Come Away With Me

15 Jun

The “Bighead” film cast & crew at the premiere in the Obscura Cinema

The evening before my flight to Perú, I had one last event in Ulm: the premiere of our latest film The Boy With the Big Head (Der Junge mit dem Dickschädel).

Mark and I were commissioned by Kontiki, Kunstschule für Kinder, to make a film with a group of children selected by them and the Sie’ste Mädchen- und Frauenladen. The children selected all had Turkish parents, were born in Germany, and therefore interestingly bilingual. They were also at that strange age preceding teenage-hood when all kids are absolutely nuts.

The film workshop was crazy, challenging and fun – and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

a scene from “The Boy with the Big Head”

The story was created by one of the kids, Arda Durdu. On one of the pre-filming meetings, while discussing possible story concepts, he drew a picture of a young boy with a huge head. Mark pounced on it: “This is it! This is our story!” The children had no idea how he imagined it to work… and were very impressed when, on the first day of filming, he walked in carrying Bighead’s huge head. The head is made of Styrofoam; the eyes are Styrofoam balls and the hair is sewed on. On the inside of the head is a bicycle helmet which the actor puts on and locks. Then the big head is safely and securely in place!

at the premiere, Mark helps Arda put on Bighead to it demonstrate to the audience

Coincidentally, Arda was the only one who could stand the weight of the head for a longer period of time, so he became the natural choice to play the character. He did an absolutely fantastic job because – since facial expressions fell away for him – he expressed his character through body language. This was not something we had to tell him to do – he instinctively did it.

On the last day of filming, the musician Jen Krijer walked in carrying an entire sound studio on his back. (I wish I had a picture, it was classic!) Mark and the kids worked on lyrics for the film while Jens built a miniature sound studio in one of the Kontiki rooms. Under Jens’ direction, Arda and Furkan experimented with beat-boxing and rapping, and laid down a snappy beat! When that was done to everyone’s satisfaction, the girls walked into the studio and experimented with possible tunes for the chorus. In about 20 minutes they composed a unique melody and recorded it immediately. It was amazing. When we began the film project, no one knew they were so musically talented. Perhaps not even the kids themselves.

Honestly now: how often do you have the pleasure of working with kids who can, within half an hour, compose a song? It blows my mind. I love that the film ends with a song the main characters themselves composed and recorded!

After four days of filming, I edited the material, placed the songs and additional sounds, and told Kontiki that we were ready for a premiere. They then organised the whole thing and invited cast & crew, and their proud parents, to see the final product.

Pictures of the Premiere from my Scrapbook: 

the directors

getting on stage with cast & crew after the film was shown in the Obscura Cinema

on stage with cast & crew. The one with the microphone is Arda Durdu who played the character “Bighead”

Now that the premiere is behind us, I can officially make the film public. I have created English subtitles so that all English readers / viewers can follow the story. A million thanks to Hannah Bochnig for the opportunity, for the conceptual freedom, and for an absolutely beautiful premiere!

Here it is now, exclusively for my blog readers … our latest film: 

“The Boy with the Big Head”

If it made you giggle and you want to comment, feel free to do so at the bottom of this post. I’m always delighted to read your thoughts and feedback. Hearing your thoughts and replying is, after all, the sole purpose of this blog!

One film a year seems to be our company slogan, and I had done everything I had come here to do. I was ready to fly back to Perú and be a writer for a few months ago. So at 7 am the next morning, I boarded a train with my friend Almuth to Frankfurt, caught the plane to Perú, and flew. 

Now let me take you away . . . Come away with me . . . On a 27 hour journey.


arriving in Puerto Rico for transit

the sun sets over the plane wing

the clouds are back

transit in Panama

arrival in Perú! and celebrating with a 4am pisco sour with my father

The next morning, feeling a bit squashed, Almuth and I had a quiet walk through the Miraflores district in Lima.

el Parque del Amor / the Love Park

walking along the Lover’s Wall, inscribed with love poems in Spanish. This one says: “Like a strand of string, I will attach my heart to your strands of hair”

the poetry of old men

fascinating characters

As we walked around Larcomar, a strangely American mall built into the sand cliffs of Miraflores, I was suddenly standing before a cloths’ store whose brand name were two very familiar words… I took a picture of it and thought: “Of all the coincidences in the world…”

It feels strangely normal to be back. To walk up to a street kiosk and buy Charadas, my favourite chocolate cookies. To hear salsa everywhere. To drink Inca Cola again. To see the ocean. But Lima is quite cosmopolitan and, for me, an easy return. It won’t feel like Perú until we’re leaving Lima, I think.

Europe was very good to me and I am going to miss it. I travelled so much while I was there, looking for reasons to stay, and I found them. Now I am excited to get back to writing Munay in Peru, to working for Helping Hands Cusco again, to exploring the Amazon rainforest, and seeing how all that shapes Munay. And in autumn, I’ll return to Europe.


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