Knucklehead’s latest signing on finding escapism in Lynch and Kubrick while growing up in the sleepy town of Belleville-sur-Saone
Growing up in the slumberous French town of Belleville-sur-Saône, Fanny Hoetzeneder sated her boredom by escaping into the rich worlds created by Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch. It wasn’t until she received her first camera from her step-father that she realised she could be making films rather than just watching them.
At 18, she moved to the UK to study filmmaking at the London College of Communication, where her graduation film ‘Belleville’ ended up premiering on Nowness.
After graduation, Fanny joined Knucklehead as a creative researcher. After three years her moxie and talent became evident. They officially signed her to the roster in December 2017.
LBB’s Liam Smith caught up with her to find out what life was like in the sleepy town of Belleville-sur-Saone and to get some insight into her recent music video for Turtle’s ‘Bloodtype’.
LBB> Can you tell us a bit about your childhood? Where did you grow up and what kind of kid were you?
Fanny Hoetzeneder> I’d say my childhood was very inspiring but not in obvious ways. I grew up in a small country town called Belleville-sur-Saône (near Lyon) and let’s just say it was pretty boring… It should win an award for being the most mundane and average place ever! So, as a teenager who was watching Lynch’s Lost Highway and Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey on VHS, film became my escapism. People like to remind me how bizarrely quiet and observant I was as a kid; I was living with my Austrian dad while my French mum lived in London with my step-dad - who’s a photographer and was also the most creative person I knew. He gave me my first camera and that opened the door to photography. I began turning the camera on Belleville and its normality, and – I guess – that was my first step into filmmaking.
LBB> Was filmmaking always something you always wanted to do?
FH> I decided to get into ‘cinema’ when I was 16. At the time I was studying a scientific baccalaureate to become a biochemist or something like that. I think one day I just freaked out, realising that what I was going to do for the rest of my life needed to be something I loved, and something that moved me. So, I decided to jump lanes to a more creative field. I realised it was going to be filmmaking when I started taking pictures of intimate moments with friends and family and also after I started watching more and more movies that were incredibly visually crafted and philosophical.
LBB> Your music video for Turtle is a joy to watch. Really peaceful and dreamlike, despite what’s going on! What inspired the promo?
FH> Thank you! The fact you describe it as peaceful makes me smile because I can’t believe we made it feel that way from filming one of the most unpredictable and chaotic things I’ve ever experienced!
I was always curious and fascinated about the drifting community - when growing up in Belleville I can remember seeing young guys doing up their cars, hanging out in car-parks and driving up the main strip. I never fully understood it, but I guess it was their escape like film was mine. When I came across Jon Cooper (Turtle)’s hypnotic track I was immediately back in that world. We couldn’t afford to return to France, so I guess the video is in some ways an ode to those boys and their smoky, underground and neon world.
Lastly, the other aspect that attracted me to this world was how this hidden and illegal activity took place in such a mundane setting, like a B&Q car park. It makes these places feel important and dreamlike which is surreal. As the day tuned into night the setting feels more and more disconnected to the real world.
Fanny Hoetzeneder - Turtle - Bloodtype (Feat. Eliza Shaddad) from Knucklehead on Vimeo.
LBB> And you recently signed to Knucklehead. Why were they the right fit for you?
FH> I’ve been part of the Knucklehead family for a while, just not as a director. My first job in the industry was working for them as a creative researcher three years ago, so there was a natural development. As I took my first steps into directing they showed a lot of support and faith in me. I don’t know how but I must have pulled off something cause they offered to sign me while finishing the music video for Turtle. I love the team and it felt like the right and natural choice to join them in this new role. It’s really exciting!
LBB> What other projects that you’ve worked on are you most proud of?
FH> I guess it would be my graduation film, Belleville, which we did just four years ago. The shoot was a week long, shooting at 4am in crazy places like junkyards in Surrey, a retirement bungalow park, an industrial harbour… We had to dig up 6ft deep holes at night for a scene, push a car that broke down in the middle of night, strap the DoP in the boot of car to shoot a tracking scene of a skater… it was mad and I can’t believe all the first-time things as students that we achieved. From fund-raising on Kickstarter to having a Nowness premiere. It really was a building experience.
Fanny Hoetzeneder - Belleville from Knucklehead on Vimeo.
LBB> Where do you draw your inspiration from?
FH> I’m influenced by photography in all my film projects. I always try to capture this feeling a photograph gives you: a feeling of time and space which allows you to observe and explore the frame and its contents for what they are, and ultimately allows you to find a meaning with a feeling rather than a fact.
For Belleville, photographs from Gregory Crewdson and Philip-Lorca DiCorcia were the manifesto. For the commercial I did with FCB Inferno for Valspar paint, the portraiture of Hannah Starkey was the inspiration when building up the shortlist.
Fanny Hoetzeneder - Valspar - How Did I Get Here from Knucklehead on Vimeo.
LBB> Outside of work, what do you like to get up to?
FH> Going to the cinema mostly. And taking pictures of trips. Unpredictably, I do some yoga and watch Netflix. Seeing Canadian DJ Jayda G when I can. I always seem to find some flat DIY to do too.
LBB> What are your plans and goals for 2018?
FH> The plan is to go with the flow! At the moment I’m in process of doing a short film for Random Acts. Essentially, I’d love to get stuck into loads of filmmaking! Get involved in beautiful and meaningful projects, work and meet young artists for music videos, meet talented creative individuals and also expand my commercial reel.