Indie Shorts Awards Cannes

“…the worth of the idea never becomes apparent until you do it. Sometimes this idea can be the smallest thing in the world, a little flame that you hunch over and cup with your hand and pray it will not be extinguished by all the storm that howls about it. If you can hold on to that flame great things can be constructed around it that are massive and powerful and world changing – all held up by the tinniest of ideas.” - Nick Cave

Maureen Payne-Hahner, Annemette Andersen and Liv Hahner

Maureen is an American director living in Germany. BRUME is her first short film. Maureen has directed professionally for the stage 15+ years. Her work has been seen in NYC, London, Chicago, Munich, Austria, Zagreb and Cleveland before switching to film. She founded WIN: Writers Innovative Network which shepherds new writing by both new and established voices. Her passion has always been film. During the pandemic lockdown she completed a rigorous, online Women´s Leadership Program through the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford which encouraged her to transfer her directing skills to the screen. Other education includes Yale School of Drama (Assistant Director, Summer Cabaret), The Conservatory at Steppenwolf Theatre (Chicago), and 15+ years of The Sanford Meisner Method. Maureen cherishes cinema and every detailed step of planning that goes into making a film, she respects anyone who gets out there and creates work for the screen, and she can’t imagine doing anything else except creating and collaborating with other dedicated storytellers. Maureen is pre-production for her second short film set for May 2023.

 Born and raised in Denmark. Resides in NYC. Graduate of The National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, Washington DC. Former resident Hedgerow Theatre, PA., Company member Tim Robbins’ The Actors’ Gang, LA. Intl. TV Credits: NETFLIX Original Series THE RAIN. Danish Network. TV2 series NORSKOV,  DR1 series FOLLOW THE MONEY. She is the voice of Inga Arvad in the upcoming documentary series KENNEDY. A member of SAG-AFTRA, AEA, DSF, UK Equity. Board Member of Scandinavian American Theater Company in NYC.

Liv Hahner is currently an undergrad student with a German-American background, set to complete her studies in 2023. She has studied acting through various workshops and performances, however most extensively throughout her final two years in high school, where she enjoyed writing, directing, and performing her own pieces, as mandated by the curriculum. Her interest in film began at a young age, yet it was really through her high school experience that she realised how invested she was in the craft. She hopes to work in cinema in the future.

Maureen, in your biography, you mentioned that you have a long history of directing professionally for the stage in many different cities. What are the main differences when directing actors on the stage and for the screen? Did switching to filmmaking come along with co-developing and editing scripts for the screen?
A primary difference between working with actors for film is that there is far less rehearsal time. I think for the medium of film this is a good thing because it requires astute casting. Most directors can sense whether an actor will respond quickly to their character based on something as simple as a read-through of the script. You have to trust your instincts. However, directing actors for many years for the stage has taught me more than I could ever glean from a classroom. Each actor is different and of all things I have learned, each has their own process. You have to get out of their way, and allow them the freedom to invest in their journey, but remain very self-assured to guide when needed with a steady hand, supporting them in every way.

Yes, indeed, switching to filmmaking came along with co-developing and editing scripts for the screen. I am very hands on as an editor when working with writers and their scripts. I love the process because through it, it strengthens the writer-director relationship. Sometimes I will suggest an edit, and the writer will respond: “This is in there because of x,y,z” and in turn, beautifully clarifying the story point and thus, I can simply respond: “Then put that in the script.” I am very efficient in cutting away the extraneous and getting down to the marrow of a story; however, writers are both hard working and very passionate. Collaborations of this nature take time, but it is certainly worth it. You learn to become an even better listener, encouraging the director to remain creatively fluid.
Liv, the role you played along with the dog is a key symptom of the seriousness of the situation going on in the film. How was the experience of playing this non-verbal portrayal of the utmost importance for the storytelling?
Overall it was a good experience, but it can always be tricky given the subject matter. Every person’s experience with their own mental health is unique, so it was important not to bring too much ‘drama’ to the scene. It is meant to represent as much as it possibly can, which it never can to an absolute extent, but we wanted to generate an understanding with the audience on how the issue is significant, to both the story and to the circumstances the girl with the dog was in.