ABP presents: Alex Förderer
BOARDS & BIKES, MUSIC & FILM — 26/05/2015 — by Christian H.
Alex is part of the legendary FUS CREW (a Munich river surfer collective) and nowadays very successful behind the camera. He is/was one of the creative heads behind the crew surf video that won the Nike Chosen award in 2011. We took the chance to ask this friendly guy some questions about editing his first surf movie to filming high end commercial jobs from Tokyo to LA.
Alex, for the people who don’t know you, please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you & how it all started…?
Well, you already mentioned a lot about my career, so let me tell you a bit about my youth and childhood. I grew up in a small village near Karlsruhe with my parents and my sister- the classic german family. You could say that I am one of these typical kid of the 80´s. Hanging out all day with friends, skateboarding in every free minute and massive rebellion during my teenage years, addicted to music and DJing. All in all, I am – and always was- extremely passionate with everything I love and do all those things with all my energy letting behind all the rest.
Your are a pretty successful cameraman nowadays – Did you always strive to become a cameraman or how did you get into it? You mentioned once that your first profession was a hairdresser, how did the switch to becoming a cameraman happen?
The first career I wanted to take, was the profession of a photographer. But my parents didn´t like the idea at all. The only photographer they knew was the owner of a portrait and wedding studio in my hometown, who of course did a great job, but was not really successful. So I changed plans: As I wanted to work with people and do something creative I started as a hairdresser, which I really loved. I learned a lot in those years which I´m still benefiting from today! You know, it´s not just about cutting hair: it´s listening to people, giving professional suggestions, sticking to the plan and trying to get better every day. After some years in the business I turned allergic and had to quit – this was maybe the best chance I could ever get to move away from my little hometown and start over totally new, following the first dream of my teenage days to work on pictures all over the world.
I heard you also used to be a really good Drum n Bass DJ?
Those days were very influenced by the East London stuff of p.e. Dj Hype and Andy C and had some gigs in different clubs with about 1000 people and it was great fun, exciting and I learned so much about music! I remember very well the first bigger gig we played. The party started with 2 step, which was really popular those days – just easy listening. Then, after the club got full, I suddenly dropped the neelde on a D&B record and the party changed from one second to the other. In less than 30 seconds the dancefloor was packed. I can´t remember many details as I was so much into mixing speed-30 seconds to 1 minute per one track. Massive forward… But I have some snippets in my mind. I can still see the crowd moving and hear the sound in my mind.
What projects or moments have influenced your career significantly?
Hmmm… I think there are so many little moments that have influenced my career and still do so every day. You know, sometimes it´s just the little things happening in regular working-life that have great importance to yourself, that make you proud of what you do, that confirm you in how you´re doing it. And that last for years, give you energy and power and strengthen the will to give your best. For me that is much more important than one single moment. But, yes, of course there are some highlights: There was, for instance, a job in L.A. where we suddenly and unexpected had the opportunity to film in Tony Hawks garden. He was not at home, but we had a session in his private skatepark. It was amazing, crazy and exciting and a dream of my teenage-years came true: having a session in the holy halls of skating! In the garden of a hero from a whole generation: Tony Hawk! Those moments make it complete and are motivating me to follow my way.
Could you tell us a bit about one of your recent project that made a respectable 2nd place at a movie festival in London recently?
Of course! This was a great project and I´m really happy of having been selected to be part of the creative team for the designer Nina Athanasiou. The movie was specially created for the runway show of the Desiger at the New Yoork Fashion Week. The goal was to underline the fashion creations of Nina Athanasiou by telling a creative and shocking story of the designs, the models and the creative spirit behind the clothing. Thus we selected great places and very special locations to shoot in Landshut, Munich and Tokyo. Our main actor was the famous Shawn Ross, who is really a great person! It was a pleasure for me to work with him! We used top equipment: the Sony F5 with a Brushless Gimbal, got some specially created music and worked a lot… The movie was a success and got so much positive feedback that Nina Athanasiou decided to submit it at the LFFF (London Fashion Film Festival) – one of the most important festivals of the industry. We were competing next to international brands like Miu Miu and became second, only to lose against Vogue Italia which is a really great result! Even gerater if you keep in mind that the first place made Vouge Italia.
Since 2013 you have a son, Oscar, did this have any influence on your career and how you see life compared to the times before?
My life has changed, of course, becoming a father is only a very simple way to say what it means to a man taking such an important role! If I personally changed? I can´t say. I´m still feeling as I felt before – I´m still the same person. Of course my sorrows are different ones. I can´t just easily do everything on the go, without thinking of tomorrow-but this is fine in regards of the career, well, I´m missing him when I´m not at home, something that it happening quite a lot in the last months. But I always get lots of pictures and videos via whatsapp. It´s not easy but I´m always so happy to see him when I´m back home! My boy is just great and I´m really looking forward to the time when we can do some sports together! It´s so exiting to explore what he will love in life! Will we have some skate-sessions together? Will we go on a surf-trip? This Christmas he got his first pair of skis and can already say „skiska“ while he is walking around in the living room with one ski on … so funny! But in the end I will try my best to share what he loves – whatever it will be!
How do you manage to combine being a passionate skier, surfer and being a „hard working man“? Do you find enough time for sports that shaped your career?
It`s not easy to get enough POW-days in winter and as a german surfer living in Germany you are unable to get enough waves. But I´m working a lot in the Skiing business and sometimes I have a little break to shred without being loaded with cameras or huge backpacks. I learned that you don´t need a whole day of massive sports action. In most of the cases a few hours are enough to get new power, to get relaxed and to have some pictures in your head that make you happy. I also love to surf on my SUP on a stormy day in the middle of a lake or to have an exhausting tour on my bike. When I´m abroad, sometimes it´s just a little hike. I need different passions – doing always the same thing makes my tired and bores me. All in all I can say: it´s not easy to combine as much sport to my carrer as I wished, but I have the great luck that I’m not only passionated with sports, but also my job is one of my passions. So it´s totally fine the way it is!
Where do you get your inspiration from? What’s your motivation?
My motivation is to do something new, something different, something outstanding. I get the inspiration by watching trends every day, everywhere in everything and really learn to understand them. That´s how it has always been in everything I did. Maybe you could say I´m restless, but that´s okay.
Describe a perfect day & the perfect soundtrack for that day:
Perfect…Well… Live has so many facets. it´s hard to give limitations to the word „perfect“ by defining it…but close to perfect could be such a scenario: Waking up in a tiny hut- maybe in the mountains or directly at the sea. The smell and taste of brewed coffee… fresh POW or a good groundswell. (Dosen`t matter what, I love both.) My Family around me, a couple of friends with me. The unique and perfect feeling when living simply, playing and enjoying the nature.
Any people you would like to thank or shout out to?
I want to say thank you to my girlfriend for supporting me and for taking me how I am. Thank you everybody who accepts me for who I am. Cheers to all those who still don´t know me.