Jerry Hoffmann is a director and actor of German and Ghanaian roots, who’s passion lies in amplifying diverse voices, supporting female led narratives and telling inclusive and empowering stories that have been previously overlooked. Born in Hamburg Germany, Jerry was discovered by his acting agent at 15, starring in his first movie at 18, as one of the leads in the critically acclaimed film SHAHADA, which premiered in the competition at the 60th Berlin International Filmfestival.
You stated that with I am you've raised questions, and you've also given an answer to how German Film can look like; let me tell you that your film lightens up a promising successful future for it, Congratulations as "future starts now"!
Thank you very much!
I'll quote one of your rhetorical questions as it is one that I personally emphasized with: "Can I open up more easily -to an android- because it is not a real human being?" What would be -if many- one of your possible answers to this?
I am not sure if this questions can be answered in general. But as Noé in our short is hesitant at first, she indeed opens up on a level, that might not have happened with a human being. Guild, trust and shame play a different role, when talking to an android. But robots are used already in care for elderly people, and in service positions, where humans might interact differently because it is not a human being. But as our story suggests, robots might become complex beings with a personality and feelings. The question if you should and will treat this being differently will be personal, but has to be answered by us as a society.
Would you tell us more about your attempt to change outdated narratives? What do you actually mean by outdated narratives?
The four of us (the DP, the screenwriter, the producer) strongly believe that there are outdated narratives that should be questioned and tackled. These include all narratives that are problematic, sexist, racist and stereotypical. It is not only about the omnipresence of the white, straight men, it is about inclusivity and diversity, to represent a range of different characters and stories in ways that enhance empathy for different beings, and help to embrace a world of equality and dignity.
I've personally mistaken Melodie Wakivuamina for a real android; I would say is due to a combination of a very talented actress, an outstanding production design plus your great direction. We would love to know whatever you'd like to tell us about this acting- directing experience.
Thank you very much. When we came up with the idea as a team, and the author already had written a great script, we were confronted with a lot of doubts. The doubt if we would find such great black actresses in germany, but also the doubt that this, a living walking feeling android, can be portraid ‚only’ with acting. We were so happy to have found this amazing cast, and me personally, coming from acting myself, I was happy to had the chance to work mit Melodie on a lot of rehearsels on how the android moves, talks, interacts and expresses her emotions. As Ela is developing over time, we also strongly had to build and create this physical and emotional journey. It was a true blessing.