Not your average wrestler

Project of the Month: Harald


The diploma short by Moritz Schneider tells the story about Harald, a wrestler who has been successful since childhood, but who secretly prefers growing flowers - which his mother, who enjoys showing off her son's victory trophies, does not like at all.

Continue reading: Moritz Schneider shares his thoughts behind the colorful hero story and gives insights into filmmaking at Animationsinstitut




Director Moritz Schneider on Harald:


"With Harald I made my first narrative film in the sense of a classic hero's journey in 3D. I had never done both before and only dared to tackle that in my diploma project. Under the surface, the short film is about finding and standing up for one's own independent role in society. Can this role really be independent or is it not always tied to external perception and evaluation in terms of success and failure? Is it possible to shake that off and assert oneself with "pure", inner values?

I asked myself these questions repeatedly before and during my studies and, even if I can only name it afterwards, I went with them into my diploma. Sometimes more, sometimes less consciously, all elements of the film are somehow knitted around these thoughts.

My character moves in a commercialized athlete's world that celebrates itself with over-excited colors and costumes and in which all success and failure becomes measurable through fighting and striking, loud "masculinity" (at least in the interpretation shown in the film). I contrasted this with the hidden love for plants. When I was looking for a sheltered passion for the character, this was actually the calmest and most unexcited opposite pole I could think of.


The possibility of being able to shift abstract inner processes very strikingly to the outside, is one of the many strengths of artistic animation film. Therefore, it is completely okay that the mother appears as a one-dimensional overdrawn, diabolic trainer-mother almost throughout the film. She gives a face to the value cosmos the hero is trapped in and with it something for him to fight. That is why in the end we do not shed a tear for the figure, even though we could guess her motives from own personal mother experiences.



But that was not the case from the beginning. In order to show the radicalism with which the main character asserts himself at the end of the film and not to destroy his good-natured character, we had to adjust the course of the plot many times.


Especially the bi-weeklies with fellow students and lecturers, forcing us to share our thoughts and decisions publicly every two weeks, helped with that. That was a unique opportunity to shape ideas through confirmation, doubt and defense, over and over again. The gained insights helped a lot later on, especially towards the end of the project: As soon as you work with a larger team on different scenes and technical construction sites at the same time, there is a great danger of losing the narrative focus.



In the course of my diploma, I went through many departments of an animation production (even those I am not really into). Thus, I was able to create a broad foundation, which helped me in understanding and communicating with different fields later on - including the realization that I would not have been able and did not want to handle a project like this on my own.


I am very grateful for the opportunity to realize a personal project from concept to completion. I thank the team of great fellow students and friends who supported the project for a long time, but also the team of Animationsinstitut: The structures in which artistic freedom as well as focused teamwork is taught and promoted is probably unique. I always like to look back on this intense time."


You want to know more about Moritz Schneider? Click here.

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