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Filmmaker Profile: Max Heidenfelder & Anna-Lilja Häfele, Directors of Waiting (Deaffest 2011)

May 1, 2011

"Music is more than just an aural pleasure"

The music video for Frankfurt based band Breitenbach is like no other. The collective creating ability Max Heidenfelder and Anna-Lilja Häfele have resulted in a music video which is as accessible to the hearing as it is to the deaf or hard of hearing. With the use of four deaf performers convert the English lyrics into German sign language (DGS).
 Across the top of the frame there is the music each instrument is playing and across the bottom, able to follow the beat of the song.

 “We want to rock, we want to be heard–‐through ears and eyes,” states Toby Breitenbach, singer of the band. “And we wanted to give access to our music.”

The project was Max’s final project as part of his film course. He teamed up with Lilja who has worked on various sign language projects prior to this one. She has a great interest in music and sign-language and has previously produced material for D-Pan, a deaf professional artist network in the US.

Being a hearing man, Max faced prejudices with people not believing he could create this piece of work or that it was aimed at too small an audience. Overcoming these doubts, the pair have been able to create a masterpiece which will be the start of many.

 Max & Lilja:  “This won´t be our last signed project! This was a first test for us as a team and for projects of this kind. We gained a lot of experiences that we now have to evaluate. We allowed ourselves a lot of creative latitude with ‘Waiting’. To try things out, make some mistakes and learn from it.”

Nominated for Best Experimental at this years Deaffest (2011).

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