LISA Brühlmann’s debut feature Blue My Mind tells the story of a teenage girl who begins to transform into a fish. To learn more about this surreal tale of teen angst, James Prestridge of Close-up Culture caught up with Lisa to talk about the film’s metaphor, her young cast and her transition from acting to directing.
Q: I am very excited by the trailer for Blue My Mind. What led you to this story? Did it come from a personal place?
A: MIA is a fictional character but of course I put a lot of emotional and personal experiences that I had as a teenager into her. It is a mixture of shame, being introverted and angry – all at the same time.
Sadly, young women often tend to be self-aggressive when they feel like that. These are feelings I know very well from when I was a teenager myself. But I also try to be personal with the male characters and truly ask myself how they would feel and where the connection is between me and that character.
Q: The film deals with adolescence and body transformation. Can you tell us why you chose the metaphor of the fish and the associations that come with it?
A: I HAVE always been fascinated by fantastic creatures from mythology. I think it is interesting that some of them reappear in various cultures, independent of time and place. These characters exist in our collective subconscious. So this idea just came to me – it was an intuitive process and felt right from the first moment onwards.
Q: This is a terrific young cast led by Luna Wedler and Zoë Pastelle Holthuizen. What appealed to you about these two actors and what were they like to work with?
A: LUNA and Zoe had a supporting role in Amateur Teens. I saw them and absolutely wanted to get to know the two of them. Nevertheless, we have cast a lot of teenagers, about 300. But Luna stood out from the beginning and we soon realized that she had to play the role of Mia. It was the same with Zoe – she was just perfect for her part.
Luna’s personality was similar to Mia’s. She also had the ability to completely throw herself into the scenes, something I had rarely seen before with actors, especially not at that age.
The shoot was intense and exhausting for the young actors. But now they are proud of their performances and they know it was well worth the effort.
Q: Blue My Mind is your first feature. How have you found the transition from acting to directing and how was the experience of making your first feature?
A: SHORTLY after drama school, I had many opportunities as an actress but I quickly felt a desire to tell my own stories instead. One of the main reasons was that the scripts I read did not really blow me away, and I thought – was that all?
On top of this, on set I often felt like a puppet. The more I was on set and saw different directors at work, the more I thought that I could do it too – and I thought about how I would stage it myself.
After a while, I decided to finally just do it. I made a short film and I realized that it was fulfilling. I like to be involved in the whole process giving space to my voice as an artist. Making my first feature movie was a satisfying experience. Finally, I am where I always wanted to be.
Q: Is there a message, particularly for young women, that you want the audience to come away with after watching your film?
A: TO reconnect with your true nature, your powerful force and to free yourself from the constraints of society. To go your own way and to love yourself even if you are different.
Q: What is next for you?
A: I AM working on several projects for new features and series which are in an early stage. Right now I am directing two episodes of Killing Eve (Season 2) and this is so much fun!