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Short synopsis

With no memories of his past the puppet Fredelius awakes in the film workshop of his creator. Fredelius – innocent and kindhearted – soon has to realize that he was only built to play the role of a super villain. Will his new consciousness help him change the course of things?


Film typeAnimation, Narrative fiction, Student Film
Genre Spy film, Action, Drama
Animation technique Stop motion
Country of origin Germany
Dialog, language German dialog
Subtitles English
Runtime 19:52 min
Film school Hochschule Mainz (Germany)
Completion date April 2019
Facebook www.fb.com/dertoddesfilmemachers
Director’s contactCornelius Koch
10709 Berlin, Germany
koch.cornelius @ gmail.com

In an explosive mixture of arthouse and genre cinema “Der Tod des Filmemachers” (Death of the Filmmaker) tells a parable of free will and self-determination. The puppet becomes aware of its own structure and role. From then on it tries to rebel against it. In the movie content and form are tightly interwoven. This way a special style is created: During the journey into the miniature world the aspect of artificiality is always present and drives the plot. The intrigue of the project lies in the mixture of playful experimentation with the medium and conventions of genre as well as the reflection of self-determination and fatalism.

The voices of Fredelius, Chris and Tanja are spoken by the German voice actors of George Clooney (Detlef Bierstedt), Nicolas Cage/Vin Diesel (Martin Keßler) and Cameron Diaz (Kathrin Fröhlich).

Voice cast
Fredelius - Detlef Bierstedt
Chris Cleeve - Martin Keßler
Tanja Titow - Katrin Fröhlich
1. Scientist: Viktor Neumann
2. Scientist: Lutz Schnell
Merc 1: Tim Sander
Merc 2: Marcel Collé
Merc 3: Oliver Feld

Performing actor
Filmemacher - Mika Metz

Festival dates, awards and nominations

19th SHORTS - Trinationales Filmfestival am Oberrhein
April 2019 Offenburg, Germany
Nomination for Best Animated Film

31th Filmfest Dresden International Short Film Festival
April 2019, Dresden, Germany
Nomination for National Film Award

3rd Arc Filmfestival
April 2019, Mainz, Germany
Winner of Rhineland-Palastinate New Comer Film Award

48th Molodist – Kyiv International Film Festival
May/June 2019, Kyiv, Ukraine
Outside competition program “Long Night of German Short Films”

29th World Festival of Animated Film - Animafest Zagreb
June 2019, Zagreb, Croatia
Nomination Grand Competition Short Film

13th RiFF – River Film Festival
June 2019, Padova, Italy
Competition Short Film

15th FEST – New Directors | New Films Festival
June/July 2019, Espinho, Portugal
Nexxt Competition

Studio Hamburg Nachwuchspreis (award for new talents)
June 2019, Hamburg, Germany
Nomination for „Best Shortfilm“

26th OpenEyes Filmfest
July 2019 in Marburg, Germany
Winner Section Animation

2nd Betina Film Festival
September 2019 in  Betina, Croatia
Competition Animated Film

26th KROK International Animated Film Festival
September 2019 in St. Petersburg/Moscow
Competition Program

16th PROVINZIALE - Filmfest Eberswalde
October 2019 in Eberswalde, Germany
Competition Animated Film

18th FILMZ – Festival des deutschen Kinos
November 2019 in Mainz, Germany
Local Shortfilm Competition

43rd CINANIMA - International Animated Film Festival of Espinho – Portugal
November 2019, Espinho, Portugal
International Grand Panorama – Student Films

27rd Blicke Filmfestival des Ruhrgebiets
November 2019, Bochum, Germany
Ausblick Film Competition

Shivers Filmfestival
November 2019, Konstanz, Germany
Short Film Competition

36th video/film tage
November 2019, Mainz, Germany
Festival Competition

30th Bamberger Kurzfilmtage
January/February 2020, Bamberg, Germany
Animex Competition

February 2020, Jelenia Góra, Poland
Competition Animation


Behind the Scenes – Exhibition of Grand Competition – Short Film Authors
05.06-08.06 2019 KIC Gallery, Zagreb

Cornelius Koch has realized a clever, innovative and funny animation in which he focuses on the effects of storytelling itself. The film is full of surprises and plays with film genres and realities. Visually impressive with excellent scenography, the work is richly peppered with attention to detail.

Jury-Statement Arc Filmfestival 2019

I'm really thrilled. The movie has everything I love about stop motion: rough built characters, dark atmosphere, great surreal ideas like the inclusion of the replacement mouths in the action, great camera, great light. Congratulations!

Christopher Lauenstein, Academy Award winning director via eMail

The German stop-motion film "Death of the Filmmaker" is the graduation film of the animation artist Cornelius Koch, who plays with the film genre on a formal and narrative level. In his story, including good humour, he deals with old-fashioned stereotypes and, with his mixing technique and up-cycling process, he makes us aware of the strong materiality of cinematic creation. Score 8/10

Doreen Matthei on Testkammer.com


"Death of the Filmmaker" is an ambitious stop-motion, almost a one-man-show. A homage to action films and to its very own form of production at the same time, in the full awareness that the exaggerations in the script and the imperfection in the sequences of movements are visible, perhaps even appear trashy to some. But it is precisely this completely conscious transparency of one's own activity that makes "Death of the Filmmaker" so special, so intimate, so full of passion. And makes it as self-ironic as it would have been good for the competition entries looking to the future, for example.

Marie Ketzscher on Berliner-Filmfestivals.de

“Der Tod des Filmemachers” (Death of the Filmmaker) is a stop motion-animation with puppets. The film is Cornelius Koch’s graduate project to complete his master in media design studies at Hochschule Mainz, Germany. The project was partly funded by the Nachwuchsmedienförderung Rheinland-Pfalz and successfully completed a crowdfunding campaign. The production was taken up in 2014 and finished in 2018.

fred köpfeWith the help of the stop motion technique the dead puppets were brought to life. This nearly archaic method of film production is paired with the possibilities of digital image manipulation. Yet the main focus lies on trying to shot as much as possible in an analogue style – “in camera” so to speak – to fully take advantage of the technical possibilities of photography.

The birth of the puppets
First the skeleton of the puppet was made with a ball and socket armature, then the puppets were covered with foam and dressed in clothes that were sewed specially for them. Silicon was used to create the effect of moving flesh. To be able to have a great variety of facial expressions a modular replacement method was employed which allows a quick change of faces and mouths. Another special feature of the movie is the human sized doll of the dead filmmaker, which was made by the professional make-up artist Ina Chochol using the lifecast technique. This way the “corpse” could sit in the filmset for months and become an accessible object for the animation puppets.

Set design
From 2014 to 2017 a new world was created on the ground of an industrial estate, a former tank factory, in Mainz-Mombach. On the one hand the set design was inspired by well known spy movies, on the other hand the industrial estate in Mainz influenced the look. With regard to a low-cost production upcycling was the best method to design the set. This way a lot of the film props for the industrial film interior could be found in the surroundings. For example a part of a dishwasher was transformed into an acid tank and a fire extinguisher was made into an atomic bomb. Tools and paint as well as the change of the perspective to the 1:9 scale made this possible.


Portfolio by Cornelius Koch

The filmmaker Cornelius Koch was born in 1988 in Berlin-Wilmersdorf. With only twelve years he started experimenting with animated films. The archaic technique of stop motion animation has never ceased to fascinate him – be it in the form of LEGO minifigures, Barbie dolls, silhouette animation or Claymation.

From 2009 to 2013 he studied film studies and philosophy at the University of Mainz. He then went on to do his masters in media design studies at the Hochschule Mainz which he completed in 2018. He shares his passion for animation by giving workshops throughout Germany and seminars at the university.


The Job (2005, stop motion, 8’)
Rübermachen (2008, stop motion, 2’)
Cité Concrète (2011, experimental, 9’)
iWater (2015, stop motion, 10’)
TubeHeads.avi (2015, live action, 8’)
Der Tod des Filmemachers (Death of the Filmmaker) (2019, stop motion, 20’)

michael metzIn memory of
The movie “Der Tod des Filmemachers” (Death of the Filmmaker) is dedicated to the actor Mika Metz, who played the role of the filmmaker and died during production.