Written, Produced and Directed by Lise Raven
Award-winning filmmaker Lise Raven, one of the founders of the Slamdance Film Festival, returns to the 2014 Festival with her feature film, KINDERWALD. Uniquely designed as her second film in THE KINDERWALD TRILOGY with a running time of eight-six minutes. Her first film Neighbors was completed in April 2013 with a running time of eighteen minutes. Raven's film trilogy is inspired by fairy tales about children lost in the woods.
Raven's acclaim is in part due to her love of research on topics that expand her horizons as a filmmaker and script writer. Her findings allow for her material to hold captive an attentive film audience. While reading a book by Bruno Bettelheim, "The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales," she learned that children use fairy tales to process their fears in hopes to be better prepared for what lies ahead for them in the future.
Raven, knowledgeable of Aristotle's philosophy that society needs to watch tragedies as a way to purge unhealthy emotions of fear and pity, birthed her film trilogy featuring these concepts. Raven explains, "Inspired by fairy tales for children, I wanted to create a set of films for adults." Fairy Tales for Adults that could be used to purge themselves of fear and pity brought on by modern city living. Adults then could be better prepared for future experiences.
Using no interior shots and very little dialogue Raven creates a chilling story of children lost in the woods. One key component in a concerning mood Raven would create is her use of the sound design. "I wanted the sound design to communicate the inner life of the characters," she notes.
Again, the expertise on research opens exciting possibilities for her outdoor filming project. An article written about the Sound Design on Terrence Malick's 1978 film Days of Heaven, talked about "Psycho Acoustic Nature Recordings" - field recordings of nature sounds that had been blended into the soundtrack. Raven notes, "I was able to dig up copies of field recordings and get permission to use them for what I needed. The incredible thing is that they were recorded in the early 1970s in the fields and forests one hour from where we filmed." Still amazed she adds, "We were able to use the sound of our actual location, forty years before we filmed." Obviously, there was less noise and pollution in that era. Key to identifying life in the 1850s.
The folk story about The Lost Children of the Alleghenies, two young children who were lost in Western Pennsylvania in the mid-19th century was the backdrop for Raven's KINDERWALD.
German immigrants, John (Frank Brueckner) and Flora Linden (Emily Behr) with two young active boys, Georgie (Ludwig Fischer Pasternak) and Caspar (Leopold Fischer Pasternak) begin a new life in America, the land of opportunity. In 1854, John purchases land in the woods of Western Pennsylvania to begin carving out a homestead for the young family.
John, Flora's brother-in-law feels the weight of responsibility to care for his relatives since the passing of his beloved brother who was Flora's husband. John has nothing in common with his adopted family but works long hours in town to provide for the clan. John is often frustrated that his responsible character has put his own life on hold. Flora, a woman of faith, is very grateful for John's obligation. She understands his discontent and works hard to be the best sister-in-law possible under the circumstances. John, a man of no faith, is haunted daily with his obligation and tries to put-off his selfishness for the sake of his nephews. Boys whom he dearly loves.
Georgie and Casper love to explore the woods at their doorstep. A child's paradise full of adventure. Boundaries are set by Flora and John to not venture too far from their campsite, and the boys honor their elders wishes. Sadly, one amazingly beautiful day of adventure calls the boys deeper into their woods than normal and they do not return home.
Flora and John worry when the boys are not in their beds come morning. The neighboring community steps in to help the young couple. As time passes they suspect the young foreigners with foul-play. An attitude that creates fear inside both John and Flora. A mysterious brutal attack frightens the young couple. John and Flora must put their differences aside in order to keep the hope alive that the boys are alive and waiting to be found.