Dieter Michael Grohmann
Joining us in The Green Room today is a filmmaker we met back in Brussels in 2019. Dieter Michael Grohmann, thanks so much for joining us!
DMG: A pleasure to be here Dan.
Back on the night we first met you told me you had been up since 5am on a shoot, down on a beach with lots of logistical plans to take care of! How do you prepare for this and can you tell us more about the shoot itself?
DMG: Yes, that is right. The preparation is done quite strategically. See that my professional background is lawyer and marketing/advertising expert. So timing is key. Therefore I prepare precise time tables (call sheets) that are easy to understand for everyone on the team. A reminder system on top and voila: it works.
The shoot itself went quite smooth as the location scouting was done very accurate. The neighbors were informed that 2 guys with guns would run around. So reason for panicking. On the beach everything went smooth. On another shooting day though we had quite some problems with the management of a hotel which we wanted to use. No one felt responsible, did not remember the preparatory talks and agreements and finally took the bureaucratic approach of “as long as emails are not counter confirmed by the top management , they can only give us a 10 minute slot for a space of 3 meters etc. In the end we arranged on the spot an alternative location and ‘Hasta la vista, baby’.
As well as films you also film business seminars, do you enjoy the balance between capturing art and business?
Business conferences, seminars and meetings is income, art is my life. The first finances the second. If some might remember my art that is great. The other is just state of the ‘art’ like television. Nothing special.
When it comes to artistic films do you have a preference? You have filmed documentaries, shorts, music videos?
The moment it gets me to the edge of the seat, it is mine. In life it is not about how many breaths you take, it is about the moments that take your breath away. That is life, that is my preference.
Tell us about your journey into film and what inspired you?
My family sort of has an artistic background and then again not. What does this mean? One of my grand grandfathers was a sculptor, a granduncle was a cinema entrepreneur and even my father was as a child in the Viennese Boys Choir. The other ancestors where in business or banking. Still: Art was always regarded as a hobby, something nice, but nothing real. More a pipe dream or a child play, not a serious business. Of cause people like Karajan (conductor) or painters like Klimt are great. But this is for them not for ‘us’.
After graduation from high school I had the idea to enlist with one of the famous Austrian theater/acting schools. Hell broke lose and the family already saw me as a hobo living under the bridge. At that time I was not ready to fight that, so I studied and graduated in law school (Austria) and management (Switzerland). After years in city marketing, as an communication guy, spin doctor in politics I finally had my artistic coming out. I took private courses for film making and finally enlisted for a intensive education at the New York Film Academy in NY. It took me another 10 years till I moved on from the business films to art for real. You cannot cheat on destiny. You might blend it off for some time, but not eternally. So here we are today with more than 125 awards won for my short films of the last 5 years and the Cross of Honor for Science and Art of the Republic of Austria.
Oh, by the way: for me short films are an art form of it’s own. Like a poem is not less important than a novel because it is shorter or a small painting is less as it is smaller than a big or a song versus an opera. Every art form has its format, every story has its duration (and should not be inflated just for the sake of having a feature or so).
Much like our festivals your work takes you all over Europe! Is there a particular city other than Vienna that you love to spend time in? Or is there no place like home?
Well, somehow: wherever I lay my head that’s my home. Yes, I love Vienna, but also very much the City of Angels (L.A.) or the Big Apple (N.Y.); Paris, Brussels, Salzburg, in fact Europe … You know what: the whole world is a great place to live and tell stories.
What's next for you with regards to films?
For the time being I am involved in the creation of a (mini) series dealing with Virtual Reality (by writer/director Dan Thorens), preparing my next short set in the art world of painters and I am writing 2 feature scripts (one about the adventures of my aunt during the last days of World War 2 running away from the Russian invasion to Austria; and one about what is happening right now during the time of the corona lock down). Having said this, let’s see how things evolve after the pandemic panic.