Saturday, 10 October 2015

'Beautiful Nothing': A film about the Krüger Brothers

On a rainy Sunday at the end of September the foyer of the Two Rivers Cinema in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina was - as you might expect - busy with a flow of families and couples arriving to buy tickets for a movie and queueing for popcorn. The foyer then filled with rather well-dressed crowd who waited patiently, chatted amongst themselves and were then invited into the cinema where refreshments would be served before the film began.

This was the U.S. premiere of 'Beautiful Nothing' a film about the Krüger Brothers which had been made by Gabriele Weber and Brigitte Bernhard; otherwise known as 'Dames Don't Care'.

Dames Don't Care
Once seated, the audience were addressed by the Krüger Brothers, the film-makers (Gabriele & Brigitte) and then Elaine Marshall, Secretary of State for North Carolina, who welcomed the audience and spoke warmly of the Krüger Brothers and how they have become a part of North Carolinian cultural life. The film is, in places, very personal yet sensitive and includes conversations with Jens & Uwe Krüger and Joel Landsberg, members of their families as well as their friends and fans. Below is the trailer to the film.

I spoke to Gabriele Weber and Brigitte Bernhard at the post-premiere reception and from that conversation and subsequent emails I asked as few questions:

Gabriele & Brigitte's replies prefixed by DDC (Dames Don't Care)

What drew you to make a film about the Kruger Brothers?
DDC: First of all, we just wanted to make a documentary about music. Our first documentary was about the retro culture in the USA. That was in 2007. And after 4 years we felt like... let‘s do another documentary. We had several ideas, then Brigitte started to play the Banjo and met the Kruger Brothers on a Workshop... and we found our new topic.

She was so impressed about the human beings behind the musicians and heard so many stories from her teacher Hansj, who was a former student of Jens. Actually, we [attended] two concerts [by] the Kruger Brothers long before that and we were very impressed. But that was before they moved to the USA and before we started to make documentaries. So we contacted the Kruger Brothers and told them about our idea and they stood right behind us.

[At the beginning] we did not have a storyboard or a storyline... we just had the idea to show about
the limitless possibilities that can be achieved with courage, passion and single-mindedness.

Were you Bluegrass fans before starting the film?
DDC: [In music] our first love belongs to the era between the 20's and 50's. So we never were Bluegrass fans in particular but music lovers in general.; and we wouldn‘t say that we are specifically Bluegrass fans now. But when we look at the thousands of vinyl records and CDs that we have in our collection, the number of the recording that we have by the Kruger Brothers is only equalled by those Billy Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald.

How long did the film take to complete?
DDC: Brigitte met the Krugers at a Workshop in December 2010 and we started filming in May 2011. In October 2014 we finished the editing process and gave a first screening in November 2014.
Then we had to do some little adjustments and had the premiere in July 2015. After that we started the DVD production and the DVDs manufacture was completed in September 2015. So, it took us all in all, about 5 years. But you have to know, we had our day jobs to do, beside this project. We worked nearly every weekend and spend all our vacations for two years to finish this film.

Will the film be available to buy through your website?
DDC: We think so. But we have to admit, we never thought about the possibility of selling the DVD of 'Beautiful Nothing'  to anyone other than our friends. But after the first screening the Krugers came with the idea to sell DVDs at their concerts and on their website. And before we could think we are now sitting here with 1,000 DVDs. So yes, we will sell DVDs as will the Kruger Brothers. But we need some time to figure out how. But if someone would like to purchase a DVD, send us an e-mail and we will reply as soon as possible.

What is your next project?
DDC: First of all we want to promote the film. You know.. when we finished the film we had a screening in Switzerland for our friends and friends of the Krugers and we thought, 'that's it, finished'.
But then so many people came up with new ideas where and how to screen the film and we thought, 'ok, let‘s do it right' and we contacted "Carolina in the Fall" with the idea to screen the film at the end of the festival as the U.S. premiere and there new friends came up with new ideas.. and here we are with hundreds of ideas. As we did the whole project of our own and with our own money, we have no producer, promoter or distributer to which we are accountable. But besides that, we feel like organizing some new events, as we did in the past. That's our other passion, events in the style of the era between the 20's and 50's.

If you would like to buy a copy of 'Beautiful Nothing': A film about the Krüger Brothers then please contact Dames Don't Care via their website or e-mail.

Finally, here is a recording of the Krüger Brothers playing 'Beautiful Nothing' which gave the fils it's name.