These will be the good old days,
when we are looking back in ten years.
Sir Peter Ustinov
An old age home or eldercare facility is a special kind of place. A place most people only enter if they have a really good reason - to visit a patient, to hold a job there, or if they themselves are in need of care. A nursing home or care facility confronts its visitors, as it does its residents, with themes of age, illness and death. Issues which can lead to heights of love or push one into deeper, darker areas. Ideas which can lead one to face the end of one's very existence.

One of the basic premises of our film is: whoever is afraid of death, is also afraid of life. And in our neighbourhood there was an elder care facility where we could pursue our ideas and make them into a film.

Why we improvise and what we understand that to mean.
Since 2000 we have jointly produced various improvised films and have continually developed our improvisational techniques and ideas. We have come to recognize that improvisation is seen to lead to a kind of accidental product. We would like to say clearly and straightforwardly that improvisation is both an art form and a craft for us. For us improvisation means a permanent involvement with the here and now, whether in the kitchen, on the stage, in music or in film. Improvisation requires an ability to relate to each other and at the same time to observe and see opportunity in our work. The interactions of jazz musicians makes that visibly clear: the teamwork of the musicians follows not only their intuition, but also clear rules, like the importance of accepting given ideas (or rhythms), and then to move beyond that into further areas of creativity.

For us - as small and independent film production companies - the improvisational process offers not only great creative potential but also the greatest economic opportunity. Thanks to the reasonable and inexpensive digital creative possibilities available, improvisation can be seen as a way of further simplifying work processes and making things more flexible. And we can realize films with a formerly unimaginable budget.

A further important feature of our work is the inclusion of amateurs, whose interaction with professional actors influences the creative process as does the use of existing, functioning real locations. In this way we enter the preparation for our projects in a similar way to documentary filmmakers, and we attempt to enter the world that lies before us. That leads to a disagreement with the central premise of a documentary film: how does one depict reality or truth? How far can we - as filmmakers - "dramatically" portray the real surroundings of real people? We visited our main shooting location, the Richard-Böttger-Heim in Mannheim, regularly for months, in order to build up some sort of trust in relationships, and at the same time, to learn how to understand the people who lived there. During these visits we could bond with our "amateurs actors", and begin to develop character roles and develop scenes. It was important to define that in the playing of their roles, these performers never had the feeling that they were playing themselves.

Our goal is to wed these documentary principles with those of filmic fiction and move towards telling stories in a new and truthful way.

With SO LONG, MY HEART! we'd like to continue our successful work, which we began with THE BUTCHER'S BRIDE and WHEN THE RIGHT ONE COMES ALONG.

Stefan Hillebrand und Oliver Paulus

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