An act of violence forces a young mother and her 3-year-old son to flee across wintry Austria. On her journey she has to face responsibility and eventually realizes that we all leave traces in the lives of others, whether we want or not. A story of liberation.

Director’s Vision for ‘Wishaway’

Isn’t it the invisible things, the lost things, that have so much mass, so much weight and are as big as the universe?

The short film WISHAWAY reflects human primal forces not just because of its themes of violence, guilt, responsibility and heredity, but it is its focus on the intimate, authentic relationship between a mother and her son that makes up its special strength. The possibility to portray the essence of this natural unity in a microcosm and to put it to the test in the context of our film and thus give it a universal point of contact was one of the motivations for me to make this film.

Even if the starting point of the story – the act of violence – is not explicitly presented, the viewer should get an idea of why Franziska committed this act, what kind of person she was and, above all, what kind of person she is now about to become due to her actions.
In my narrative I focus on the inner conflicts and transformations, the experience of new realities during the trip. WISHAWAY is not about what can be seen or verbalized, but about what is felt. The invisible that complements or even conditions the visible.

Is Franziska’s act just the logical consequence of years of abuse by her partner, or is it an actual act of liberation? Will the experiences of violence that Elias had at a young age have a formative influence on his character and development? Will he become a perpetrator himself, or can his mother avert this by taking him out of the inevitable equation? And did she not also traumatize him because he apparently witnessed what she did and is now exposed to her emotions? How will Franziska deal with the guilt that she took away her son’s father? What will Franziska do when she realizes that she herself is probably the greatest danger to her son? Before Elias, Franziska has to find a language and if it only serves to say goodbye to him.

And Elias, too, has to find words for what he is going through, even if they are childlike. The mystery he is perpetually confronted with, due to his age but also the extreme situation he is exposed to, lets his mind wander and wonder – expressed in the voice overs and the abstract images over the course of the film. Hocus. Pocus. Wishaway. For Elias, these 3 magical words carry all the weight of the invisible things, the lost things, and hold the key to his future.

For WISHAWAY I needed authentic, psychologically realistic acting. In order to be able to implement exactly that, I started looking for the right partners, for the best possible cast for this story. I found them in my sister Agnes and her son Elias. I had wanted to work with both of them for a long time and I am very grateful that Agnes gave us the opportunity to observe the authentic connection to her son and to be able to record it within the given situations.

Equally important to me was a strong, independent cinematic language that always visually approximates inner states, is constantly in motion to correspond to the form of a road movie and thus has a “floating”, flowing quality that reflects the fragility of the relationships and emotions portrayed. The third level that contributes to the experience of inner conditions are the score and sound design. Johannes Molz was able to render what I wanted to tell into music and sounds that function as a direct emotional utterance of my protagonists on a subconscious and thus impactful and effective level without being manipulative – they are utterly truthful.

I am fully aware of the risks I am taking with my creative choices, however, I am convinced that there is no other way of portraying authentic emotions and touching the viewers other than by relentlessly laying bare the inner works of human relationships and making visible the magic and mysteries that are the foundation of our everyday.

WISHAWAY is a road movie and station drama that steers in a certain direction like a vector and shows two people who, self-determined and consciously, escape the shadows that seek to catch up with them, in order not to become one of these shadows themselves.