Today we’d like to introduce you to Kathrin Asmus.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Kathrin. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I am a Writer/Director/Cinematographer from Austria. I was born in Vienna and grew up in very small town outside the city called Gießhübl. One of those typical suburban areas where everyone seems to know and observe everyone. Something I’ve never learned to enjoy. Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for everything that I was able to do prior my life in Los Angeles, but no matter how hard I tried I’ve always had a hard time fitting in and feeling comfortable in my own skin.
Growing up, I changed schools quite a few times, trying to find one where I’d feel at peace. I think my record year must have been 2016. In that year, I was part of three different picture days. The truth is, I was never big into hiding behind facades so I wouldn’t step out of line. I liked speaking my mind and doing things my way. Nevertheless, over the years I learned that it was just easier to do and say what people expected me to do and say. At least it seemed that way for a very long time. It wasn’t until I graduated from school that I realized how unhappy it had made myself.
Something that had always made me happy is photography, films and series. Especially photography has been one of my biggest passions since an early age. There is a lot of days from my childhood that I don’t quite remember but I’m never going to forget the day my dad bought his first digital camera. It brought me more joy than it did him. So much in fact, that I kept sneakily taking it so I could take photos. Eventually, he noticed and decided to give it to me for my birthday. The older I got, the more interested I became, not only in photography but also in filmmaking. It was my favorite little escape from reality. Soon enough, I got my first DSLR for my birthday, followed by a newer model years later and another years after that. With time passing by, I realized that this hobby of mine is something I’d like to do in the future, yet I didn’t know how to explain to my parents that I wanted to pursue it.
Therefore, not knowing what to study after graduating from school, I decided to go abroad to take a language course and do an internship in a non-profit company for new alternative energy. I still believe those six months were my key factor, my eye-opener, to finally going after what I want. Going to San Diego all by myself for the first time in my life really opened my eyes. It helped me understanding who I really am and what I want to do with my life.
Though, when I came back to Austria my confidence, as well as my courage to finally tell my parents that I want to study film quickly vanished and I fell back into old routines, not wanting to cause any drama. Trying to study something else, I started a few different studies, wasting time trying to find something else that I could like. Eventually, in 2016 I settled for marketing. My desire to get into filmmaking moved a bit into the background, yet it never went away. As it became something I just couldn’t ignore anymore, I finally admitted it to my parents in 2017. The same summer, I attended a filmmaking workshop in Los Angeles during my break. After this workshop, I knew nothing would ever go back to the way it was before. I had fallen deeply in love with the craft of filmmaking. While finishing my bachelor’s degree, majoring in marketing, advertising and event management, I as well signed up for our university tv team where I was able to be part of a couple of documentary projects.
Not even 24 hours after finishing my graduation exam, I took a plane to Los Angeles to start my filmmaking studies. As you can see, it took me quite some time to get to where I am now, but I know for sure now that I have made the right decision. Nothing makes me happier than being on set.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t believe that there is such a thing as a smooth road, there are always bumps to get to your goal and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I believe that mistakes or bad experiences make us wiser. They teach us lessons. Make us stronger. They shape us. If you don’t have any challenges or obstacles that you need to overcome and everything is always handed to you on a silver platter then you won’t be able to grow.
I think my biggest struggle so far has actually been myself. Kicking myself to accept that a normal office job isn’t for me. Kicking myself to be proud of my projects instead of being my meanest critic. Aside from that, the creative industry has many challenges, especially for us internationals. For instance, there’s a constant ongoing battle to keep our visa status afloat. Finding a manager or agent is as well an ongoing fight. And on top of all that things have become even harder due to the pandemic.
I’m sure there are many more struggles ahead of me but I’m very much ready to take them on and make the best out of it.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I’m a Screenwriter/Director/Cinematographer. Among those three, cinematography is probably my biggest passion due to my early found love of photography. In my opinion, there is just something magical about being able to use a camera as well as lights to explore the story in an even deeper sense. There is so many ways to underline dialog or subtly show what characters are going through. It fascinates and excites me.
I’m currently in my last semester of my filmmaking studies. During this time, I’ve written, directed and shot several short films. Some of them were my own projects, others from fellow classmates. My own work usually falls in the genre of dark comedy, thriller or horror. In my screenplays, I really enjoy exploring broken relationships and people that are a bit in a crisis and need to change or find themselves in order to find their way out of it. Along with that, I like mixing serious topics with a bit of humor to lighten everything up a little and to make it more relatable. I am currently working on my thesis project which as well falls in that category. It is basically a story about two sisters who had a fallout years ago and are now forced to reconnect due to absurd circumstances that have brought them back together again.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I would probably say that one of my proudest moments so far was back in 2018. As mentioned before, I did a summer workshop on filmmaking back in 2017. During that time, I had the chance to be the cinematographer of a short horror film called We Are All Here which was written and directed by my talented friend Lucy Luna. I have so many lovely memories shooting this one. We were basically just a bunch of newcomers trying things out and having a really great time together on set. Turns out what we all created together wasn’t only for our own enjoyment. It ended up winning six awards from big competitions (Los Angeles Film Awards, LA Short Awards, New York Film Awards, Festigious International Film Festivals, Top Shorts Film Festival and LAIFFA).
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