We were able to interview Alexander Ratter, a filmmaker who has made his career across Europe, the United States and South America. His achievements are remarkable and have attracted the attention of those interested in art cinema.
TOC - Where did you grow up and when did obvious passion for cinema begin?
I grew up in a little town south of Frankfurt and was already in high school passionate and on fire to be able to direct the theatre group in the first place. It was since I can remember my dream to become director or journalist as path to be imagined for me. After school I started to study theatre and film at university in Vienna and was lucky to become intern at Robert Wilsons work at Berliner Ensemble. It open a workday of intensity and preciseness I was impressed by. It is a unique journey I realized to be possibly be able to take part of and an outstanding process to be able to experience, sense and create in my personal way Burgtheater Vienna as Austrians national theatre was at that time opening up me to as my first important basis. Directly after Burgtheater, where I in total spent over 6 years from staring as intern and then becoming assistant director, till I finally directed there my first piece I directed in different other theatres in Germany and Austria. I was very lucky to learn so much about outstanding acting as well as being part of productions involving some of the best directors and actors in Europe in a central position of the team and supporting cast and core team in the development process that never the same. It allowed me to manufacture my own way of understanding theatre and the world of art, I later started to understand in the first place and looks much later as my own independent step of a way of self-education in the nest of this huge institution on highest level.
TOC – Are influences visible in your work?
I am influenced a lot by theatre in theory, state-of-the-art practice and theatrical thinking in a contemporary way and as well by its somehow cruelly stringent approach to allow relevant positions and pieces of art. My personal approach to as strictly and resonantly as possibly trust my intuition and inner processes is not possible without the years in theatre and in its practice I was experiencing. My aesthetics are influenced by years of photographical experimenting travelling lots of countries over years. I personally think my films are as well influenced by the classical outstanding filmmakers from Tarkovsky to Kubrick, from Polanski to Leos Carax and many more. For it counts to open up interpretations, allow discourses and be really vibrant with my work, and open this up with highest for me possible goals to the viewers.
TOC - What were your film studies?
I studied Theatre- Film- and Media science in Vienna, including courses at Filmakademie Wien, Film studies in Berlin as master and filmmaking at New York Film Academy. I was reached over the years by plenty of films that influenced me.
TOC - Are you interested in cinema as a business, as art, or some form of activism?
I founded Picco-Studio (www.picco-studio.com) to make the connection possible. We are a company with advanced standard to bring the best from arthouse together with the success of mainstream. I am trying to be part of the ongoing discourse in our society being relevant, yet I see myself not as activist to just be accelerator of one supported opinion. I try to widen the perspective of the audience, not manipulating them to adapt to something I want to push. I am not a megofan in my understanding.
TOC - What was the job that gave you the most satisfaction?
Directing is jumping from a cliff every day. It is the most challenging, demanding, cruelly judging on your own capability job, I ever had. It forces you to define all the time new your values, self-understanding and relevant criteria’s of responsible judgment new again and again. A refreshing ever fixable journey of challenge, adventure and change to going for.
TOC – Tell me how you finance your movies
We found two private investors for the company, search for one or two more and work with state funding as well as investors in the projects. As well we work with streamer and TV-Channels to finance the films and series.
TOC - Is there anything about Escaping the past that you need to explain?
The project is based on very personal experiences in the theatre scene and the unbearable fact that abuse of power - abuse and rape - is still happening in the scene disgustingly regularly, after all attempts and progress we had in the past.
It is a yet more classical narrated short film, in its overloading of the audience still experimental. I am very critical about this film, yet I think it is opening up a relevant topic in society. It is a film to talk about in its subject.
TOC - What are you working on right now?
I am working on my first feature „The heart of darkness“ to be shot in summer 24 as director, on two mainstream series based on real stories including billion dollar fraud and about my second feature „Caligula“ to be shot in summer 2025.
TOC - Do you have a feature film project?
The heart of darkness is pretty much an arthouse movie, filled with references, feature film as breath taking adventure of all senses. Caligula is a bit more mainstream, a political satire about recent society and political dystopian Vienna in an as utopia looking future of 2028.
What are your goals in cinema?
Picco-Studio is a life project for me. It is what I want my future with to enable myself to make the most outstanding projects state-of-the-art, with low power structures and on highest international level. I am happy to get in touch with everyone who wants to take part in any way, from intern to future investor or artist. Reach out to us!