Close-up: An Interview With Lia Wilfing

Martin Monk’s short film, Favoriten, tells the story of Sofia (played by Lia Wilfing), a young woman who finds herself on an unlikely road trip with a middle-aged stranger (Christian Dolezal).

Lia Wilfing joins us on Close-up Culture to tell us more about the role, going to Cannes Film Festival, what sparked her interest in acting, and much more.

Q: You play Sofia in Martin Monk’s ‘Favoriten’. Could you relate to this character? Is that desire to leave things behind and escape something you could identify with?

A: Yeah. Sofia has a lot in common with me when I was fifteen, especially because I have also issues with my dad.

A month before we made the film, I experienced a similar situation where I grabbed my stuff and just wanted to leave. But, at the same time, I wanted to face my fears and my pain. This kind of reflective process is also quite connected to the development Sofia makes in the film.  

Lia Wilfing in ‘Favoriten’

Q: Martin Monk has experience working with young lead actresses from his previous short films. What was he like to work with? What type of director is he?

A: Martin is very precise and he knows exactly what he wants. He is very compassionate and has lots of patience.

On one occasion, the dialogue was very difficult for me and although we didn’t have time, Martin reacted with a lot of patience and gave me all the time I needed to get into the right mood.

We met often to talk about the role. He feels like a big brother with whom I can laugh and party with, and whom I trust. But at the same time, he is very focused and knows exactly his strengths.

Q: Martin Monk told me that he tried to keep a level of distance between yourself and Christian Dolezal (Michael) to help reflect the relationship between the film’s characters. How did you find your time working with Christian and capturing that relationship?

A: From the beginning, Christian and I were somehow totally connected with each other. Sometimes it felt like he was actually my father, haha. I was looking forward to seeing Christian on set every day as we always had fun with each other. Our good relationship simplified the work on set, because in the breaks we rapped all the time and had a lot of fun.

Besides that, I also learned a lot from him. We are both very crazy, which makes everything much funnier, haha!

Lia Wilfing and Christian Dolezal in ‘Favoriten’

Q: Do you have any fun memories from the shoot and filming this road trip story?

A: The first scene was just improvised and I love improvisation. We filmed it all morning, so many people really wanted to take me along [as a hitchhiker]. These were very confusing moments – for me and for them.

At another time, the police stopped us in the middle of the shooting. After convincing them that it was a film shoot, they did push-ups with me before they left.

Q: ‘Favoriten’ premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and is now set for a big festival run. How was your experience at Cannes?

A: Pretty cool. I’m really proud of that, although I find it really problematic that the festival is still sponsored by Nestle. I think we live in times where we should live more consciously, even if that means the loss of power and money. And artists and art festivals should stand in the front row and inspire people to look after the planet with all its creatures.

Generally, I do not like the fan attitude around movie stars, because I think they are only people who make the best out of their talents. I see that as the task of every human being. No matter their profession.

Nevertheless, it was very exciting to be there and to be able to experience so many cool movies.

Q: What has drawn you to acting and arts? Can you tell us more about your background and the type of projects that interest you?

A: Even as a child I loved playing something that I’m not. I have always enjoyed slipping into different roles to feel the emotions and play a character over several weeks, even if they were sometimes very damaging. It fulfilled me, especially the drama.

In fact, my relation to drama is very ambivalent – I love and hate it at the same time. But generally speaking, I’m interested in things that push me out of my comfort zone, things that challenge me, overwhelm me or scare and make me feel insecure. I would really like to act in some psycho shit, these movies really draw me in.

Q: A few quickfire questions for you: What is your favourite film?

A: Fuuuuck, I have so many: Blue Is The Warmest Colour, Requiem For A Dream, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Death Proof, Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, Sin City, Thirteen, Victoria and all Romero movies! Zombie movies are the best!

Lia Wilfing in ‘Favoriten’

Q: Who is your favourite actor?

A: I really don’t have one, but I like Tilda Swinton, Uma Thurman, Cate Blanchett, Saoirse Ronan and many more.

Q: Who is the director you’d most like to work with?

A: Gaspar Noé, Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez and many more…

Q: Where would you love to take a roadtrip to?

A: Venezuela, because some of my family lives there.

Q: Who/What inspires you the most?

A: Dan1k, my mom, people who live in the here and now with an open heart and accept and work with their vulnerability.

Q: Lastly, what is next for you? Any ambitions or plans to share?

A: I’ve just shot the short film by Hanna Mathis and now I’m going on vacation.

Title image by Lichterwaldt

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