FANMAIL (2013)

Written/produced by Julia Effertz. Directed by Glenn Conroy and Julia Effertz. Director of Photography: Satoshi. Editor: Chiara Mente. Cast: Julia Effertz (Rosalie), Michael Epp (Alex), Christine Lenz (Anna).

(c) Julia Effertz

(c) Julia Effertz

"Fanmail" tells the seemingly inconspicuous story of a random encounter between Alex, a famous American actor, and Rosalie, a fan who's managed to find out where he lives and who has come to get his autograph...or so it seems.

"Fanmail" was my first script as well as the first film I produced and co-directed. It truly is my first-born and I will forever cherish the process, from the first line I wrote down to the finally completed film copy.

Its story had been with me for so long that, whenever somebody asks me nowadays about where the original idea for this movie came from, I find it impossible to give one definitive answer. In fact, there were probably several ideas, inspirations, moods and plots lines evolving at various speeds, but simultaneously, and always somehow connected by that most ineffable of connective threads: love.

"Fanmail" is doubtless a film about love - though in somewhat muted shades: the love that binds the two sisters, Rosalie and Anna, together, and which spurns Rosalie into action. The "love" of a young and naive girl, Anna, for a movie star (Alex) who fleetingly crossed her path and took her adoration and devotion in his stride. Alex's love for himself and...underneath it all, a love for life and death, which is where my own impulse came in to set one of my most beloved pieces of music to film: Richard Wagner's "Liebestod"/Lovedeath from his opera "Tristan and Isolde".  

A true German Romantic (and with a PhD in 19th-century comparative literature to show for it, too), I had always been affected by opera, but no single piece had left such a profound impression on me as Isolde's "transfiguration", as they call it - that strange state of euphoria somewhere beyond mortal life, carried into a sublime realm through her song and her love. Singing yourself to death - sounds very Romantic, doesn't it?

On a more prosaic level, my Romantic interests met with a fascination for the psychology of fame as well as fan culture. How does fame impact on people and how does the star-fan dynamic work? 

These, and other thought processes, kept evolving and taking shape. Until I sat down one gloomy winter's day to write "Fanmail".