Written & Directed by: Wendla Nölle
After completing high school, Wendla studied media engineering in Hamburg at the University of Applied Sciences with a focus on audio-visual production. During this time, she realized that she would rather work artistically – she wanted to tell stories and express herself visually.
She then enrolled at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg to learn more about visual communication. Among her teachers were Wim Wenders, Fatih Akin and Gerd Roscher, who taught her how to tell cinematic stories. “The Chosen Ones” is her debut film and the culmination of these years of studies. It was produced and directed by Wendla herself without a budget!
But not only have the aforementioned directors had a major impact on her artwork, her experiences outside the film industry have also been a constant source of inspiration. Freelancing in a development aid program for Burmese refugees in Thailand and working as a volunteer in the Orphanage of the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta helped her to develop an understanding for different people and cultures. And it is here that she first felt the desire to tell the stories of people who represent a challenge to her way of thought.
But Wendla is not only a filmmaker but also a musician, and music was the first means she used to communicate her feelings and thoughts. She soon began to realize how songwriting could evoke emotions through images and arrangements, and so her first efforts in the field of visual arts led to a few music and art videos. However, it didn’t take her long to see that making documentaries would offer her an ideal means of telling the stories of those people who impressed her.
Wendla had her first experiences with this genre in New York City, where she worked with different film production companies, and it is there where her debut film is set.
Director of Photography: Kevin Fritz
Born and Bred in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Kevin Fritz started his career on a dairy farm shoveling manure. He describes himself as a Director of Photography that happens to have done a lot of Editing work.
He has had the privilege to produce and edit tractor maintenance videos for the then NEW HOLLAND FORD INTERNATIONAL. Kevin is a graduate of the well-known SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY Newhouse School with a degree in Film. In 1999 Kevin received a scholarship to attend China's prestigious PEKING UNIVERSITY to study Chinese.
He co-produced, shot, and edited the film A DAY AT THE GOAT RACES with fellow filmmakers James Hollenbaugh and Bartek Zytkowiak. While living in Pennsylvania after college Kevin teamed up with a local Chinese professor to edit several Chinese adoption documentaries: MY UNFORGOTTEN DAUGHTER, LOVE WITHOUT BOUNDARIES, among others which have been aired on PBS. This contributed to his return to Beijing as a Documentary Film Instructor at a Beijing University.
While in China, Kevin worked on WASTED ORIENT---a film about rock n’ roll in China---and has continued to make promotional materials for adoption agencies such as the film MISPLACED to teach about the importance of helping China's many orphans.
Kevin is currently working on a 30 minute documentary about primary school education in China entitled PEER IN THE DISTANCE. He was also Director of Photography for Wendla’s documentary THE CHOSEN ONES.
Kevin presently works for FOX TELEVISION in New York City as an Editor. He is in production of a short animation documentary entitled RALPH KNOWS HIS WOMEN: THE STORY OF TIAN YI FU a tale of one Chinese young man's complete pinpointed-ness (sarcasm) on the issue of a woman's role in society, and a man whose job is to coordinate the logistics on shipping the body of deceased foreigners back to their homeland. Kevin is also shooting super 8mm footage for a documentary film by Renny McCauley’s entitled simply, “Drugs”, which follows several drug addicts on their never-ending, directionless journeys.
Kevin's favorite activity is riding his bicycle through the streets of Beijing and misses this now that he resides in New York. He plans to one day ride his bike around the world and make a film about every continent in the process streamed live via the internet.
Additional Photography: Ian Vollmer
Photographer Ian Vollmer graduated with a B.A. from The Evergreen State College.
Cinematography credits include: Being With Me, Wide Awake, Yellow Ox Mountain, Another Lost Angel, and Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens.
He lives and works in New York City and is currently finishing a film about the experience of travel.
Edited by: Christiana Schniebel
Growing up next to the port of Hamburg the narratives and tall tales of sailors and dockworkers stretched the limits of Cristiana’s imagination from an early age.
At 20, she set out to experience some of her own stories, and spent the next 4 years in Greece, the United States, Guatemala, Egypt and Israel. During this period, she eked out a living as a goatherd, in jewellery crafts, as a nude model for painters, as an assistant to a wood sculpture artist, and with Bedouins in the desert. Back in Hamburg, she tried her hand at various careers, such as dancing/instructing dance, and restoring historic buildings.
Finally, she settled on the medium that brings together all her passions: film. As an intern in film production she met film editor Andrew Bird who inspired her to study audio-visual media arts.
Cristiana has worked as a video editor for an independent local TV channel in Hamburg and a German pay-TV channel focused on literature. Along the way, she has edited music videos, short documentaries and short movies.
The Chosen Ones is her first feature-length documentary.
Cristiana is currently based in Berlin, working as a freelance film editor. Her passion lies in documentary and storytelling.
Sound Mixer & Designer: Roman Vehlken
Roman is a Hamburg-based Media Engineer, specialized in Audio-Production. Grown up on the West-German countryside and been awarded his high school diploma in 1999, Hamburg was his first choice to strike a new path – professionally, as well as musically and socially.
From 2001-2005, Roman studied Media Engineering at the University of Applied Sciences in Hamburg, focussing on Audio-Visual Media Production. With these studies, he was able to deepen his interest and to qualify in handling Sound, Images and the associated technical equipment for a diverse field of different media productions. Already during this time, he was capable of participating in numerous Film-, Theatre-, and Radio Play projects as Set Recording Engineer, Sound Designer and Sound Mixer. Simultaneously, he gained experience as Recording Assistent at the Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) in Music Production for Orchestra and Big Band.
Since his graduation, Roman is engaged as a freelance Media Engineer in various areas: among them are Mixing Engineer for Television Documentaries and Feature Films in the Hamburg sound studio sonnenseite studios [hyperlink: www.sonnenseitestidios.de], Sound Engineer for the Norddeutscher Rundfunk radio broadcasting, and technical consultant for Event and Stage Productions (e.g. for the International Shortfilm Festival Hamburg).
Besides his professional interest in the recording and design of sound and audio, Roman likewise and for many years is involved in different bands and projects as a musician.
After a set of fictional short movies, The Chosen Ones was the first full-length Movie-Documentary he participated in as Sound Designer and Mixer. The most interesting challenge in that project was to integrate the documentary character of the project with videoclip-like sequences, adding to the inspiring variety of the partaking protagonists and their respective music.
For more information see www.romanvehlken.com
Sound Recordists: Anna Fenske & Josh Neal
Online Editor & Colorist: Henning Glabbart
Produced by: Wendla Nölle & Anna Fenske