A multi-plot story about an American pilot who has ‘gone wild East’ in Poland, his young Polish apprentice, and an aging magician fighting for his career. All three men try to find their place in a time of change in small-town Poland. Darłowo is a typical Polish seaside resort, but some of its inhabitants are not typical at all. Mark Buller (51), a retired US Army helicopter pilot, has settled here in search of freedom. He has bought a nice house with property large enough for his army truck collection. The only thing that is missing in his life is a wife. Mark finds help in young local Michał (20), alias ‘Mike’, who dreams of leaving to a far-away country like ‘America’. Instead America has come to Mike, and Mike accompanies the American in his search for a wife as Mark’s friend, translator and driver. Eventually young Mike has to reconsider his own future in the town. For almost 50 years Jan Konstantynow (82), alias ‘Lucjano’, has been a part of Darłowo’s cultural programme. But the aging, yet stubborn, magician must face that the times have changed. His stage, the local culture house, has been taken over by a new director who favors more contemporary forms of entertainment than the slightly forgotten art of illusions. While Mark, Mike and Jan are struggling to find their place in the town, Darłowo is going through a time of modernization. New ways of tourism have replaced fishing and farming as the main source of income.
Heidelberg - Paradise is a film about the conflict between artistic talent and the temptations of consumerism. The film’s protagonist Maurice Hufman always had the talent to become a professional singer, but never had the courage to do it. The film follows Maurice through a midlife phase when his old dream of going pro gets a second bloom. Maurice puts a lot of effort in his late musical career, has some success, but is too comfortable for giving everything it takes. The film follows Maurice from the moment when his dream is revitalized. In spring 2005, Maurice ‘Big Mo’ wins the Monterey Bay Blues Festival’s Battle of the Bands. He is awarded a spot on the festival’s prestigious main stage, from where everything seems possible. Energized, Maurice records a new CD. Now, Maurice convinces himself, all he needs is luck for him to get invited onto the stage of the professional world of music. Time passes, the Monterey high fades, and Maurice feels the acuteness of his ascending age and declining health. He goes through his daily routine – surplus, family, fishing and music. By playing all venues from parks, to fundraisers, to casinos and blues clubs – he manages to build up a loyal, but local, fan base. Despite being able to ask for significantly more money than just two years ago, Maurice doesn’t get enough gigs to even begin thinking of quitting his day job. Instead of taking the next logical step – leaving his small pond and playing festivals and big city venues, Maurice keeps on hoping that one day he will be discovered. His luck seems to turn when he meets a top manager of German Telekom. Maurice makes such in impression that he gets hired as the main act for the company’s annual German broadcast exhibition party in Berlin. Most of the six hundred guests will be TV and radio professionals. Three days after the big show Maurice is back in Paradise. He drives to work in his Chevy Suburban. Going back to selling gas masks and camo-suits is the hardest thing to do. But Maurice is hopeful that the media people who picket up his CD in Berlin will make at least one of his songs a hit. The world seems as wide open as two years ago when Big Mo stood on the Main Stage of the Monterey Bay Blues Festival.
Train of Desire
This is a film about observing Europe for a short precise time in one place that at the same time is moving through time and space. The place is a particular train that becomes a vivid metaphor of how Europe is part of the same journey, going side by side, for good and for worse, and yet not really together. My moving microcosm on tracks starts in the East, in the Ukraine and ends in the West, in the Netherlands. Onboard this one long train and along its 2731 km route, each of the countries are represented by the different wagons, their colors and size, their staff and passengers, the uniforms, luggage, dialogues and habits, the different purposes of being part of the train, and the changing landscapes, towns and station buildings.The film takes the audience onboard the train accompanied by the following (yet to be casted) characters, who are all taking part in the same train trip:a young Ukrainian conductor who is going on her first international duty with the prestigious, yet demanding Kiev-Amsterdam; a Belarusian custom’s officer who loves the authority of his job on the border between Belarus and Poland; a Russian pensionist and casual cigarettes smugler on his way to visit his son in Berlin; a Polish railway worker who is joining and separating international train wagons and still dreams of his first trip abroad; a German fine art student who is afraid of flying but loves traveling by night train between her home in Cologne and school in Warsaw; a Danish business traveller and womanizer who likes flirting with the female passengers especially from Copenhagen to Cologne; a Czech cook and amateur-philosopher in his restaurant wagon on wheels; and a hot- tempered, Europe-skeptical Dutch train machinist who pulls the chain of small Europe behind him.