Director, Producer, Editor & Writer Profile: Tim Graf
Tim is a Research Associate at the Institute of Religious Studies and the Collaborative Research Centre “Ritual Dynamics” at Heidelberg University. His research interests focus on transformations of Buddhism in contemporary Japan and more broadly deal with the interplay of religious practice and modern social change. He published several articles on changes in Japanese funerary practices and conducted fieldwork on Zen Buddhist prayer temples as a JSPS fellow at the University of Tokyo.
The idea of complementing his dissertation project with a documentary film by implementing methods of visual ethnography is inspired by Tim’s interest in new approaches of “Material Religion.” As a result, he started cooperating with friend and cinematographer Jakob Montrasio in 2010. Jakob and Tim had planned to deliver a documentary about Zen Buddhist prayer monasteries. However, after March 11, their documentary project turned more and more into a film about Buddhist responses to the largest natural and nuclear disaster in Japan’s recorded history.
Besides capturing rituals and events throughout the year 2011, Tim was accompanied by Jakob and Rüdiger Wolff for the main shoot in summer. Equipped with cameras, lenses, lights and sound gear provided by m&r Kreativ, the film crew spent several weeks together in Japan and again for the post-production in Germany.
Director, Editor & Cinematographer Profile: Jakob Montrasio
Jakob has been surrounded by art from young, in the form of writings, music, paintings and finally films. Watching the film Blues Brothers at the tender age of 10 further spiked Jakob’s interest into films. From then on, using his father’s camcorder, he’d spend hours shooting stop-motion pieces using nothing but Lego.
In 1998, Jakob submitted a short film with a digital spider to a national festival and won a small prize, which threw him onto the track of filmmaking. What followed were internships with photographers and an apprenticeship in Frankfurt focusing on Media Design, where he learned the tools of the trade – from image manipulation over camera aperture to 3D animation.
After visiting the Festival de Cannes in 2005, Jakob moved to Shanghai, China, and started to shoot. Within five years, Jakob not only worked for high profile clients such as Porsche, Dell and Microsoft, but also managed to open his own production company, MK Media Productions, write three feature film scripts, work on the big budget production JOHN RABE in the visual effect crew, and shoot his first feature film THE WAY OF THE SPUR. He is now living in Saarbrücken, Germany, with his wife Sijia and daughter Emily.
Producer Profile: Michael Zimmer
Assistant Director & Sound Recording Profile: Rüdiger Wolff
Rüdiger was born in Munich in 1968, and now lives in Heidelberg with his wife and daughter.
Various journeys to China and India made him develop a lasting interest in Asian culture and philosophy. He has had a lifelong passion for music and perfect sound quality. Rüdiger currently runs a software company.
Composer Profile: Thomas Henz
Born in 1980 and grown up near Frankfurt am Main, Germany, Thomas should have been majorly influenced by the electronic music scene in the area. Instead, he’s more the Rock ‘n Roll guy having being affected by anything from 70s and 80s Metal bands to today’s Indie-Rock formations.
Thomas studied information technologies and therefore…he’s actually an IT guy – but one with an unbreakable love for music and films. Having taken Piano lessons for over a decade it couldn’t have been a coincidence, that the very first CD he had chosen as a child was the Star Wars soundtrack and ever since has got stuck on music for film. Due to the fact he’s been running an online music magazine for several years now, all sorts of Pop, Rock and Electronica productions also take much influence in widening Thomas’ knowledge about contemporary musical styles.
Alongside the consumer part, Thomas has been creating especially piano driven musical performances for several years now is currently working on an original score for Jakob Montrasio’s movie “Shangdown: The Way Of The Spur”, which is considered to be the rebirth of the Spaghetti Western and starrs Italy’s first martial arts star Christian Bachini.