The Story Behind “Paul’s Grandpa”

Producer Ove Sander treats audiences with a heartfelt story that is sure to bring a smile to the faces of anyone who watches it. The short-film “Paul’s Grandpa” is the story of a small boy who wants to have a grandpa and he makes his wish come true.In this article, Sanders gives us his thoughts on the film and what it means to him to be part of the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival:I came up with this idea because I have been fascinated by the power of imagination and fantasy that kids use when they play and the way they interact with us adults. Sometimes we manage to play along but sometimes we cannot or do not want to share their vision. I believe that this imagination can make a lot of things happen. That’s what the film is about.Currently, I am working as a filmmaker – specializing in camerawork. Before I started studying film at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne, Germany, I had worked as a freelance camera-assistant on various projects. By working for very experienced DOPs during that time, I learned what it means to tell stories and emotions through images. “Paul’s Grandpa” has been the first fiction that I have both directed and also worked as DOP on. That’s why this project is so important to me.People usually say that working with children and animals is most challenging – well, for “Paul’s Grandpa,” the “grandpa” was especially unpredictable because it was very fragile. We had a total of three different “grandpas” that were used in the different scenes. The head was especially difficult to work with when we did close-ups. We had four operators using remote controls to control small motors inside the character. For all the scenes with the “grandpa” and Paul the timing of the movements was critical. All scenes were shot in real-time, and no computer generated images were used.The film reaches a wide audience. Recently we were awarded “best short” by a children’s jury at a festival – they especially liked that no computer animation was used in our film – we were all very proud about that. In this film I think that I have learned that a simple and clear story is most important for the film – especially in a short film. It has little dialogue and story is told clearly with powerful images. I believe that the way that we did the film tricks, not using aiming at perfect illusion but rather using simple but charming techniques, leaves more room for the audience’s imagination and can be more authentic.I was very excited to be able to have “Pauls Grandpa” as part of KIDS FIRST! Film Festival. As part of a traveling festival, the film has the opportunity to reach audiences in different parts of the country. I am especially proud that the last children’s film that I worked on as a DOP (Tanzmause – Dancing Darlings) has already been part of the festival and was nominated Best Short in 2006. It’s great to be back.You can see a clip of “Paul’s Grandpa (aka Paul’s Opa) online at http://www.kidsfirst.org/detail/207400.html.

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