"Tom's Dilemma" (excerpt from feature)

Michael Gluckstern

Unaffiliated

1) How did you get into directing? 
I’ve been a storyteller all my life - I write since I was 7. I studied audiovisuals in college and then I did a production course in New York by 2013 where I realized that as much as I love production I prefer. I consider cinema the  most complete form of storytelling that combines most of the plastic arts in one whole piece

2) What is your most recent project? 
I just released 2 music videos that I directed and produced, but I rather talk about the last short film that I directed/produced and it’s very special to me, because it was also the last work of a great friend and very talented artist that was the lead - and only - role of the movie. He passed away one week after the shooting and never came back to record the voice over, so I had to use other voice. Even though I really like the finally result, it feels weird every time.

3) What is the best part of being a director? 
My favorite part is the fact that you work with many other artists and everyone brings different skills and qualities to help your idea become a reality. 
Every element moves around the director’s vision. I love to listen to everyone’s suggestions but at the end of the day the movie comes from the director, and the challenge is for him/her to make everything work with whatever elements they have. You create the rules of an entire universe, not bad.

4) What is the worst part of being a director? 
To take poor decisions in terms of storytelling that could affect or destroy the work of the rest of people around you.  Success doesn’t totally rely on the director, but failure kind of does.

5) What is your current career focus: commercials and branded content, TV, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre—comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.? 
I’m trying to gain experience in direction and production as much as I can in all kind of projects, but I obviously dream with becoming a movie director. I would also love to direct plays.
Everything I do moves in between drama and comedy. I’m always looking for the laughter that comes after crying or the cry that comes from laughing, this are 2 of the most powerful feelings in life, and that’s exactly the kind of situations I want to reflect in my movies, ambiguous and with not only one interpretation.

6) Have you a mentor and if so, who is that person (or persons) and what has been the lesson learned from that mentoring which resonates with you?
I could only consider my mother as a mentor, I owe her everything I get in this life, she is my guardian angel and best advisor. I also got very influenced by Felix Van Groeningen - director of “Broken
Circle Breakdown” in 2013, which whom I coincided for a brief period of my life sharing an apartment together with his girlfriend (and very talented actress) Charlotte Vandermeersch in Williamsburg, before taking the decision to direct my first and only feature movie so far; he gave me confidence and helped a little to make me believe in myself and move forward with the “Tom’s Dilemma” movie.

7) Who is your favorite director and why? 
I have also many different favorite directors, but I could mention 3-4 for different reasons: I love Todd Solondz (“Happiness,” “Welcome to the Dollhouse”) because of how dark, funny, acid and ironic he is. From Gaspar Noe (“Enter the Void,” “Love”) I love his cinematography, rhythm and basically everything (actually he might be my favorite) I also love directors like Darren Aronofsky or Stanley Kubrick... it’s an impossible question to answer...

8) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content? 
It’s impossible to chose one, it depends on my state of mind... but I love “Enter the Void,” “Happiness,” “The Man from the Earth”... there is not much relation between them. I normally like a realistic acid story, with a lot of irony and clever language, deep films, but I can’t watch that kind of movie all the time or I get too depressed with reality.

9) Tell us about your background (i.e. where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I was born in Frankfurt Main, Germany but my family is originally from Israel. I’m a Spanish-Israeli citizen, raised in Alicante, Spain. I studied sociology in Salamanca University and moved to London for almost 3 years before returning  to Spain to finish my degree in audiovisual communications in Carlos III de Madrid University. I wanted to move to New York to pursue a career in cinema, mainly focused in production operations, where I got most of my experience. After studying a production course in New York I decided that I wanted to become a director. I have a very heavy psychologist background from my parents influence - very Freudian.
I have been working in production before Directing, but before that none of my jobs were cinema related, more like bars, kitchens, clubs, stores...