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As some of the regulars here will already know, NoControl Cinema (or NCC) is the production company run by Marco Von Moos, more commonly known around these parts as Sollthar. One of the most prolific directors in the Cinema section, Marco has given us such classics as R O S E, Matrix Shot and the timeless The Test. "NoControl Cinema was founded back in 1993 under the name of Teen Pictures," recounts Marco. "We were a group of three young men who decided to do films with our new SVHS camera. We did our first film called 'RUN' and had so much fun doing that, that we made another... and another..."
In 1998 the name changed to NoControl Cinema whilst working on their first major production, Turicon. Veteran AlamDV users will probably have seen some outtakes from Turicon in the Cinema section and wondered what happened to the full film. With the current wider availability of broadband internet access, Marco can finally release the entire feature-length movie.
"When we started filming Turicon, I had no clue how to do starships and explosions," says Marco, "but as usual I said 'ah, whatever. I'll find a way to do that, don't worry.' So we tried everything from plastic models, self-made models made out of pizzaboxes (I still have that one, it looks absolutely stupid)... the last possibility was the computer." This seat-of-the-pants style of filmmaking certainly paid off, as you can see by watching the just released full-length version of Turicon.
Always on hand to offer help and advice, Marco has compiled a series of informative and concise effects tutorials on his website, covering everything from decapitation and limb loss to explosions and city destruction. Marco encourages prospective filmmakers to take risks and push their own skills to the limit, saying "I think effects have more to do with imagination and creativity than knowledge of software or even how professional your software is."
Marco and his team are also in the process of making the leap from amateur to professional. "We're currently in a time of change," explains Marco. "For more than two months now we have been working on setting up as a real production firm, trying to earn a little money. We've started by doing video productions and commercials." As with all aspects of filmmaking, NCC is very much a team effort - "Today we are a group of five members. Robert Grauf who is the second founder, Michelle Bauert who is also my girlfriend of five years, Nathalie Gessner who I went to school with and Fabian Ramseyer."
Their first foray into the big leagues is with their professional feature film Face To Face. According to Marco, the experience of filming was largely the same as on his earlier, smaller productions. "What changed and improved was the pre-production. We spent five months simply planning the film. We planned and designed every single detail, which was something we never did before." This preparation was vital when it came to the shoot itself, especially as he was working with professional hired actors for the first time. "I was working with an actor who is very famous in Germany and has even played in Hollywood with Harvey Keitel. And I felt like small, meaningless little Marco, directing this experienced and talented actor! But people had faith in us and trusted us, and after the scenes were shot many of the actors came to us and said that they had a great time and that they were very impressed by the way we work."
With the premiere date of March 29th fast approaching, NCC are still hard at work perfecting every aspect of the movie. "We actually celebrate our 10-year birthday at the Face To Face premiere, which is pretty much a coincidence," says Marco. "Then we try to send it to festivals and see how far it gets and what people say about the film. The main goal and probably the hardest thing to achieve will be to find a distributor for Face to Face on DVD. We will do an English-language alternate version and subtitles in several languages, as well as produce a Making Of we filmed throughout the production."
While we wait for the release, we will have to make do with the official Face To face website that accompanies the film. Eschewing the normal gimmickry for useful information, the site contains lots of behind-the-scenes info, interviews with the cast and crew and lots of production photos. The only drawback - for some of us - is that there is currently no English-language version. "I want to translate the site!" says Marco, "but currently none of us have the time to do so. But as soon as we find spare minutes we will translate the site for all our English-speaking visitors."
With Marco and NoControl Cinema moving bravely ahead into the unknown, what advice does he have for fellow AlamDV users wishing to follow in his footsteps? "Just do it! Moviemaking is a great hobby and a fantastic thing to do. Don't think you'll need a lot of money or expensive cameras or software! Just work with your imagination."
So what are you waiting for? Go watch Turicon, read some tutorials and make a movie!
In the words of Sollthar - "Don't worry if it doesn't always turn out how you wanted it to. Just try again, and again, because if you really use all your imagination, there is no limit."