For those who speak German, they know the title "Hell" is doubly appropriate for director Tim Fehlbaum's first feature film, set in a post-apocalyptic near future.
Switzerland native Fehlbaum, who studied film in Munich, explained during an interview Friday at the Hamptons International Film Festival headquarters at , that, in German, the word hell means "bright" or "overexposed." In the film he co-wrote with Thomas Wöbke and Oliver Kahl, climate change has turned Earth into a scorched world and civilization has collapsed. “People don’t go out anymore without covering their skin," Fehlbaum said, and food and water are scarce.
“It’s a very personal movie," the director said. "It's not your typical disaster movie."
The film is executive produced by Roland Emmerich, a disaster movie veteran who directed "Independence Day," "The Day After Tomorrow" and "2012."
Fehlbaum said what sets his film apart from others in the post-apocalypse genre, is it does not show broad perspectives, such how the government is dealing. “It's only told through the eyes of one young woman.”
The film also has raw visuals and a new style, and playing with shadow and light, he said.
Central character Marie goes to great lengths to find her sister, Leonie, after she is kidnapped during a journey to find water.
The film is in German, with English subtitles for American audiences.
“When the trailer hit the net in Germany, they thought 'Oh no, not another German horror movie,'” Fehlbaum said, explaining that Germans wanted to leave horror to the Americans. But, especially after the subtitled trailer was released, Fehlbaum said, eventually potential audiences realized this while the film has some scary elements, it is truly a character drama.
The film was funded almost entirely by the German government, with private investors and television stations chipping in, Fehlbaum said, explaining how the German cinema world differs from Hollywood.
"Hell" screens Friday, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. at and Saturday at 10:30 p.m. at in East Hampton. Click here for tickets.