Writer,Director and Producer
Born 1966 in Heidelberg. In 1992, he gave his stage debut as a singer and actor at the Schwetzinger Castle Festival in the Scott Joplin opera “Treemonisha”. From 1992 on he studied Dramatics at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. During his time at University, he performed in several films and at the Experimentiertheater of Erlangen. He graduated in 1996 receiving his Master of Arts degree for his thesis: „Georg Kreisler and the Viennese Wit.” From 1996-1998, he sharpened his acting skills at the well established Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York, NY. Since 1998, he has been working continuously as an actor in theatre, film and TV. Parallel to his acting career he has been working as a director on several stage shows and as a writer and director of corporate films, events and trade fair presentations.
„Why Siegfried Teitelbaum had to die“ is his first feature film.
Ten questions to the writer and director Axel B. Steinmueller
1. What was the inspiration for the film?
I was inspired by my very diverse interests. Jewish humor, swing music, gangster films. For years, I have been reading a lot about gang and mafia structures. Unfortunately, one can not find a whole lot of literature on this subject in Germany. The US market is much better equipped.
2. Why such an absurd gangster film?
I already had other screenplay ideas in the drawer before, which I will now turn to again. For this project, I only had a name in mind Siegfried TeiteIbaum. I knew immediately that he would have to be an almost supernatural gentleman gangster. Then the character Stefán, a stubborn contract killer, came almost automatically. Somehow I could not let go of this subject.
Two things became very clear to me early on: One, I wanted to make a gangster film with as many parts for women as possible and, two, that only Facio and only Facio could compose the music. He has the creative potential to find his way through my world of thought, without me having to explain it to him in great detail.
In the beginning, we were - of course - confronted with the problem of how to finance the film since we did not have a corporate partner or big name attached. We then decided to go a different route. First we shoot a trailer and then started a crowdfunding campaign. At the time, we happened to be the first German feature film project trying to crowdfund with no established production company or even a major studio as backers. Later a few sponsors joined us. The lens manufacturer Tamron, for example, equipped us and help us out financially. The Süddeutsche Zeitung was first to publish an article about our project. This triggered a wave of other reports. Afterwards, many people contacted us who were very interested to take part or to support us. But I must stress one thing: with this very limited budget, the whole thing has only worked out because so many people committed themselves so enthusiastically to the project.
We had more than 40 days of principal photography. These had to be extended due to our financial situation since, all people worked for no pay (deferred delivery of salary). It was clear from the beginning that we would only be able to shoot on weekends. That way we could make sure that the people can hold on to their day jobs during the week. This also meant that it would take more of an effort. In the end, we worked for more than 20 weeks. The cast and crew had no weekends at all. A huge accomplishment.
7. How did you put the cast together?
Writing I already had some actors in mind that I wanted to play a certain character. I never cast these roles. My “perfect” candidates, fortunately agreed to do it. As did Michael Mendl. This I owe to my friend Olivia Pascal. She established the contact with Michael. And then there was also a little luck involved. Matthias Schendel and his VIP's stunt team wanted to take part in the film. They had previously worked on "Inglorious Basterds" and for "Operation Walkyrie".
8. Which scene was the most difficult to shoot?
The most difficult was the scene in the gravel pit. The weather did not cooperate. The rain came and went. Michael Mendl was available only on this weekend. Somehow we got it done, but half of the team had a cold afterwards.
There were many great surprises. If I would have to single out one particular experience I had, it would be the experience filming at the Pritscher’s Edeka supermarket in Landshut. Not only did they permit us to film in their market free of charge, but they used their day off to provide us with fantastic food.
Well, there were many. But if I am honest: When my son Luis Finn, eight years old at the time, played his first part, the rascal boy Benjamin. I am a typical dad in that regard.. . . Luis had to cheekily face Maik van Epple (as Stefán). Maik van Epple as his acting partner also did quite a good job.