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FILM SCREENING AND Q&A
"HOMME LESS" BY THOMAS WIRTHENSOHN
WEDNESDAY SEP 02, 07:30 PM
directed by Thomas Wirthensohn
Both director and leading actor will be present at the ACFNY screening.
Mark’s life stands as a metaphor for the struggle of the vanishing middle class in America. But it’s also a film about the relationship between New York City and one of its residents. New York is not simply a beautiful backdrop for this story. She’s the antagonist that dictates the direction Mark’s life is going in. The joy and pain, the love and hate, the success and denial New York is teasing him with, the hardship he is going through in order to stay in her grace and the inventiveness he comes up with to be with her are all unique.
Mark walks the streets of Manhattan looking like a millionaire, wearing designer suits and expensive leather shoes. He seems to be well off, and works in the prestigious fashion and movie business. He is eloquent, charming and good looking, and obviously has a lot going for him. But while during the day he pursues a ‘normal’ life, late at night he goes to a place where the American Dream has turned into a nightmare.
Thomas Wirthensohn was born and raised in Austria, Thomas traveled the world as a successful fashion model but it wasn’t until he stepped behind the camera that he found his true passion. Now based out of New York, Thomas captures the faces and places that inspire him most with a documentarian’s eye. As a photographer, director/cinematographer and video editor, his unique style supports brands to better tell their stories. His clients include Pierre Cardin, Instyle Magazine, New York City Ballet, Facebook Inc. and The International Culinary Center. Recently, Thomas founded Schatzi Productions, a one-stop production company for all of his creative ventures.
INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR THOMAS WIRTHENSOHN
New York, September 1, 2015
I heard that you filmed over 300 hours of footage for the movie. how did you go about in the editing process, how did you select the parts that were shown? Even though there does not seem to be a clear chronological or other order, there is a clear suspense and it is never boring.
HOMME LESS is my first feature documentary and having shot 300 hours of footage to edit was quite intimidating at first. Editing is a very fascinating and at least for me a very intuitive process. I knew which story I wanted to tell. It was a matter of putting it all together so it made sense and gave the film a certain dynamic that suits Mark’s character. It was a long and difficult but also very rewarding journey. Kyle Eastwood’s beautiful original jazz score that he composed and performed together with Matt McGuire gave the film the tone and rhythm I was looking for. My goal was to make a poetic film that engages and inspires its viewers.
How did you win Mark’s trust in the first place to let you in on his secret? Were you the only person that knew?
Mark and I go back a long way. We met in the late 80s in Vienna where we were modeling for the same agency. We kept in touch over the years and when I moved to New York we reconnected. Catching up in a fancy bar I asked him where he lived in the city and then he told me his story. One week later we started shooting. Only a few of his closest friends knew about his situation.
Were there any self-attempts in living on a NYC rooftop for a small amount of time?
Fortunately I haven’t yet been in the situation where I had to find a roof for myself but like so many now who live from paycheck to paycheck to come up with rent in at the end of the month can get tight in this expensive city.
Even though the movie tries to explain Mark’s reasoning, it does not become quite clear why he submitted himself to that ordeal for such a long time. Ok, he had bedbugs in the beginning, but after a while it seems it would have been possible for him to take the little money he earned and move into a cheap shared apartment somewhere in Queens for example - and commute, like thousands of other poor New Yorkers do. What, do you think, were the motives that made Mark do what he was doing for such a long time?
Mark's choice is certainly unusual but in order to sustain his life style in the city he loves he found this to be a good solution for him. It is also a way of rubbing his nose at the system and not to be kicked out of a nice neighborhood by constantly rising costs for rent. Something that happens to people in New York City all the time.