Jochen Alexander Freydank won the Oscar this past February in the best short film category. Since then, life has changed dramatically for the East Berliner.
"…Here I am straight from East Berlin to Hollywood. That was an amazing moment, to be honest," he says.
Freydank's film is "Toyland," a 14 minute short set in 1942. It tells the story of a German mother who must tell her son that their Jewish neighbors are going on a trip to "Toyland".
One morning the Jewish family is gone, and so is her son. The mother desperately tries to find her little boy, and her search ends in a surprising twist.
Freydank co-wrote the screenplay. He was inspired by being a parent himself.
"How can you explain horrible things to children…I switch off the news sometimes when I watch it with my son. I don't know what I would have told my son 70 years ago."
"You have to protect children from all this horror, but on the other hand you should be honest to your child and that's the conflict of the mother in the story."
The 41 year old director has been offered German and American movie scripts since he won the Oscar, one out of 20 awards he has received worldwide. After receiving such acclaim, it's hard to believe that he was actually rejected from film school… six times.
"They didn't accept me," he says. "That's the point. And I was working a lot, even at the time when I applied at film schools I was working as an assistant director and editor."
"I think it's the most important thing for your career. I think working within the business at whatever kind of position helps a lot."
Freydank's film "Toyland" screens on May 3rd at the Jewish Film festival in Berlin.
It's also on You Tube.