Interview: Florian Habicht

LOVE STORY - A romantic fantasy about love, cake and New York City.   New Zealand filmmaker Florian Habicht meets a beautiful Russian woman (Masha Yakovenko) on the subway to Coney Island. Florian falls in love with her and convinces her to make a film of their ensuing love affair.  What happens next in this unconventional love story is literally left to the real-life denizens of New York.  In true Florian styleLOVE STORY is a genuine embrace of the city and New Yorkers, a blend of documentary and fiction.

What inspired you to make a film while you were in New York?

I felt really alive and free in NYC, and wanted to make a film in that same spirit.  My film is literally written on the streets of NYC. The love story between Masha and I is dictated by the wild ideas New Yorkers gave me on the streets. These suggestions created the map for our love affair.

How is it different to be in-front of the camera while filming?

In terms of the photography, I fully trusted Maria Ines Manchego my Director of Photography. During the filming of the love scene, she told us afterwards that she forgot to press record. So we had to do it again!  Maria Ines was just pretending, and we got another take.

What was the experience of living in New York like?

The cliché that anything can happen in a day in NYC is true. It’s also a city that encourages you to be free and yourself. Everybody who lives there seems to be from somewhere else originally, so it’s very easy to fit in and feel at home. I certainly did.

Who has been your biggest influence in your life?

Probably my father Frank Habicht, who documented the swinging sixties in London with his stills camera. (  Frank taught me about photography, and encouraged me to connect with people from a very early age.  Frank is in LOVE STORY, via skype from New Zealand.  He also offered ideas for the shoot that made it into the film.  My Mum’s Austrian cooking is also a big inspiration, and she usually does the catering on my productions.

Who has been inspirational to you during your career? 

Freddie Mercury, and New Zealand artists Teresa Peters and Peter Stichbury.

What tips do you have for budding filmmakers?  

Make Love Not WarJust get out there and make things, the technology allows it these days, and work with people you are close to. 

What is your all-time favorite movie?    

Dancer in the Dark maybe?

What is the best valentine you have ever received?  

 “I love you” written in socks!

Why do you love making films? I love mixing my life with art, music, storytelling, acting, exploring, experimenting.... Working with people I’m close to, and connecting with I’ve just met makes me feel alive! I feel very lucky to be a film maker. And to share the films I’ve made…

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  • flowery3 says
    This really blurs the edge between film and reality - even after reading this article I am not sure if this film is about a real love story, or a story created for the cameras - and Im not sure if I want to know, I like the mystery!
  • KH says
    It does sounds interesting!

    “I love you” written in socks! ....I've never had anything like that either!
  • Anna says
    aqwww isnt that gorgeous though!! haha i love little quirky gifts!!
    • KH says
      It would have made me laugh. Though my puppy is a bit socks obsessed. I don't know if I'd get the message in time!
      • Anna says
        awww cute!! haha sock dogs are gorgeous!! my cat loves them too... if they are filled with catnip =P
      • Wice says
        This guy is an inspiration. I'm really looking forward to seeing this movie. Love to see NZ talent and hope the movie is rated G so lots of young Kiwis can go too and get inspired. Better still, I will be in NY in a couple of months for a week (my first visit and all by myself!) There are heaps of movies on right now that are set in the Big Apple - I am so excited!

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