Woelfe - Wolves

The film is set in 1472, but that really doesn’t matter. 

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Civil war and insurgency is once again dominating the news, the calls for aid almost drowned out by the clamoring voices calling for a crackdown on the streams of refugees and immigrants while families are uprooted and cultures burn.

Violence and death are recurring topics in our society – regardless of physical or psychological, state-sanctioned or between individuals. Most people are confronted with violence daily, but we rarely have the opportunity to deal with it in our own time, on our own terms.

Austria, 1472: A family displaced by war is on its way to meet an old brother in arms of the father. They are ambushed and killed by a band of highwaymen while the daughter manages to escape. The encounter takes a turn when one of the robbers recognises his brother in arms and realises that he took part in the murder of his friend, and in a fit of rage fights and kills the other robbers except one. The daughter rushes to his aid in the end, and he gives her the choice of killing the last robber – the choice between life and death, between childhood and being grown up. Will she spare his life or avenge her family?

Together with Dreynschlag, the oldest and most experienced historical fencing group of Austria the choreography and historical framework will come to life, with a special focus on historical authenticity. Dreynschlag choreographers have worked for the Burgtheater, the Rabenhof Theater and a number of films, shows and events.

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Juliana Neuhuber (Director)

Juliana Neuhuber 3Directing films since 1994 she obtained a degree in film and media studies from the University of Vienna. Works as a director, writer and editor for film and TV projects, collaborating in the creation of short- and feature films, documentations as well as advertising and the occasional music video. Her main focus are genre films, and contemporary social topics. 

Recent projects include “Die Gstettensaga: The Rise of Echsenfriedl (A 2013/2014. D: Johannes Grenzfurthner)”,

the western “White Rose Red (A 2013)”,
sci-fi short “First Sight (A 2012)”,

“Jugendschutz DVD (A 2013)" - a miniseries for the federal government of Upper Austria.

 

Rudy Ruggiero (Konrad)
He grew up in Europe and the USA. He lived in cities such as Milan, Munich, Paris, New York, Tel Aviv, Los Angeles and Vienna...and at home he spoke three languages. After acting-school in NYC he moved to Tel Aviv where he stayed for five years and Hebrew was added to his English, German, Italian and French - He now lives and works out of Los Angeles, Vienna & Berlin... (IMDb Mini Biography By: Kristin L. Hart)

Bert Obernosterer (Gerhard)

Trainer for MMA and Submission Wrestling. Works as a stuntman and fight choreographer for computer games, film and theatre since 2005. He researches historical combat and fighting methods as a member of  the historical fencing group Dreynschlag, and is specialised in realistic combat for stage and film.

Recent projects include  productions at Rabenhof theatre, Burgtheater Vienna, Akademie Theatre, ZDF, Sat1, Puls4, “Karl May Festspiele Kärnten” and as a trainer for “Fighting for Film”-Workshops.

 

 

 Judith A. Elsigan (Anna)

Acting training with Eva-Christina Binder (Vienna, Elfriede Ott) and John Exell (London, Meisner Method). Child- and teenage actress since 2005 for short films, features and theater productions such as “Les Miserables” (Music Festival Steyr).

Recent projects include: “Mission Impossible 5” (filming. D: Christopher McQuarrie), “The Gesttensaga - The Rise of Echsenfriedl” (A 2013/2014. D: Johannes Grenzfurthner), “3D-Noir” (A 2014. D: Juliana Neuhuber), the Western “White Rose Red” (A 2013. D: Juliana Neuhuber) 

 

Directors Statement

War and violence usually happen without warning, without dramatic music that foretells the inevitable. It is a recurring topic in any society, sometimes physical, sometimes not, sometimes state-sanctioned or between civilians. The periods any society is spared from organised violence are usually brief.

We are confronted with this on a daily basis, but we seldom pause to think and reflect. For me short films are there to kick off discussions, or shake loose a thought that’s been hanging there for too long.

By placing the story in a historical setting it becomes possible to discuss rape, violence against children and murder in a fashion that does not immediately have to relate to contemporary world events or personal histories. For me it was very important to tell a story that is not embellished or softened in any way, while still showing the intricate visual aspects of the late middle ages.

Costumes and fighting styles are authentic, we involved historians and scholars during all stages of production.

It is also a film about growing up. Konrad, the father is carving a toy. He offers his daughter Anna the knife with the engraved wolf and the half-finished toy sheep. She rejects the offer and remains a child. Only after the forceful loss of her parents does she have to accept growing up, but we do not see the outcome of her choice when the knife is offered to her a second time. Consciously taking decisions, acting on them and accepting the consequences are one of the defining properties of a mature person. In the end, the choice she has to make is one of life and death.

Both script and choreography were developed with “Dreynschlag”, the oldest historical fencing society of Austria. Their network of historians were invaluable in ensuring that the setting, background and details of the story were historically accurate, and that no contemporary hollywood clichès of medievalness would seep into the production.

The main focus of the choreography was to break with some of the established traditions of action cinema, and provide a representation of historically documented fighting techniques without any over-embellishment. The greatest challenge was to find a way to present the swordfighting in a way that retained the dramatic while still portraying the bleak efficiency of medieval “Messer” techniques.

In order to provide the best possible outcome, the fighting scenes were performed by stunt performers of Dreynschlag, instead of the usual way of teaching actors how to fight.

This was one of the most difficult films I ever worked on. Creating the bleak and unadorned visuals, but also working with the actors and stunt players through these very difficult scenes proved to be very draining, but also rewarding.  When working on a film, there is always a lot of pressure - there is never enough time, you are always fighting against a variety of small and big mishaps - so it was very important to foster an atmosphere where the crew remained engaged, but where there was also enough time to actually deal with the subject matter and talk about issues when they came up.

Overall it was a great experience, exploring this wonderful historical tapestry in moving images, but also the emotional aspects of such a difficult topic.