Who are you and what’s your filmmaking background?
My name is Fi Dieter and I am an award-winning Austrian filmmaker. I am the writer, director and editor of Cinder Pumpkin (2014). I began acting in theater and commercials at an early age and then worked as an assistant editor for a production company in Mexico City at age 14. I’ve been cutting films, music videos, commercials and corporate videos ever since. My love for acting led me to discover my sensibility for directing. I’ve always had an inclination for narrative storytelling and often find myself in need of creating. I consider my films a way of inviting people inside my head, and hope that through my films they will see life in a way they never did before.
I draw inspiration from my own experiences and consider myself first and foremost a dreamer and an advocate for female filmmakers. In 2013, I co-founded Prince of Arabia Entertainment with my fiancee along with my own post production banner, StedicaFilm.
What are you working on right now?
I am in the development stage of a three-part saga based on a new take on the origins of Merlin the wizard, titled Extraordinaire. It is a fantasy comedy with two endearing, magical characters whose major flaw is their inability to work together in times when their unity might make or break a kingdom. The production companies behind the films, Prince of Arabia Entertainment and StedicaFilm, are currently looking to raise the necessary funds to be able to take Extraordinaire: Part One into production this upcoming Spring of 2015. At the same time, I’m in development for a neo-noir feature film in the style of Gone Girl, titled Darling Dearest.
What are you promoting?
I am excited to introduce my 16 minute, romantic high school drama, Cinder Pumpkin to a global audience. Based on a true story, the film explores the importance of individuality and taking chances. In 2014, Cinder Pumpkin won Best Student Drama at the International Family Film Festival at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, Best Student Film at the California Women’s Film Festival and has been Official Selection in more than 10 festivals including the prestigious LA Shorts Fest, the Playhouse West Film Festival, and the Women’s Director International Film Festival in New Delhi, India.
What do you want the audience to take away from your films?
I am a firm believer that when you embrace specificity in your work, it has the power to touch people universally so I tend to always incorporate a little “secret message” of sorts that transcends after the credits roll. Cinder Pumpkin, for example, is dedicated to all the girls who like myself went through difficult times standing up for who they are in a world that constantly looks to suppress individuality. I want everyone who watches my films to feel empowered and inspired to not only be themselves, but also be their best selves.
What’s your favorite story from filmmaking?
I especially enjoy film competitions such as the 48 Hour Film Project. I push myself to compete in at least one or even two of them every year with my beloved filmmaking family.
What are your wildest dreams for your filmmaking career?
If you were to ask me what gets me out of bed each day, I’d tell you it is my desire to be remembered. I want my life’s work to be an example of perseverance, artistic sensitivity and strength that hopefully helps raise the voice of female filmmakers in the industry. Times are changing faster than ever before and there has never been a better time to take action than now, if we really want to be heard.
What is something bizarre about you?
I have very good memory, especially for songs. I’ve even learned lyrics in Arabic, Russian and Korean just by phonetics and sing without knowing what I’m saying. I am not ashamed to admit that I can actually sing “Let It Go” in 25 different languages.
What currently inspires you?
Every morning I look at a quote I wrote back in high school pasted next to my bathroom mirror. It says “It depends on what you do today, to get where you deserve to be tomorrow” and it has been true for me every single day. I also turn to my family for strength and support. Even though they live in another country, I call my parents practically every day. This is extremely important for me because not only does it remind me where I came from, but it also puts me back on track whenever I’m doubting myself. My mother is a true fighter who always taught me to dream big and my father is simply the person I want to be the most proud of me in life.
What’s your best advice for an aspiring filmmaker?
Never underestimate the power of asking and never be afraid or ashamed to do so. The worst that can happen is you’ll get a “no” but you would be surprised how often you might just get a “yes”. Furthermore, a good boss always remembers the power of gratitude towards their cast and crew. They are the foundation holding up your production and sometimes the smallest details can make a huge difference. Never forget to provide them with a well-deserved meal and a sincere thank you.
The Audience Awards is film’s social network connecting audiences to films, filmmakers, film schools and film festivals. The Audience Awards hosts short film competitions where the audience chooses the best films.