SNOWFLAKE (2017)

Schneeflöckchen

Recommended

DIRECTED BY: Adolfo J. Kolmerer

FEATURING: Reza Brojerdi, Erkan Acar, Xenia Assenza, David Masterson, Judith Hoersch, Alexander Schubert, David Gant

PLOT: In near-future Berlin, Javid and Tan find their fate preordained by a dentist’s ever-changing movie script as they pursue vengeance for their family’s deaths while in turn being pursued by hit men hired by the daughter of two bystanders they murdered while on their quest.

Still from Snowflake (2017)

WHY IT SHOULD MAKE THE LIST: Imagine, if you will, the cross-section where Delirious and Fight Club meet Adaptation as an action-revenge-comedy littered with comic book energy and political commentary presented through the lens of a German director of commercials. Snowflake definitely has the chops to join its 358 other pals, even if we’re forced to pass it over for the official 366-count tally.

COMMENTS: I admittedly “like to like” movies; however, I generally don’t like gushing about much of anything. That said, I beg your forgiveness if I fall into hagiographical tones over the next few paragraphs, as I have not been this much blown away by a movie for quite some time. Adolfo Kolmerer’s feature debut, Snowflake, not only defies succinct description (other than strings of superlatives), it would perhaps defy logic if it weren’t so expertly crafted by the screenwriter and so deftly presented by the director.

Snowflake‘s story concerns a series of interlocking revenge-focused stories. Javid (Reza Brojerdi) and Tan (Erkan Acar) are two long-time friends whose families died during a fire, possibly lit on purpose by xenophobic forces in a close-to-now, chaotic Berlin. Eliana (Xenia Assenza) seeks vengeance on these men for having murdered her parents in a kebab restaurant. Eliana’s bodyguard Carson (David Masterson) reluctantly agrees to introduce her to his estranged father (David Gant), who had been locked away for his homicidal-messianic tendencies, to help line up a string of unhinged murderers. Javid and Tan’s troubles are compounded when they discover that all their actions—indeed, everyone’s—seem to be determined by a dentist (Alexander Schubert) who dabbles in screenwriting. Hovering in the background is a vigilante superhero, a guardian angel nightclub singer, and a rather nasty bunch of neo-fascists aiming to stage a comeback.

Snowflake definitely has its own “feel”, while at the same time it tips its hat to its predecessors. , obviously; he seems to be credited now with influencing all manner of roaming-narrative crime movies. , too; the dentist-cum-puppet-master not only directs the action from his laptop, but in several sticky situations finds that his characters have tracked him down to make demands. (This leads to a number of the film’s funny moments, such as when Tan demands of him, “Think of us as the producers and you as the screenwriter. We give you an idea, and you have to make it work, no matter how stupid it is.”) Snowflake‘s political tones unfold slowly, beginning with some seemingly incongruous footage of an interview with an ex-police commissioner expounding on his nationalist ideas, and ending with the discovery of a hidden training facility for just-about-Nazi super-soldiers.

Ultimately, Snowflake stands as its own movie. Using a bold style while slavishly following scripted narrative logic, Kolmerer continued to amaze me at every twist and turn. I was so engrossed during the on-screen action in one scene that I had actually totally forgotten the “artificiality” of the whole narrative construct. By the film’s end I was left with a pleasantly extreme feeling of frisson, and perhaps even a shortness of breath. In order to keep myself brief, there are countless things I haven’t been able to touch upon. But I ask you to take my word for it that Snowflake is as beautiful and unique as its namesake, as well as a damn sight more hilarious than a crystal of frozen water.

Snowflake releases on DVD and Blu-ray on Dec. 4. We’ll update you when it’s out.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:

“…a dizzying, hilarious film that combines post-Tarantino action/crime drama and Charlie Kaufman’s metafictional surrealism with exhilarating results.”–Jason Coffman, Daily Grindhouse (festival screening)