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Watching his projects only once is almost unimaginable, because with each visualization you can discover something new, even a little detail that Kai Stänicke is able to hide in only a few minutes of video. But what’s impossible to hide are all the emotions that he conveys in every second. His stories pass as fleeting as a sigh, the kind of sigh that reveals the most important secret that we need to listen word by word. We have a talk with him to try to know more about these secrets.
When and how did you decide to center your career in audiovisual world? 
Film has always fascinated me since I was a little kid. I started doing small films with my uncle’s videocamera while I was at school, forcing all my friends to reenact films that I loved. I remember trying to create my own narratives back then, writing stories and experimenting with different filmmaking techniques, like stop motion. So it was a passion from very early on that got more and more intense over time. 
Why short films?
Short films give you a lot of freedom to experiment and learn. They help you to become more confident in your voice as a storyteller. Filmmaking is a complex process that takes lots of time and involves lots of people who all have an opinion and advice and critique and you need to believe in yourself and your vision throughout this process. Short films help you to grow and know what you're capable of. At the same time it's easier to try different things, to experiment with narratives and form. If you fail it's easier to get up and try again.
It is incredible all you convey in just three minutes in It’s Consuming Me. What are your tricks to be able to explain that much in that short time frame? 
Do it fast, that's the trick. With It's Consuming Me I wanted things to just fly by. I didn't really care if people get every shot and every meaning in it. In fact I wanted people to not get everything the first time they see it. I wanted them to get the overall picture, but I also wanted to create this feeling of “Wow, this is too much", of being a little overwhelmed. Because love (or in this case obsession) is overwhelming. So I tried to condense the whole thing, to just have the essence of this feeling. When we were in editing I was always like: let's try it shorter, let's do it faster. I wanted people to discover new details and meanings the 3rd or 4th time they watched it.

Your videos tell really close stories. Where do you get the inspiration from?
It comes from very different directions. I think every story has a bit of personal experience in it, at least to some degree. I try to tell stories that matter to me so naturally the issues they deal with are close to my heart.
You have won a lot of awards, some of them at LGBTQ festivals. Do you think queer relationships are being more accepted in the screen nowadays?
It depends from which angle you look. Queer themes on screen have a long history of being misrepresented. Queer characters were used as a comic relief or even portrayed as evil, dangerous. So things are changing in that sense. People are more interested and invested in queer characters and in telling authentic queer narratives even in mainstream media, for example in American television. I think it's got a lot to do with streaming services like Netflix and Amazon pushing into the market. It's gotten more competitive and people look for unique and new narratives that represent the times we live in. That's great but there's still a long way to go. Hopefully the success of shows like Transparent and Sense8 can pave the way for more authentic queer representation on the big screen as well. Also if you look at other countries, queer representation in mainstream television or cinema still remains rare.

Precisely in your last project, Golden, you talk about it. Why did you choose the golden colour to represent it?
It's a very banal story, really. The short originated from a trailer I did for the International Queer Film Festival Hamburg. It was their 25th anniversary and they asked me to do the trailer for the birthday edition. They gave me complete freedom with it, the only requirement was, that the colour gold should play an essential part, since all their artwork was gold that year for the anniversary. So I came up with this story about a boy growing up with golden skin and coming to terms with who he is. And while shooting I decided to make a longer version of the trailer as a short film.
You have also directed some music videos. Do you feel as confident when creating a video for a specific song? How different is the creative process?
I love doing music videos. You've got a song so the basis of your film is already there. I listen to it a million times and get inspired by it and look for my own take on the meaning and the mood of the song. For me it's important that the video adds another level to the song, offers a different approach. So I try to find that. I’m really lucky with the music videos I have done so far because I’ve had a lot of creative freedom. I really love the process and hope I will be able to do more of them in the future.
What project are you working on the moment?
Right now I'm working on an animation short called Pace. It's a parable about our current relation with time, how technology fastens our everyday life and we're left with the feeling of having less and less time. The animation process is very time consuming so we will need another 6 months to finish it. In the meantime I’m working on a feature script.
How do you see yourself in the future?
Hopefully with lots of films and lots of ideas for more films.

Lorena Jiménez
Kevin Nerlich (Kaizenkan)

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