Space-Zoo

Lost in Space - bavarian sytle

All images (c) by Marco Meenen

The year 2030. Due to an operating error in the hyperspace module of the Bavarian space station “Stoiber”, the two astronauts Franz Daxenberger and Dirk Mandelbrot reach the planet Aldebaran 9, almost 23,000 light years away from Earth, where they and their station are put into a small enclosure of the city zoo. While Franz tries to get the station afloat again to return to Earth, Dirk sees this as the turning point in his career: the first contact of  a man with an alien species. The zoo administration, however, has completely different plans: since they think the two are males and females, they want to put the icing on the cake for the new attraction and make sure that the two earthlings repdoduce themselves…

Short Film 2001 / 15′ / CinemaScope
Written & Directed by
Actors: Elmar Wepper, Uwe Rohde, Michael Brandner
Production: T4-Filmproduktion / Claudia Gatzke

A co-production of T4-Film, HFF Munich, ARRI and Bayerischer Rundfunk
funded by FilmFernsehFonds Bayern

TV: Bavarian Radio, arte

Cinema: supporting film for “Vaya con Dios”, Senator Film

numerous festivals

Making of

Franz (eating his pill): Vanilla! Very resourceful your miracle! For example, if they let us down sausage, it'd be a miracle. With pretzels!

My graduation film “Space-Zoo” was extreme in every respect. The story takes two astronauts from a space station in orbit back to Earth via a zoo enclosure on a foreign planet. To be able to tell this, all sets had to be built from scratch. Since Roland Emmerich’s “Noah’s Ark Project”, no one had dared to do this in the context of a university film. When we finished with “Space-Zoo”, we knew why.

Especially the main set of the zoo enclosure presented us with almost insurmountable difficulties. That thing was huge. Fortunately, we had an abandoned exhibition hall in which we could set up this enormous set – but we had completely underestimated the dimension of the project. The equipment ate up our entire budget and ran so far behind schedule despite an army of volunteers that we didn’t spend the first day of shooting, but rather getting the first set reasonably finished. While I tried to keep my leading actors happy, our Special Effect Supervisor Jürgen Schopper applied patina in the spaceship with a small sponge. As soon as we shot it, however, we conjured pure cinema magic: an Elmar Wepper floating weightlessly through the spaceship, a Uwe Rohde making pantomimic contact with two aliens and both of them together, who finally dance waltzes in a space suit to cover up their escape. Without the generous support of the Magicon team that built and played on the aliens, ARRI, who provided us with equipment and 3D effects, Stefan Galleithner with a team that let the “Stoiber” fly, and an army of highly professional employees who struggled with the days and nights to somehow get it all done, I would never have managed it. I would therefore like to express my special thanks once again to this army.

As expected, this madness continued in postproduction, but somehow we finally got it finished, weightless, light, my first real “big picture”. As exhausting as it was, I would do it again immediately.