Halfway through his fellowship year, CineStory checked in with Lukas Hassel to see how his project is progressing and how his fellowship is helping shift the needle.
CineStory: For those who don't know, give us the logline for your fellowship-winning script, LE MECANO:
Lukas Hassel: "An introverted mechanic is haunted by the brutal lynching of a gay young man in his Algerian hometown. Propelled by reasons unknown even to himself, the Mechanic goes on a mysterious journey to track down the young man's life in Paris."
CS: Where did the inspiration for the story come from and how long did you work on it before submitting for the 2012 CSA's?
LH: Every day the news are filled with stories of women and minorities having to suffer unimaginable terrors in the name of piousness. Women's noses cut off, acid thrown in faces for refusing marriage proposals, gay men hung purely for their sexuality. I knew I wanted to explore this. Explore the silent approval of the many who let this happen, not just the few who perform the heinous deeds. It was probably the easiest script I've written to date. I had a clear vision, a clear outline, a clear understanding of my characters. Took me less than a year from beginning to end (as much as it's ever "ended"...)
CS: What's your aim with this script? Are you looking for a sale or option or are looking to direct it yourself?
LH: This is a script that I plan to direct. I have a good basis for arguing that I'll be the best option for this. I know this story, know its heartbeat. It won't be easy, but with a good crew and team for support, it'll happen.
CS: What has been happening with your script since you won the fellowship back in August 2012?
LH: The CineStory Fellowship generated a huge amount of interest. Backed up by great results in both the Nicholl and Big Break contests. I'm in talks with several producers, all trying to figure out a way of making it happen. It's a difficult script. Harsh and in your face. Not for everyone. For producers it's a unique puzzle to fall into place with a possible co-financing between US/Europe. Thankfully a great handful of believers, CineStory included, works hard for Le Mécano to get made.
CS: How has your fellowship year fared so far? What's it like working with your mentors and how have they help to advance your progress with LE MECANO or with your career in general?
LH: My mentors are amazing. Both incredibly busy with their own careers, they have found a way to be involved and very hands on. Susan Cartsonis, in particular, has been outstanding. We are in constant contact and I've already learned so much about the aftermath of writing a great script. It's really just the beginning.
CS: What's the most important thing you've learned from your mentor-fellow relationship so far?
LH: Not being afraid to reach out, and ask the tough questions. Think creatively about what you need. Don't sit back and expect everyone to work hard for you, but stay involved, stay hungry, stay focused.