* Belinda Sallin, Director

It’s almost exactly one year ago today that we began shooting the film in Zurich-Oerlikon. In the fall of 2012 we did a quick shoot for a teaser to send along with our different financing applications. And in June 2013 we did a one-day shoot at the HR Giger Museum as part of its 15th anniversary. But the actual shooting began on 2 September 2013, and that was only due to a certain turn of events. The financing for the film was not concluded yet, but on 4 September Hansruedi travelled to Linz for the Ars Electronica Festival, where he was celebrated as the featured artist, and he had a large exhibition at the Lentos Art Museum. It was a now-or-never situation. After all, I didn’t know if Hansruedi would have many more exhibitions like that. I am very grateful to producer Marcel Hoehn for agreeing to start shooting despite the uncertain financial situation.

I can still remember being a little worried when I met Hansruedi on the afternoon of 2 September. I had the impression that his health had deteriorated, that he seemed more tired than the last time I had seen him.

I knew right away that I had to rethink my approach. The kind of long and detailed interviews that I like to conduct probably wouldn’t be possible with our protagonist.

It was Hansruedi’s humour and self-irony that eased my mind. He simply said, “I never would’ve gotten very far on talking alone.” Anyway, I knew he didn’t like talking about his work at all. Why should I plague him with long interviews? Why should he start giving long speeches all of a sudden?

I think Hansruedi was relieved when he realized that I’d distanced myself from the interviews I’d planned and from my usual approach to filming. He repaid me with trust and openness. Although we didn’t carry out any long interviews, we got along quite well. Instead of those interviews, we shot many hours and days (actually usually nights) with Hansruedi and Carmen at the house and in the garden, where they gave us the trust to do our thing.  

During our short talks we’d inevitably end up laughing – for example when Hansruedi talked about his foreign language skills, or lack thereof.

HR Giger December 2011, © Christian Schwarz