On June 11th, with the collaboration of Goethe-Institut Finnland, the participants of the Academy of Moving People & Images took part in a masterclass by director Nora Fingscheidt. During the class, Nora showed us a few clips of her first feature film, System Crasher (Germany, 2019) which is being screened today at the Midnight Sun Film Festival in Sodankylä. She also talked about child acting and her experience in directing children.
Fingscheidt understood early on that she wanted to make films but didn’t know at first how to get into the business. After finishing school, she studied several interesting subjects at the Freie Universität Berlin. She got into film through filmArche, a film school founded by a non-profit organisation to offer film training outside the official educational system. She also made her first short films there.
Fingscheidt trained as an acting coach, working as a production manager and an assistant director before starting directing studies at the Film Academy Baden-Württemberg. Her diploma film was the documentary Without This World (2017), depicting the life of Argentine Mennonites. During her exchange student year in Argentina, Fingscheidt had met a girl from the Mennonite community and returned to the topic years later. Mennonites live simple lives without modern technology. For two months, Fingscheidt lived in the community to gain access to their lives and to create trust with the community members. Without This World won several awards, including Best Documentary at the revered Max-Ophüls Preis.
In her short films, Fingscheidt has depicted difficult family dynamics and tearing of old wounds. In Syncope (2010), a family’s carefully maintained facade cracks during the daughter’s engagement party, and Brüderlein (2012) is a story of a young woman who, after her father’s death, learns that she has a half-brother.