Behind the Production of the Documentary/Narrative Hybrid 'The Circle'

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Stefan Haupt's The Circle tells the true-life story of a gay couple who contributed to a groundbreaking underground Swiss gay magazine called Der Kreis (The Circle). The film is a hybrid documentary and narrative, with the flashback scenes of the 1930s through '60s fictionalized, and featuring real contemporary interviews with central figures Ernst Ostertag and Röbi Rapp. It's a decision that Haupt admits was based on financial reasons--they didn't have all the financing to shoot the entire film as a narrative.

"It should have been a fiction film all the way through and to be honest, I normally don’t like that format that much," Haupt tells The Moveable Fest. "Very often, I’ll feel they made a documentary and it was too boring, so they reenacted scenes to make it look bigger. I started to realize that with us it was a different process. It was forced on us through money, but now I’m happy about it. I really wanted to [have] fiction and documentary that didn’t overlap too much in the meaning and that the two levels have the same importance somehow, so I learned from other people that had done this before and we came up with the idea of editing the documentary parts first. Then with a cameraman, I would go very closely to each point where we change [from documentary to drama] and look how could we make [the transition] as smooth as possible. We also [paid attention] to what was being said and the sound levels, so that we interweave it as much as possible. Our aim was that at the end, you forget which side you are on and it’s just one film."

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