KATHARINA ANASTASIA HINGST
By MILA FIGUET
"I wanted to make people aware of the fact that periods are something women go through every month and we still manage to do all these incredible amazing things"
Tell me about you- How did you get into film?
My name is Katharina and I’m 29. I think I fell into film. I’m not one of those people who wanted to be a director when they were 9. I kind of always knew what I didn’t want to do. I started studying marketing in Berlin and I didn’t like the advertising agencies that I saw, because of the way they were. However, I really thought it was interesting how they manipulate you when you watch commercials and I got really interested in how they actually made an advertising film.
That’s how I got interested in filmmaking. I got an internship right after finishing college with a production company here in Berlin, that did commercials. I wanted to see how they made it and then I thought I was going to move on and do something completely different but I ended up just really liking it. But I also knew I didn’t want to be in the production office, I wanted to be on the floor, making the film.
Then I transferred to be an AD on the Grand Budapest Hotel, which was a quite intense job and probably on of the hardest job to start of with. I completely fell into the cold water. Then I met my boss, who asked me to come and do some work in England so I just got more experienced on set, working on films.
Now that I’ve worked in the industry for about 7 years I’ve hit the point where I have to do my own projects cause I fell like I have a lot I want to say. That’s why I kind of quit my career, and started working in film in London, making some money while I wrote my first short film.
How did this idea came about?
The idea came about because I was about to loose my mind, thinking about the fact that I could not finish anything. When I’m really into something, anything that I really commit myself to usually lasts about three weeks. And then there is always this one moment where I question everything, and just give everything up. It’s a really occurring pattern that I have and it’s so frustrating cause if you talk about projects you want to do and you keep not finishing them you just start to almost stop believing yourself. You become this person that you hate. So I just sat down and I knew I was going to try and write something personal to start telling a story.
Now I have one girl, one location, no dialogues, something really visual.That combines with the little crisis I had trying to think of me as a drive and the reason why can’t I ever do anything that I want to do? I just came to realize it’s kind of phases. I am really hard on myself and it’s been such a handicap in relationships, and in my job; because if you have to deal with people, and you get incredibly irrational and you can’t control yourself then it messes with your life. But no one really accepts it and there is no dialogue about it and also not any acceptance. It’s always just a “oh she’s fucking moody”. It’s not anything anyone wants to talk about. I just wanted to make people aware of the fact that periods are something women go through every month and we still manage to do all these incredible amazing things.
We are still really underrepresented in the industry and we still don’t get paid the same. At the same time it’s not only that we have to struggle with but on top of being a complete hormone mess once a month you still have to control yourself not to give up. And that was just the main thing for me, not to give up this time.
It’s your first film. What are your expectations? Are you afraid of the audience’s reaction?
I think I’m not so much afraid of the audience as in random people that might watch it. My goal is to create awareness that there is something beyond what we know about what comes with periods and that people don’t speak about it.
I was just talking to a friend about PMS and she just then realized that she had PMS for her entire life. She just didn’t ever think about it as something related to her periods. She literally put one and one together because we were talking about making this film. I’m hopping that this might be the fact for lots of people that goes watch the film thinking that there is a pattern that makes them go crazy every month.
As I’ve raised a lot of money I do have this pressure now that I really want to make it not for myself only but also for all the participants. I don’t want to disappoint them but at the same time I’m aware that this is my first film. This is my main goal: I just want to make it as real as it can get, stick to this actual story that I want to tell.
Adwoa Aboah launched a platform called Gurls Talk, and women are showing their armpits hair on the Internet. You are making a film about periods. Do you believe there is a new concept of womanhood rising up?
Yes of course. I think it’s time to speak up. It’s a feminist movement that is very different from my feminism. I’m not that radical.
I think it’s great that people are starting to look at all these topics from a really artistic point of view but at the same time I don’t want to see this as a trend. I hope it’s not just a trend that is cool for now. Even Dior makes shirts saying “future feminism”! You can see that the fashion industry has picked it up. I want to make something more meaningful, that may last. Because to me it is way more than just a picture that I post on a platform to get likes or shares, this is not why I’m doing it or why I want to make films in the first place. I love that there is so many women involved now that we can connect so easily. I found a lot of my crew through Instagram because I liked their work. We got in touch and it’s just an incredible time to take advantage of it.
It’s also inspiring cause you can see what others are doing, the fact that you can just take it to the next step or interpret it your own way to maybe look at it from a different angle and inspire others. That’s what makes it a collaboration. This is why I think we all grew so much more as women.
I met you through Instagram. What do you think about the apparition of this social network? Do you think this platform can redefine visual arts?
Yes, kind of. Along the lines of what I’ve said before, I think it really depends on how you use it. I think that society will have to adapt to and work with it because it has changed so much how we live our lives. Social media has become such a massive part of us. Especially for the teen generation. One has to be very aware of the fake of it all. It is an opportunity but it’s also a pretty big head-fuck.
Now you have on your feed a massive amount of contents, everyone obviously always looking perfectly dressed and shaped and you have access to not only your own people but celebrities who obviously have all the money to do whatever they want to do. And you think that this is the reality that you should be living in but it’s not. So in terms of finding people that have really cool projects and making art I think it’s important, and nice. I kind of use it now as Pinterest. You just look through stuff and you can find really cool artists. If you’re old and mature enough to look at it for what it is and you actually get that it’s not all real, then that’s great. But I think kids need to be prepared for it, there should be some sort of intervention from a very early age on saying, “This is social media, this is what it does and this is the bullshit of it” just to actually create awareness.
Everything is now ran through Instagram, even if you’re trying to find an actress or a model for something, all the agencies say that as a model you have to have so many followers and if you don’t then you’re nothing. I am really against all of that. As long as you keep it straight ahead and you don’t get drawn into this stupid virtual reality that we’ve created then it’s fine.
When did you get your first periods? How was this first woman experience?
I was very early with everything. I was a swimmer back in the days so I had to go train every week and I just know that lots of girl had started to get their periods because they were older. So they would have these days where they would come to practice but they would constantly complain about stuff that I never really got. My best friend and I used to read this teen magazine in which there was a section where Doctor Zorma spoke about all these kinds of questions teenagers have and told them how to deal with life. I learned everything about periods and I just wanted to have it to get over it and be one of the bigger girls.
So my periods just came one day and I didn’t really know what to do because my mum was going through menopause when I was going through puberty so we didn’t have those essentials linings around anymore. And I never spoke to her about it, it was embarrassing and I just didn’t want to. So I went to get pads and I used them and I hated them but I just didn’t know how to use a tampon, I was so embarrassed to ask anyone. So I gave it a try and it hurt so much, it was so uncomfortable. I kept taking it out every time I had to pee cause I didn’t understand their were just different holes.
One day I had swim practice and I had my period, and I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to pretend like I knew how to use tampons but then I had to keep going to the bathroom. One of the girls, who was a bit older, was in the bathroom and I just came out and she was like “What’s wrong with you?”. I just told her and ask her how you do it. She explained too me that you could just leave it in. You take it out when it’s full. You’ll know.
That’s when I first learn how to use a tampon.
I am supposed to do an article about girls living in Berlin. You’re not but what kind of friendship do you maintain with this city?
It’s my home. I am adopted so for me it’s always really hard to find that one place that is home and I always feel really detached from everything around me. I am always a bit of a rolling stone. That’s why I travel a lot and I meet a lot of people. Berlin is where I feel the most grounded and yet the most distress as well. My friends are here and that’s the main thing so I always come back to Berlin.
I always feel like I will come back and can’t really get away from it. Even though when I was leaving here I wanted to leave all the time. And now that I don’t live here anymore I want to come back all the time. It’s this general on/off relationship that you have. Berlin is real. This is something that I always think of when out in the world. People are not bullshit people. Especially when you talk about stuff like social media, we all do it and we’re all part of it but we have a bit more of reality left and meaning.