Interview with the costume designer Sieglinde Michaeler (FILM PROFESSIONALS from Southtirol)

Sieglinde Michaeler has already collaborated with BLS (Buisness Location Südtirol) productions for what concerns the costume design for films. More specifically, her latest work can be seen in "Die Fugger", "To Be King" und "Die schwarzen Brüder", in which she was co-responsable for the characters´look. This interview introduces Southrirol´s most famous costume designer.

Before starting her career as a costume designer in the theatre and in films, Sieglinde Michaeler studied fashion design in Milan. Since then, she has collaborated on more than 150 productions ever since.

Mrs Michaeler, how did you get to the world of film-making?
In 2002, a film director from Brixen/Bressanone needed costumes for his film "Muro di vetro". It represented a new challenge for me, since I had always only worked for the theatre! After that, thanks to the work I did for the documentary "Ein ladinisches Wintermärchen" I got in contact with BLS and I started collaborating with them.

Is there a difference between making costumes for the theatre or for the film?
There is no big difference, the creative process is the same: I read the script or the screenplay, discuss it with the director and try to understand his/her ideas and wishes about the costumes. After, I develop ideas and adapt them to each actor, drawing the sketches. I often search for existing costumes in theatres and try to readjust them, or I sew my own from scratch. Next, the costumes are being tried on. Every time, the challenging part is to recognize the actor´s role through the costume, while having in mind the audience´s taste. My love for details is especially noticeable in films because thanks to the close-up shot the viewer can observe every small detail of my work.

Which actor or which kind of film you would like to design costumes for?
I really like the colours, elegance and abundance of costumes present in historical costume dramas. I was always fascinated with fashion history and I also had the possibility to make the most of my aesthestic competences in several theatre productions. I would like to design the costumes for a fantasy film like "The Chronicles of Narnia", where I would be given the chance to work with special fabrics, materials and techniques which are non commonly used. This would allow me to fully express my creativity, which would obviously be highly satisfying. As far as the actors are concerned, it would be a honour to work with Meryl Streep and John Malkovich.

What characterizes Southtirol as a film location?
South Tyrol has a lot to offer: a wonderful landscape with mountains and lakes, a rough and Mediterrean weather, picturesque towns, perfectly conserved historical buildings and monuments. It is the gate between North and South, which can be noticed from each field of everyday life -there are two different languages in use, extremely varied cuisine, a big choice of cultural activities and also different economic sectors. In South Tyrol, various film productions would find professional services even from the smallest local businesses. Furthermore, the film sector has developed positively over the last years in South Tyrol, which brought on even the media. Because of that, the people of South Tyrol have noticed a new energy being created thanks to the film sector´s interest in the region. The dynamic developement in this sector has influenced my work as a costume designer. I am receiving more requests for collaboration in films and of course, I hope that these requests will continue to grow in the future.