Breathing new life into Germany’s gay film industry with his romantic screwball comedy Men To Kiss, the uber-talented Frank Christian Marx is over the moon to attend the Sydney premiere this Tuesday night, as part of Mardi Gras Film Festival 2012.
“It’s wonderful and like a dream come true. That I can come to Sydney, it’s wow. I always wanted to come, I’m so excited!”
With producer, screenwriter and leading actor credits to his name, a jovial Marx spoke to the Star Observer from his home in Berlin where partygoers were braving freezing conditions to celebrate the Berlin International Film Festival, Berlinale.
“I’ve just been at the gay festival at the Berlinale, and it was really great. I think I got home at like 5 o’clock this morning,” he laughed.
Men To Kiss is the first feature film by his production company, Ente Kross (Burnt Chicken) and follows the energetic tale of two gay men — serious Ernst and his opposite, the frivolous Tobias — their big city quest to find love, and each other.
Filmed amid the vivacious backdrop of Berlin’s world famous nightlife and gay scene, this deeply collaborative project features friends and notable Berlin scene artists like Nina Queer and Ades Zabel, and reveals an open-minded city steeped in history and culture. And serious parties.
“Once you see it, once you’ve been here, you always want to come back,” Marx said.
“I’ve been in Berlin for eight years, and I’m never going anywhere. That’s it.
“It’s like when they say New York’s not part of America, then Berlin is not quite Germany.”
Describing the film’s humour as international rather than German, Marx wonders how the subtitles will translate to an Australian audience, but remains proud that Men To Kiss has filled a gap in the German gay film market.
“I’m gay and I love movies. But when I see 101 films about hetero couples, I want to see something with our people,” Marx said.
“In Germany, all the movies, when they are gay-themed, involve coming out and they’re about a 17-year-old boy and his parents don’t want him to be gay, and it’s always about diseases. I think we’re the first gay romantic comedy in 10 years.
“I want to make a production company that does comedy, horror, all genres, but always with gay people — it’s not important that they are gay, they just are.”
After saving the film from financial difficulties 15 days into the shoot, Marx and his co-star and business partner Udo Lutz (who plays Tobias) set up Ente Kross to finish the film with 40,000 euros and help from family and friends.
“You know, I think we made mistakes, I mean we were thrown in the deep end. I want to correct the mistakes in the next movie. I want to be a producer and stay a producer. To make people proud to invest in me,” Marx said.
With plans to tap into the English-speaking market with a new film that features six gay characters and their intertwining storylines, while trying to raise a budget of 150,000 euros, Marx is loving the transition from screenwriter and actor to producer.
“I want to experience more control of a movie, to keep the people together, make the casting, and I think I like it more,” Marx said.
“I mean, I love acting. I just shot Don: The King Is Back with Shah Rukh Khan (aka King of Bollywood) and that was an incredible experience. I mean, they treat him like a god.
“When we came from the hotel there were like 500 people shouting ‘Oh my god, there’s Shah Rukh Khan!’ That’s totally not my thing.”
INFO: Men To Kiss is screening at Cinema Paris at EQ on Tuesday, February 21 at 7pm (Frank Christian Marx in attendance) and Monday, February 27 at 7pm. www.mardigrasfilmfestival.com.au.