This week’s Featured Member is a 21-year-old filmmaker from Denmark named Maria Engermann. Maria is currently studying Multiplatform Storytelling and Production in Denamark, and recently submitted her first film to Zooppa for our Unilever Project Sunlight campaign. Check out her full interview!
What first interested you in film?
I’ve always loved telling stories. When I was little I made my own comic books about a little chicken named Anna, The Crazy Chicken. I made an Anna Universe where the funny (sometimes aggressive) little chicken went out on adventures. I sold the comics books to my friends for 5 Danish crones (0.7 cents), so I always loved sharing what’s on my mind during pictures, both still images and films. My education is my chance to make it all the way!
What drew you to the Zooppa community?
My teacher shared a link from Zooppa with our class, where the Zooppa Unilever Project Sunlight contest was about to begin.
What do you like most about crowdsourced film contests?
I love the fact that everybody got a fair chance. Depending on how much work you put into your film, the results reflect it. A friend and I put a lot of work into our film, “Opportunities for a Brighter Future!” and we are really happy and proud that we made it. The whole idea of a crowdsourced film contest is a win-win situation. The big companies are getting a nice, probably cheaper, custom-made commercial film, and all the private film creators have the chance to get judged on their work. Maybe they can even make some money out of it as well, so I really like the concept.
What do you like to do when you’re not creating video masterpieces?
I’m a very social girl; therefore I love spending time with my family and friends. In my private time I’m watching TV and films, going out to have a good time with some friends or spending a nice evening with my family. The most important thing for me right now is my moving from one apartment to another. So far I have been living in a room that was not mine. The girl who originally lived there is coming back from a half year of work experience. I can’t wait to have my own place, where I know I can stay for the rest of my education years. I’m looking forward to decorating the room and meeting my new roomies, two guys named Klaus and Mark.
Where is home for you?
Home is where I have my friends and family. It can be a lot of places and situations. Most of the time it’s in the city I grew up in, Ry. My mom, dad and brother are still living there. We have a nice little house in the woods where we are surrounded by nature. When it’s winter and the family is getting together on a cold winter day with the fire on and a nice meal, that’s home for me. When it’s summer and my family and I are eating breakfast outside in the sun; or when I’m at a summer party with my friends, playing beer bowling and having fun, that’s also home for me.
I don’t live in Ry anymore, but it’s the same in my apartment in the big city. Whenever I’m alone enjoying a quiet evening on my own with a film or inviting my friends over for dinner, that’s home too. Haha I know it sounds a little “too cute” but it’s reality. Of course there are also some bad days, but I really love my life and the people in it. Home is where I feel safe with my friends and family.
Where do/did you go to school? How has your education influenced your filmmaking?
I went straight from the gymnasium to my education. I go to this film school called Multiplatform Storytelling and Production in Denmark. I’m about to start my third semester and it’s all very exciting. I’m very lucky with my school, the teachers love doing something great for us students to help us. They have bought a lot of expensive cool film stuff like cameras, sound gear, a dolly and LED lights to build a little green screen room for us. It’s really amazing and the best part is that we can use it for free. That makes it possible for a girl like me to go out and make my projects a reality.
What/where do you find inspiration for your films? Share a bit about your creative process.
Usually I get my inspiration from my own life, especially my history and background (I’m adopted). Also, my dreams and what I believe in, my love life and stories of friends. Other times it is as simple as a walk alone around in the city or in the woods; just listening and watching everything that’s going on around you.
Which was your favorite Zooppa contest to participate in? Why?
Unilever’s Project Sunlight is the first Zooppa contest I participated in. I chose to try my luck with this one because I really liked the project and what Project Sunlight is doing for the world. They are right about the future; we have to act to create a brighter world for our children. The message is so good, and that’s why I thought to myself, “It wouldn’t hurt to try? I bet if we can come up with a good idea, we might have a chance. And even if we don’t win, it’s for the greater good”.
What are you currently working on (job, films)?
Right now my biggest project is participating in the Zooppa contest. It’s pretty crazy for my friend and I. We have worked so hard on our film and we are very excited about the whole thing! Besides that, a study friend and I also have to shoot some green screen footage with one of the nicest commercial companies in Denmark tomorrow! It’ s going to be grea, and I hope we can live up to the standard.
What are you hoping to achieve in the future?
My dream is to work with film and transmedia, maybe in the themed entertainment business. Maybe for Disney? That would be awesome! With a perfect childhood, the best friends and a lonely home with my mom, dad and brother, I’m the biggest fan of Disney and happy endings. I would love to design extraordinary experiences for children and their families. Giving people another experience, that’s an ordinary film.
Link us to any work/a portfolio that you would like mentioned.
As I said my biggest work these days are our film “Opportunities for a brighter future” for the Zooppa contest: