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indieWIRE INTERVIEW | “How To Cook Your Life” Director Doris Dorrie

indieWIRE INTERVIEW | "How To Cook Your Life" Director Doris Dorrie

Doris Dorrie, the German director behind 2000’s sibling dramedy “Enlightenment Guaranteed” and 2002’s acclaimed “Naked,” has returned with her latest release, “How To Cook Your Life.” “Life,” an ode to taking care of yourself, follows Edward Espe Brown, a Zen priest, cook and bestselling author. It was acquired by Roadside Attractions at last year’s Berlin Film Festival. Dorrie taked to indieWIRE about the film, which is currently screen at New York’s IFC Center, Los Angeles’ Laemmle Sunset and the Rafael in the San Francisco Bay area.

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I am German, went to college in the US, then film school in Munich. Have directed approximately 20 feature films, ( “Men“, ” Nobody Loves Me“, “Am I Beautiful?” “Enlightenment Guaranteed”, “Naked”, “Hanami“) several documentaries, 5 operas, have written 3 novels, 7 volumes of short stories, 8 childrens books.

What initially attracted you to filmmaking, and how has that interest evolved during your career?

I wanted to tell stories and that is still my interest.

Are there other aspects of filmmaking that you would still like to explore?

I had my own production company for 10 years- not again, thank you very much- but with digital technology I am getting more interested in camera work and did some on “How To Cook Your Life.”

Please discuss how the idea for “How to Cook Your Life” came about.

I met Edward Brown during a workshop that I taught at Tassajara and took part in his cooking class, enjoyed it tremendously and thought others might enjoy it, too- but wouldn’t have the chance to come to Tassajara. So I asked Edward whether he would be willing to make a film with me.

A scene from Doris Dorrie’s “How To Cook Your Life.” Image courtesy of Roadside Attractions.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in either developing the project or making and securing distribution?

Compared to a feature film it was a very easy film to make.

How did the financing for the film come together?

German film funds, German television, world sales.

Who are some of the creative influences that have had the biggest impact on you?

For me feature films the New American Cinema of the 1970s, the Nouvelle Vague in France, Billy Wilder, Ernst Lubitsch, Jonas Mekas, Yasujiro Ozu.

What is your next project?

Just finished another feature film: “Hanami- Cherry Blossoms“, shot in Japan and Germany, release date in February, 2008.

What is your definition of “independent film,” and has that changed at all since you first started working?

There is nothing but independent filmmaking in Germany.

What are some of your all-time favorite films, and why?

I don’t like list of all time favourite films, but alas – films like “The Deer Hunter“, “Five Easy Pieces“, “400 coups“, “A bout de souffle“, “To Be Or Not To Be“, “All About Eve“, “The Apartment“, “Tokyo Monotagari” would definitely be on mine. Recent ones? Two Japanese films: “Nobody Knows” and “The Rebirth“, also ” Little Children.”

What are your interests outside of film?

Love, sex, sleeping and eating.

What general advice would you impart to emerging filmmakers?

Don’t forget to live!

Please share an achievement from your career so far that you are most proud of.

That I am still at it and still making only the films I really want to do.

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