Almost Home

The Future Talks to Today Part 2

Short listed for the 2023 Oscar, ALMOST HOME is a futuristic sci-fi short film with moral resonates today, responsibility for a life and death decision.

An interview with Producer Jonas Lembeck.

Almost Home

A sci-fi short film, not an easy assignment, why did you decide on this one project? Where there times you had to say, “NO”?

When Nils pitched me the idea for the first time, I was amazed by the concept of setting a coming-of-drama in space. I liked the idea of telling a story about isolation and growing up in this contained environment. The genre elevates the dilemma very well for me. So, for me, it was not a Covid film. It poses a broader question of what a life worth living is. I guess everyone made his own opinion about that during the pandemic and probably everyone went through this. Therefore, I thought this is the right film at the right time and we must shoot this. After the decision was made to engage as a Producer it became clear instantly that this project won’t be easy to realize and we`ll have to overcome some obstacles. This is by the way also a reason I decided on ALMOST HOME: I really liked that this idea was ambitious and not an easy assignment, but I believed in the visuality as well. During the whole production & postproduction, we always had to find creative ways to work around and deal with the limited resources we had. For example, we couldn´t afford to rent a proper stage to build up the spaceship and shoot. We rented an old hall in Munich, Germany that was used by wastewater management before. So we had some issues with the smell but it fitted the budget. I remember me and some members of our production crew standing on the roof of this hall covering the roof, so it gets dark in there. When it comes to saying “NO” I have to admit that this was part of the daily work, but I am not a fan of just saying “NO”. For me, it is more of a discussion about what exactly we need and there may be some ways to work around it. It was the top priority in this project (maybe with every project but especially here) to find the very best balance between creative needs and our resources. In the end, it was an amazing team effort and so many team members really gave a lot for the film. Our cast & crew and partners made this possible. I am super grateful for that!

A genre known for mega budgets, where you a nervous about how the film would look and the comparisons?

Sure, Sci-Fi is known for mega budgets. For me ALMOST HOME is kind of more a grounded Sci-Fi film. It is an honour to be shortlisted as one of the first Sci-Fi shorts among these other great filmmakers. As I said for us as a team it was a challenge to make this happen. I would lie if I were saying their haven´t been times when I was thinking about decisions more than twice. I am still happy that we were able to attach such great partners like ARRI and our film school in Munich who trusted in the creative vision as much as we did. Also, I discussed decisions with our Executive Producers Philip Hofmann and Robert Richarz from my company lehof.

What type of interaction did you and Nils have on this project?

Almost Home

We both met each other at film school. ALMOST HOME was our first project together. Nils and I share the same vision of projects we want to realize, also when it comes to what we want to shoot as our next movie. During the last two years realizing ALMOST HOME, we have been working together shoulder to shoulder. This was quite an intense journey. As you can imagine we believed in the same creative vision and part of the work as Director-Producer-Duo was always to align everybody on this vision. I really like the way Nils works he is very clear about his creative vision and at the same time, he is very pragmatic and always hands-on and open-minded to find solutions. That’s what I meant with “there was no simple ‘NO’”. Even though everybody has his principles we always tried to balance decisions to find the perfect solution without losing the underlying creative vision of course. I think we complement very well in many aspects so that’s why we currently developing the next projects together.

Do you have a rule for filmmaking?

I think I don’t have this ONE rule. What I´ve learned again while producing ALMOST HOME and what kind of speaks for the project is the importance of TRUST. For me, every step builds on that, and trust must be the foundation, especially for ambitious projects. As simple as it sounds: Trust in the creative vision, trust your team and your partners and of course vice versa.

Check out the interview with director Nils Keller.

Almost Home is short listed for the Academy Awards.