Get to know the phenomenal class of Young Guns 21
After 85 incredible finalists and intense deliberation, the Young Guns jury has narrowed it down to the 29 winners that make up the class of Young Guns 21. An astounding collection of animators, illustrators, film directors, typographers (a few Ascenders 2023 winners as well!), graphic designers, and photographers make up YG21.
Every year we interview the Young Guns winners to get to know them better as artists and people. And as always, we are welcoming another class of outstanding individuals into the highly coveted Young Guns community.
Now that you know the YG21 winners better, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating them in person at NYC’s Sony Hall on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, at 6:30 PM. See you in two weeks and get ready to party!
When did you first learn about Young Guns?
I think the first time I heard of the Young Guns was during my time at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. As a young filmmaker, there are a handful of particularly important awards you'd like to win one day – and Young Guns is definitely one of them.
How did you end up in the creative field anyways?
After I finished school, I worked for a short time as a copywriter in a small local creative agency. However, I first wanted to become a journalist, so I studied cross-media journalism before I got into directing. During my studies I especially enjoyed working on short documentaries and story-driven video reports. I quickly realized that in day-to-day journalism there are limits to the resources available to produce high quality imagery. So I tried to find another vehicle to keep my storytelling approach, but combine it with a cinematic visual language. That's the reason why I ended up at the Filmakademie studying directing.
Congrats on the W! Why did you decide to enter this year?
This is actually the first time I've submitted to Young Guns. Of course, I'm getting older too, but I'm still in my twenties so I wouldn't say that was the main reason. I felt that with regard to my work, it was the right time to submit. I think one of the reasons Young Guns is so attractive is because it's so hard to win. This is not an award you can win with just one good film. You have to show consistency and prove that you developed your own signature that runs through your work.
"This is not an award you can win with just one good film. You have to show consistency and prove that you developed your own signature that runs through your work."
You only get to submit six projects that embody you and your talent. The best of the very best. So, how did you decide which pieces were good enough to make the cut?
I wouldn't necessarily say that I've chosen the best films across the board, but rather I've put together a selection that clearly represents my DNA as a director. No matter what genre or format I'm in, my goal is always to get my personal style into the film. That's why it was important for me to make a selection that shows my individual strengths, but also my flexibility as a director.
Do you remember the exact place and time you were when you found out the news?
I was in Munich that day, sitting at brunch when the news reached me. Honestly, I was really surprised because I didn't expect to win, but of course also extremely happy at the same time. The competition is fierce and to prevail against so many talented people is a great honor. Unfortunately, my scrambled eggs were cold after I read several times through the long mail on my phone but it still tasted delicious thanks to the awesome news.
In what ways does your hometown and where you live now inspire your creativity as an artist?
I wouldn't say that I get inspired by a city, but rather by people. I grew up in a multicultural household. Experiencing two cultures at the same time is something I’ve always seen as a great privilege. From a very young age, I had insights into two different worlds, which has made me a very good observer and listener – a skill that not only served me well in journalism, but also today in the development of concepts. I always try to get my core inspiration from true stories and then adapt their strength to the format I'm working on.
Now that you’re a part of the Young Guns community, are there any past winners you look up to and admire?
That’s a tricky one. There are so many great filmmakers who have been able to win over the last few years. But if I had to choose someone I would probably go with Jonas Lindstroem (YG16) or the directing duo rubberband (YG18). I am a great admirer of the photographic image composition that runs like a thread through Jonas' work. His aesthetic is truly unique. What fascinates me about rubberband is the diversity of their projects and how they always manage to make a film feel like it was initially conceptualized for them, even if it's a commercial.
If you could create a new Young Guns tradition what would you want it to be and why?
Select two or three winners, team them up and give them a budget to create a project without any guidelines or briefings. The result will be shown at the award ceremony next year.
Name a creative and professional dream project that you have yet to fulfill — maybe Young Guns will propel you in that direction!
Honestly, I’d love to try my hand at a long format, whether in the field of serial formats or feature films. I feel the drive to tell longer stories, which is of course difficult to implement in commercials. An international feature film with a top-notch cast - yeah, that would definitely be a dream project. At the same time, there are still many exciting brands in advertising that I would love to work with in the future. My dream in this context is to have more influence on the concept itself and not just get involved when the basic framework is already in place. I am aware that this is rarely the case in the industry, but I think that this approach would improve the quality of the films even more.
This is YG21, but what do you imagine you’ll be up to when YG31 rolls around in 2033?
Difficult question since I honestly only ever plan until my next meal. Planning that far into the future always feels so grown up and I'd like to keep my youthful carelessness for a little while longer. From a professional point of view, I hope that I don’t lose my energy and my drive until then.
Will we see you at the YG21 party in NYC in November?
Come party with us and celebrate all the Young Guns 21 winners on Wednesday, November 15 at Sony Hall! See you at 6:30 PM in NYC!