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Ambitious cinematography made in Chemnitz

Michael Chlebusch, Chemnitz University alumni and passionate short film videographer, presents his latest work on international screen – after successful presentation at the film festival Schlingel

He himself places his short films in the genre of magical realism: Michael Chlebusch uses real scenery and settings for his surreal seeming stories. A kind of cinematography that by now also convinces the jury at film contests. At this year’s film festival Schlingel in Chemnitz, the latest work of the 34- year old was nominated the best national short film. Chlebuschs work “Die Mechanik oder: Wie man auf sich Acht gibt” is about a girl finding a metal bird, which fell from a tree. A visit to a mechanic is supposed to bring the toy back on track. The mechanics workshop marks the beginning of a wondrous journey, in front of a magical setting made of machines, gearwheels, and unconventional characters. “I wanted to deal with responsibility”, says Chlebusch. “You can help others, but it also requires a certain degree of self-responsibility.” The Chemnitz jury members liked the film so much, that they subsequently submitted the film to the Schlingel partner film festival Olympia in Greece where it was nominated for the best short film. The film festival took place in Pyrgos from December 2nd till 9th 2017.

Workshop triggers interest in film

“I already started to tell short stories with my comic like drawings in fifth grade. They were not so good, but my classmates somehow liked them”, said Chlebusch. As his affinity for language and story writing remained, he decided to study German and English Language at Chemnitz University of Technology. But with regard to his present dedication as filmmaker, an incident during his time at the university radio station UNiCC played an important role: “At that time, a friend of mine and I hosted a show called “Kultursofa” – thematically dealing with everything happening in the Chemnitz culture scene. The interest in radio led to a workshop on audio plays and movies in the Chemnitz Filmwerkstatt”, he remembers. From there on his fascination was aroused and now, 18 films later, he is still loyal to the Filmwerkstatt. “The budgets for my movies are really small. Most of the time it’s just enough to cover the costs”, the young director and screenwriter explains. But he emphasizes: “Making films is a passion for me.” Among his works are not only short films such as “Das Kaninchenproblem” – screened at the MDR Kurzfilmnacht in 2016 –  but also music videos. For example for the Chemnitz band Iguana or as production assistant for the band Kraftklub. He appreciates the openness of the creative scene for his short movies and the familial atmosphere: “The scene in Chemnitz offers many niches and opportunities to try something new. Furthermore, the city offers many interesting sites as settings and the creative minds inspire themselves mutually.”

“Barbeque sausage with fries” – mainstay during the study time

“I have to admit that my studies at Chemnitz University probably took longer than average, but I highly valued the liberties of the master’s degree and the proximity to the lecturers”, summarizes Michael Chlebusch, who finished his master’s degree in 2011. During his time at Chemnitz University, he also worked as student assistant in the press office and wrote for the online magazine “LEO”, a former project of the Professorship of German Linguistics. “The work as student assistant not only paved the way in the editorial work and writing, but also helped me to establish contacts”, Chlebusch says. In addition, “the experiences I gained from these jobs are highly appreciated at my current full-time occupation as editor of a local advertising and communication agency.” A special memory is “the barbeque sausage with fries at the cafeteria. Together with fellow students or other student assistants, this brought us together and was somehow the mainstay at the university.” Although he doesn’t want to be an advisor for present or prospective students, he still has one tip: “Don’t start to study only for the sake of it. But if you’re already doing so, at least become active and participate in the various and numerous clubs, societies, or initiatives at the university.”

At the moment the film maker has no new project in the pipeline, but he would like to try the production of a long motion picture in the future. Until then, he can look forward to the final nomination of his film “Die Mechanik” at the Downtown Urban Arts festival in New York in May 2018. “It was a shot in the dark to send my latest film to New York. But I already made it among the 36 finalists”, said Chlebusch and is happy. Not only his fans will keep their fingers crossed.

Matthias Fejes

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