Friday, 28 November 2014

Just do it.. my first screening

All I can say, is that you can never prepare yourself for that helpless feeling of sending your film out into the world. Or at least that’s how I experienced it.

Recently I wrote and directed my first short film called "Heart Aspirations". More about the "making of", for another day. Thinking back on how much passion I poured into the short film, how determined I was to keep on going, regardless of all the setbacks, then this troubling thought of not wanting the world to see it, does not gel. This was the one thing I dreamed of for over 2 years. The one thing I drove everybody mad about. If I could just finish it... and now... now it’s done… now what's the problem. You would think that one would be over the moon with the mere thought of a finished product. But in fact - it was the opposite. You just want to crawl in a hole and hid yourself and “IT” from the world.

But this all changed when I forced myself to show it to my producer. Sweat was pouring off me while setting up the projector room and getting the popcorn ready for the screening. Eight more people joined in to watch me humiliate myself. Well strangely ….. during the course of the film I found myself kind of getting lost in the story and somehow forgot that I was doing the dreadful screening thing. Maybe that’s a good thing, I thought....

The only advice I can give after this experience is that, without trying, you will never know.  And that we simply have to follow the Richard Branson theory of "You are never going to be ready..  so just do it”. But I’ve realized it’s perfectly normal to not wanting to put it out there in the world and have reaction to it. That feeling of protecting this child that you raised with so much care and then expose it’s vulnerability. It was mine…  however there would come a time when you have to pass it on regardless of feelings or outcome.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Cinema for Life - Film

Every year Isabella Schmid hosts a charity cancer event called Cinema for Life. I was fortunate enough to support the project with a short little film. For more on the the event visit 

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The Romantic World of a Filmmaker

Filmmaking has to be just the best job on the planet - the romantic side when the camera is rolling and you are getting breathtaking results. . . .  But before all this can happen you first have to get the job. You need to come up with a great idea and do a lot of sweet talk. Then you need to incorporate the client’s feedback into the vision and make it work on paper. When this is approved, you need to visualise a picture storyboard. Pick, approve and negotiate your main talent/actors, get your favourite crew together, block the shooting days, fix the locations, book your gear, pick up the gear and then it can finally begin. Lights ready, sound, camera rolling, standing by and action....

Great, best shoot ever and really feels like you are taking it to a whole new level. You start editing and you think....oooh no. This is never going to work. Who did I think I am, taking on a job of this magnitude. The only motivational thought that pulls you out of the deep pit you have got yourself in, is the fact that: At this point of the production, this feeling has been happening ever since you have started working 15 years ago.

Then you keep on at it, until it just becomes nothing more than hard work. And then suddenly, 7 days later, if you are so fortunate, you have it. Yes yes yes...  I am the man. 

Until the client sees it and ask to change this and that. Do you have a close-up of this shot and can you add more shots of that. It does not really make sense to scream and certainly they will not understand when you tell them that you don't have shots like that. You go home with your tail between your legs and after you told your wife that they are all idiots, she will give you that look. Do you feel better? Now go back into your office and don't come out until you have found a solution. Mmm...

So after version number 13 the client is over the moon, the bank account is full, you think you are the man again. . . .  at least until tomorrow when tomorrow will bring its own new challenges. Bobs your uncle. 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Movidiam & Vivobarefoot Revolutionise Filmmaking

Finally the snow on the rocky cliffs of the Alps melted and I could go in with DOP Casper Brog to scout locations for an upcoming footwear commercial for a Worldwide Filmmaking platform, called Movidiam. Four directors from 4 different countries were selected for an overwhelming challenge to each come up with an unique idea how to represent the UK shoe-brand named, Vivobarefoot. It's a cool, young company that has a different philosophy to running, than the rest of the world. They went back to our roots and constructed a shoe that's being optimized as if we are running barefoot.

During our location scouting we figured out most of the story line. I was determined to shoot everything at 25 frames per second just to make sure we separate ourselves from the other directors.  Our running talent, Katie Murray, came all the way from the UK and, although during 19 hours of running terrifying terrain, she never complained. 

The amount of greatness on this shoot was overwhelming. Both Katie and I had pretty hard core accidents during the shoot. I once stepped onto a 1 meter diameter rock which suddenly sinked more than a meter into the ground with two large rocks closing around my leg. Wonder above wonder without breaking my leg. I was very fortunate although some equipment were damaged. Great that the rental house was more concerned about me than about the gear. Thankful.

So now the big Vivobarefoot commercial are done and is slowly being rolled out worldwide. "The Making Of" explaining how Movidiam is working, is also online. Movidiam is an amazing new platform for filmmakers and production companies to streamline workflow for efficient and fast filmmaking from anywhere in the world. I encourage all filmmakers to pre-sign up here since this is going to revolutionise the way we are going to make films from this day forward.

Vivobarefoot / Movidiam commercial

Talent: Katie Murray
Make-up: Coco Baumann-Grieder from Coco Style
Production manager: Victoria McGaw
Gaffer: Szilard Csoke
DOP: Caspar Brog from CF. Visual Network
Pilot: Remo from Dragonsquad
Client: Vivobarefoot
Client: Movidiam
Director: Xaver Walser from Sub Graviti Productions

Here is the Vivobarefoot commercial.

Let your feet do their thing from VIVOBAREFOOT on Vimeo.

The making of for Movidiam.

Movidiam: The Promo from Movidiam on Vimeo.

All photos by Victoria McGaw

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

I have a Voice - "Love in Action" cinema trailer

About a year ago I was challenged to edit a cinema trailer to illustrate what a film could possibly look like. We had no clear story line and all I had was my November India research trip as rushes. There was no music or music style selected and nobody knew what the film should look or feel like. The final edit would be presented to a selected group of producers, directors and composers in 2 months from then. Ok... off I went.

I had a pretty clear idea about the music. During my time in India I listened to lots of different Indian music. Back home I composed a simple music edit with all existing material -where the track should go up and where it should go down. Faster, lower and bigger. Then I gave this wild track to composer Roland Frei to replace it with original material. When the track came back it blew me away. It was even better than I could have imagined. With the music as foundation, I matched the footage to the music. 

The editing process had a major turning point 2 weeks into cutting. An Indian priest would be responsible for the film voice over but in today's modern times where Catholic priests are often in the limelight for all the wrong reasons, I wanted to replace it with maybe a little child's voice. That afternoon when my Afrikaans / German speaking 4 year old boy came home after school, I asked him if he was keen to try out the voice over in English. He said no... Well.. I told him I will get him a surprise.. and he said ok, but he was going to do it just once. One take was all I had. He repeated after me and really after one take he left. 

Well this was my visualization of what could possibly be a film trailer. It challenged me from every possible side and I am extremely happy with the outcome. 

Directed by Xaver Walser
Produced by Beat and Regula Curti
Music composed by Roland Frei
Voice Over by Noah X. Walser
Grading by Fabian Kimoto
Script editor: Manfred Thieroff
Video Producer: Beat Curti
Video Director: Xaver Walser
Video Production Company: Sub Graviti Productions (
Recording Country: India
Used songs: Composed for the film by Roland Frei. 
Music: Roland Frei, Sawani Shende-Sathaye, Regula Curti
Sub-Publisher: BMG Rights Management Switzerland
Singers: Tina Turner, Regula Curti, Sawani Shende-Sathaye, Dechen Shak-Dagsay, Shrirang Mirajkar

Friday, 18 July 2014

Marc Sway - I can see the World

A fun project I did with Swiss singer, Marc Sway for Sony Music during the World Football Cup. 

Thursday, 26 June 2014

An Idea - By Anne-Marie Flammersfeld

An Idea - Anne-Marie Flammersfeld from Anne-Marie Flammersfeld on Vimeo.

An idea... is where things start. A thought... a flash of brilliance. Or simply a hint from nature. For the insignificant has been known to have triggered the greatest achievements of our times.

Directed by Xaver Walser. 

Produced by Petra Hammelmann and Bertold Zink. 
Cinematography by Xaver Walser and Andrew King.
Sound Mixing by Roland Frei.
Cosmetic by Corina Papini.
Hair by Silvia Meyer.
Mountain guides Christian Balducci and Basti Haag.
Script by Xaver Walser and Manfred Thieroff. 
Production by Sub Graviti Productions.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Music Video - Creative Freedom

Creative freedom is a wonderful luxury and when it comes around, you should grab it with enthusiasm.

When I was asked to make a music video for the new Beyond II album of Tina Turner, Regula Curti, Dechen Shak-Dagsay and Sawani Shende-Sathaye I jumped at the opportunity.

The introduction track, composed by Roland Frei included all the different genres of the album in one song. This is great for introducing an album, but my job was to create a story with a simple comprehensive idea that could include all of the genres in one. When breaking it down, it came down to a gesture of unconditional love, and that's what I worked with.

I developed a simple story about a homeless child, rescued from the street by a dance teacher. She gave her a place to stay and introduced her to the world of tap dancing. Parallel to that and to the delight of one of her older patients, a nurse is buying roses from a florist in Venice. The paths of the nurse and the child once crossed briefly to complete the story.  A simple tale that took me to so many cool places. Of course I always wanted to go to Venice and experience the floating city for myself. Together with material I shot in India one year ago I also had to film in several places around Switzerland.  Engadin, Davos and Zurich.

Like always, it's super humbling to be working with Tina Turner. She is such an amazing person and we can all learn from this woman. Under   crazy circumstances she fought against all the odds and this took her to superstar status. A huge thank you to Regula Curti for giving me creative freedom, always believing in me and trusting that I will make it happen once more. The entire rest of the team - a massive thank you for this opportunity and congratulations on an amazing album.

Directed by Xaver Walser
Produced by Beat Curti and Erwin Bach
Composed by Roland Frei
Music mixing by NJP Studios
Acting performance by Angéle Veille, Livia Leoni, Regine Ochsner,  
Xavier Barbera
Cinematography by Xaver Walser
Gaffer: Mauro Villagran
Production manager: Corinne Freffer
Graphic Designer: Soldi Soldenhoff
Photos by Nathan Beck
Hair and Make-up by Chantal René and Beatriz Vazquez
Production company: Sub Graviti Productions