Nils Keller on his Oscar shortlisted live action short ‘Almost Home’: ‘I hope it touches as many people as possible’ [Exclusive Video Interview]

“It’s been an amazing ride,” says director Nils Keller, whose film “Almost Home” won a Student Academy Award and has since been shortlisted for Best Live Action Short at the 95th Oscars. “It was a student project. We didn’t have much money. We had high-flying dreams. We hope that the story will come across that we kept all the technical aspects. In the end, we wanted to tell a heartfelt story that I hope touches as many people as possible and feels relevant. This is the ultimate dream to be shortlisted for the Oscars.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.

The sci-fi film centers on Nico (Susanne Wolff) and Jakob (Jeremias Meyer), a mother and son who learn of an outbreak of a dangerous virus shortly before their long-awaited return to Earth. The two of them struggle to decide whether to land or return to space aboard their confined spaceship.

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“The idea came in April, 2020, when I read a newspaper article in the New York Times about people in a cruise ship, where the people couldn’t leave because of the pandemic,” Keller explains. “People wanted to leave, but they couldn’t. “The twist in the article was that, maybe if they were able to leave they should stay because the world outside just got so crazy. I thought, there’s a story here. Where’s the line for us between safety and freedom? Where do we draw it? It’s very individual. The next step, I wanted to get this idea as far away from COVID while still using this world-spanning thing that connected us without exploiting it, to talk about something that we all went through in some way.”

Keller recruited a student colleague of his who specializes in visual effects to collaborate with him on the project. “He said, okay, I’m going to lock myself into a room for one-and-a-half years and do everything on my own,” the director reveals. “That’s pretty much what he did. Most of the effects were just coming from one person sitting in one person, talking to us via Zoom because there was still the pandemic going on.”

“It’s amazing to see that there’s such great feedback from the academy, from such great people who really know how to do a film,” he says. “We as students, coming in and being honored by these people, it’s just amazing.”

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