Weather House

Narrative Feature Film, 2017

Click here to go to the Weather House website

World Premiere at the 2017 Slamdance Film Festival as an Official Selection in the Narrative Competition.

Told with minimalism and humor, Weather House is ultimately as dark, strange and unpredictable as the weather itself.

The title is borrowed from the Germanic folk art tradition of building humidity meters in the form of small, handcrafted houses, with figures that emerge according to specific weather predictions. The film presents a life-size adaptation of this idea. Set in an unspecified time of extreme planetary climate change, its figures are now an isolated group of disoriented characters who spend their time engaged in absurd activities. Trying to provide a measure of normality, they develop their own strange belief systems and routines. One man builds a network of wires. Another keeps himself attached to a plant. A woman is constantly recording sounds, but why and for whom?

Weather House Teaser #1

„Mysterious and mesmerizing, Weather House turns the end of the world into fine art.“

http://www.hammertonail.com/film-festivals/weather-house-review

„…,Weather House could easily represent a cross-over between The Exterminating Angel and The Road being staged as Ionesco or Genet´s play.“

http://screenanarchy.com/2017/01/slamdance-2017-review-weather-house.html

Weather House gives a glimpse into the madness and the cult mentality that can take over in situations where death and climate change is a near possibility.

http://www.slugmag.com/movie-reviews/slamdance-film-review-weather-house/

„This minimalist apocalypse looks very different from The Day after Tomorrow, but in its own way it way be a more damning indictment of our indolence and lassitude.“

http://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/jrf/vol21/iss1/9/ PDF

Inga Dietrich - Audrey

Inga Dietrich is an actress and mother of two based in Berlin since 1990. In addition to theatre work in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, and Vienna, she has been involved in numerous readings and audioplays. In 2000 she became the artistic director of Berlin’s Bloomsday, a literary festival dedicated to James Joyce. Since 1999 she has appeared in a number of films and television programs.

Erik Hansen - William

Erik Hansen studied acting briefly, before setting out to see the world. After a couple of years, his travels led him to Berlin, where has been living since the 1970s. He has done physical theater, political theater, classic and avant garde theater, film, television, video and voice over. He first worked with Frauke Havemann in 1995.

Sabine Hertling - Mary

Sabine Hertling’s artistic career began in 1983 at the „First Berlin School of Mime and Pantomime“. She then continued drama studies in Berlin followed by Indian dance studies in Paris and India before landing in Berlin’s independent performance scene. There she worked for years, most notably with theater directors like Matthias Wittekindt and Hans Werner Krösinger, as well as starting her work as a film and television actress. Since 2012 she also has worked as a voice over artist for the Deutsche Welle.

Charles McDaniel - Hobart

Dr. Charles McDaniel (Ph.D.-Theater) is a Berlin-based teacher, director, actor, playwright, and novelist. His prose works include the urban fantasy series “The Caleb Ride Chronicles” and the short story collection “Dark Matters”. His play/scenic collage “Stimmen Durch Die Mauer/Voices Through The Wall” was featured on the BBC-World Radio program “The Strand.”

Jack Rath - Gunman

Jack Rath is a director, writer and editor based in Berlin. Following a Bachelor of Media Arts at RMIT Melbourne, he worked in the Australian film industry before relocating to Berlin in 2000. His award winning short film “Olli” and his debut feature documentary “Between Home” have been screened at over 40 festivals worldwide. As an actor Jack hasn’t been in front of the camera since film school. Now he’s back in WEATHER HOUSE.

Director / Producer / Editor

Frauke Havemann is a director and the artistic director of the Berlin based performance and film group ON AIR. Her work is characterized by interdisciplinary practice and includes film, video installations and performance. She has received numerous grants, residencies and scholarships and her productions have been shown at theaters and festivals throughout Europe.
In May 2011 the Goethe Institute sponsored a residency in Los Angeles, during which the concept for WEATHER HOUSE was developed together with writer-director Mark Johnson. In 2016 she received a research grant from the Berlin Senate to develop the concept for her next film.

Co-director / Producer / Editor

Eric Schefter received a B.A. in Film and Video from NYU in 1987. He then began working professionally as an editor in film and television. In addition, in the early 1990s he co-founded four intermedia performance groups in New York, including „77 Hz“ and „The Luminists“, which combined video imagery, electronic music and theatrical elements to create precise live A/V compositions. In 1997 he moved to Berlin and continued working as an editor with directors such as Monika Treut („Gendernauts“) and Andrew Horn („We Are Twisted Fucking Sister“). In 2002 he co-founded ON AIR.

Writer / Producer

Mark Johnson is a writer-director and producer for film, theater and television. He began his film work in the late 1970s, studying at Media Studies Buffalo and New York University. In 1985, he moved to Berlin, where he co-founded the theater and media-production group Detektor. In 1998, Johnson moved to Brussels, where he worked as an actor and journalist. In 2005, he relocated to Los Angeles, where he founded $96 Entertainment Corp. The company currently develops projects for film, distribution, publishing and e-commerce including Ninetysixbooks.com.

Cinematographer / Producer

Marcel Neumann, studied at the College for Optics and Photography in Berlin, and then worked as a freelance director, cameraman, and editor. Since 1997 he has been the managing Director of vis:a:vis Filmproduktion GmbH. The company has expanded and now encompasses Hanger Studio, the motion control company Mastermoves, and vis:a:vis, all under one roof. Today Marcel mainly works as a director of commercials. But his love for creating images regularly gets him back behind the camera.

Costume Designer

Regina Gyr is from Zürich and studied acting before completing a degree in directing for theatre at the HFMT Hamburg. Since 2006 she has been based in Berlin and works as a freelance director in performing arts. Regina is a founding member of the Kostümkollektiv Berlin, a costume fund for the independent arts, and is active as a costume designer for film.

Cast in Alphabetical Order
Inga Dietrich – Audrey
Erik Hansen – William
Sabine Hertling – Mary
Charles McDaniel – Hobart
Jack Rath – Gunman

Starers
Nawel Benziane
Simon Brückner
Jonas Büchler
Doretta Neumann
Rasmina Neumann
Katrin Schoof

Directed by
Frauke Havemann

Co-directed by
Eric Schefter

Concept
Frauke Havemann
Mark Johnson

Written by
Mark Johnson

Cinematography
Marcel Neumann

Produced by
Frauke Havemann
Eric Schefter
Marcel Neumann
Mark Johnson

Edited by
Eric Schefter
Frauke Havemann

Costume Designer
Regina Gyr

Assistant Camera, Lighting
Jacek Krupa
Birgit Möller

Production by
Frauke Havemann / ON AIR
and
vis:a:vis Filmproduktion GmbH

Concept supported by
Goethe-Institut Munich

With WEATHER HOUSE I was interested in creating a film where the characteristics of weather itself, such as atmosphere and temperature shifts, are equally important as plot and character. The film that emerged takes viewers on a strange voyage, one which mirrors the  long voyage making the film.

The starting point was a residency from the Goethe Institute, which enabled me to travel from Berlin to Los Angeles and work with Mark Johnson (writer). Since he had relocated to Los Angeles from Europe,  we could only interact from afar. It was great to work together in person again. 

When we began developing concepts for WEATHER HOUSE, Mark and I imagined a world  enduring abrupt and extreme weather shifts, where temperatures rise and drop as much as  30 degrees in 10 minutes and where humans are being driven to the verge of extinction. And, most importantly, we imagined a film in which there is no hero to save the day. In fact, by struggling to make things better, the characters are more likely to make things  worse.

One day we drove to The Museum of Jurassic Technology, where I became fascinated by the miniature dioramas and their displays of fake science. The little stages were so specific and detailed, yet at the same time they created whole worlds. This led us to the Germanic folk art custom of building hygrometers in the form of small, handcrafted houses with figures that  emerge according to specific weather conditions. Such a device is called in German “Wetterhaus”,  literally “weather house” Questions came up such as: How do you predict or control a constantly changing situation? What should you do and what would it be better not to do? We pictured the weather house in the movie as, in some sense, an enlarged version of the “Wetterhaus”. Trapped inside, the figures occupy themselves with less than useful activities to provide measurements of normality. Everyday things are perceived in a new light and with a new significance. This, combined with the occasional clumsiness and artificiality of the figures, led us to the edge of comedy and horror.

A trip to Joshua Tree National Park raised questions on our own perceptions of nature. Wandering through the desert, we felt so foreign that it seemed to us like we were walking through a film set. How close could we really get to nature? This feeling of estrangement was ironically amplified later on a stop in Las Vegas, as we walked under projected skies and through fake nature settings in casinos.

Ultimately, nature interested us as a presence itself, a place where humans may no longer be able to get to, but which they may only think and dream about. In the film characters are isolated from their natural environment and are rarely seen in it. As it happened, Eric Schefter (co-director) and I, and the whole production crew, lived this idea through the filming process, during which we shot for twelve continuous days in a tiny house in Seehausen, a small village in former East Germany. We didn’t shoot a single exterior scene in the beautiful landscape that surrounded the town, and had no time to enjoy the nature around us. It was as if we were hermetically sealed in that house. All the nature shots were done much later in different locations, without actors. We ended up with very separate worlds that we could then juxtapose in post-production. The final film reinforces this disconnect through sound design and editing. In WEATHER HOUSE nature is indifferent to human presence. Nature prevails.