In "Heimkommen (Coming Home)," a young girl and her brother both deal with the loss of a loved one in very different ways. The film was shot in Germany, where director Micah Magee has been based for the past ten years.
Magee, originally from San Antonio, Texas, got started as a filmmaker relatively late in life, at age 19. “People nowadays start making films when they’re four with their phones,” she jokes. One of her first projects as a UT-Austin student, shot on Hi8, was screened at South By Southwest years ago. Now based out of Germany, Magee is back at SXSW with “Heimkommen (Coming Home),” a story about two siblings dealing with grief and loss in very different ways.
Magee says she and her writing partner, Magdalena Grazewicz, “both had experiences of losing people… and not necessarily coping with it in a way that was appropriate.” They drew upon themselves for the character of Robert, who blames his younger sister for the death of his girlfriend, Jo.
“Filmmaking is a lot like writing, and it just happens to be how I write best,” Magee says. “Because you can use images, and feelings… in a direct way.”
To carry that across, Magee shot her short film “Heimkommen” in 35mm, rather than the digital format that is so popular among independent filmmakers these days. “I like the discipline of shooting on film,” she begins, adding that “because the film is about relationships between people, it was important for me to be able to have a long or short focus and be very specific about that.”
Her first trip as a student filmmaker at SXSW was a whirlwind, and a bit overwhelming. “I’m looking forward to seeing what [the festival] is like now that I’m more adult. [Back then], I just wanted to run away because there were so many people, and everybody was like ‘Do you want to sell your film online?’ and I didn’t know what to do!” she laughs. “So I just sort of watched movies, but I didn’t talk to anyone then. It’ll be nice to be a little more self-confident and try talking to people about my film.”
Magee plans to move back to San Antonio in 2012 and shoot her next film, a hybrid documentary and narrative, in the Alamo City.
“Heimkommen” screens on Monday, March 12 at 1:45pm (Alamo Drafthouse Lamar) and Wednesday, March 14 at 3:00 pm (Alamo Drafthouse Ritz) as part of the Narrative Shorts program at SXSW 2012.