Manuel Imboden is co-founder of Rise and Shine Films, where he works as a Producer and Account Manager. He was the producer of “Balloon” and also another mobile-shot short: “Nachtschicht” (“Night Shift”). In the interview that follows, he combines basic information valuable to a novice and insights into advanced filmmaking for those who want to produce works at the professional level.
MMM: Could you tell us something about Rise and Shine Films?
Manuel: We’re a boutique production company with four employees based in Bern, Switzerland.
MMM: How did your team get into filmmaking?
MMM: What kinds of films do you make?
Manuel: As a group of passionate filmmakers, we love nothing more than to make narrative, fictional content. But as it’s difficult to make a living off of filmmaking in Switzerland (like it is in most countries, I imagine) we run this client work business, which is the biggest part of our daily operation. We’re a full service production company, meaning that we take a project right from its development in the beginning all the way through production and post production to its finishing and delivery. Most of our projects are commercials and corporate videos for medium and large companies. So that’s what we do for a living, but whenever time allows we work on our own films, which, up to now, have been micro-projects—like “Balloon.” These take a few days to prepare for and just one or two days of shooting. Of course, we’d love to tackle a larger project, like maybe a somewhat longer short film or a mini series, but our company is a start-up and, as such, running it keeps us quite busy and our financial resources are limited.
MMM: Lack of money is a common problem.
Manuel: We all got into filmmaking with a low-budget, independent approach, and so this is the modus operandi that we are used to. Also, having limited resources keeps you looking for creative ways to solve a problem, which is good. So whenever we have some time on our hands and some uncommitted funds we can put into a project, we set out to make a film.
MMM: Is there an upside to making micro-budget films?
Manuel: Definitely. It’s that we can self-fund them completely, which saves us time looking for funding, which in Switzerland mostly works through public grants. Balloon was one of those passion projects, made for us rather than for a client. I came across the Ikan Fly competition and pitched it to the guys. Then Jackie, who is part of our team, came up with the the idea, so we asked her if she’d like to direct it and so that’s how Balloon came to be her directorial debut. With her background in Media and Communications, she takes care of everything related to PR and Social Media and assists me with marketing. As we all have multiple functions in our start-up company, she also acts as production assistant or B camera operator on our shoots, and is being trained in editing.
[Editor’s Note: You can meet Jackie in the “Balloon: Making of ” video.]
MMM: Have you shot mobile movies before?
MMM: So you’ve turned some negatives into positives. But are there any straight on benefits in shooting with a mobile device?
Manuel: True. But some will try to make comedies, dramas, and other genre productions. And all of those who try will either fail completely or produce something they’re not happy with in one way or another. But what happens next is important: Most will give up, but some will try again. And again. And again. And as FilmRiot’s Ryan Connolly has so eloquently put it: “Write. Shoot. Edit. Repeat.” This is the only way one becomes better at making films. Now you can say that’s cool and all but I still don’t see why this is important. Well, I’d say because of the crazy percentage of people that own or have access to a smartphone, many good storytellers will emerge, of which some eventually will find funding of some kind and be able to make films for the big screen or episodic content or whatever they want to make.