Space Weather

Leopold Hotz

Hochschule Darmstadt


B.A.: Motion Pictures, Film

The bachelor project “Space Weather” is a 15-minute long short film drama, which shows the young scientist Claire, 29, who is in a rigorous selection process for a future space mission. The demanding training and education are not leaving her unaffected; she starts to notices the physical and mental exhaustion clearly. A downward spiral of health begins, and it’s only a matter of time until Claire has to make the most important decision in her life. The bachelor-team behind “Space Weather” consists of Leopold Hotz (directing & writing), Clara Dörholt (production & set-design) and Maxim Kuznetsov (camera & editing). Shooting & Locations “Space Weather” was financed with grants from the HAB-graduation funding, as well as funding from the regional film commission HessenFilm and Medien, a crowdfunding and private financial means. The film was shot in a total of 9 days with shooting mostly taking place in the area of Bad Kreuznach, where the “Rotenfels”, a high cliff surrounded by forests, steep paths and other interesting features, gave the setting for the training the aspiring astronauts have to go through in the story. Further shooting took place at the Frankfurt Airport for a rocket-launch scene, Darmstadt’s Darmstadtium, which got dressed as a space organisation’s headquarter, and the Virtual Production Studio “Rising Phoenix” for a scene in space, which is also located in Frankfurt. Production Challenges The team learned a lot during the production. It was the first time for cast & crew to make use of the technology “Virtual Production” (VP), which meant there had to be some preparations made beforehand. With this technology a LED wall was utilised to display pre-generated backgrounds. Together with the in real-life built interior of a space station and the tracking of the camera through sensors in the studio, a realistic effect and blend of generated and real elements was achieved. For the shooting days in the Darmstadtium and surrounding locations, the focus was on the larger scale production design, such as fully decorating the headquater and Claire’s office, her flat and the training hall of the astronauts. To immerse the viewer into the world of the space industry, a dominant production design was prepared and used, such as flags, shirts and jackets, stickers and banners. For the first shooting day, an observation point at the Fraport, around 30 background actors supported the production. The most challenging part was shooting at the Rotenfels. Extreme weather conditions, very cold temperatures, heavy snowfall and difficult logistics demanded everything from the cast & crew. In the end the shared experience created a strong bond between all team members and improved the film’s visuals greatly. In the staging and later in the editing the focus was to especially show the contrast between mental exhaustion at work and a prestigious personal and professional goal, such as becoming an astronaut while dealing with severe fatigue and the coherent symptoms, decisions and consequences. The main goal is to show a very current and dominant social issue as well as giving insights into a somewhat obscure but future-oriented industry. Further head of departments Daniel Erben (sound), Sophie Maag (costume design), Michelle Frey (co-writer), Lucas Yalaza (producer), Eduard Eisinger (production manager), Nathalie Weiss (make-up), Daniela Hilsdorf (lighting), Denis Schörnig (Virtual Production), Vincent Ruhl (score)