“Der Wolf”

So I wanted to make a World War II period piece for my 2nd 16mm film at UNCGreensboro.  I may have watched one too many war films and I do believe my favorite back then was “Apocalypse Now,” so I was highly motivated to actually make one. I had a story, I had the equipment, I had the crew, I had the actors, and I had the locations.
The story writing process took only a few weeks and I compiled the ideas that me and the 2 lead actors had come up with.
“Der Wolf” is about a lone German sniper dying of TB while he waits for enemy soldiers to wander in his secter. It is basically a poetic piece, as the main viewpoint we hear is from the sniper in the form of narrated journal entries.

For this film I graduated to the CP-16 synch sound 16mm film camera and I got to use 400′ reels (about 10 minutes of 24fps film time) for the first time.


Sound was captured on Quarter inch magnetic tape on a device called a Nagra. We used a shotgun boom to mic our sound.


The crew was made up of my fellow film school compatriots whom I had developed good working relationships with up to that point. Production went wonderfully fast, even though we were a day behind schedule just looking for appropriate rifles from the WWII era. We found them and were on our way. Everything went great until I got the footage back. Wonderful blue scratches were present on a few of the shots from a few different scenes. Looking back on it, it really wasn’t a bad thing and I wished I had actually used the crazy scratched up footage now, but back then I wanted to avoid mistakes like that since I had first experienced these sorts of problems on “Static.” Needless to say I scheduled a re-shoot and had the entire thing in the can.

Der Wolf2

Final Cut Pro had just dropped and we got a few new mac G4’s with the software at school. None of the professors knew how to use it, so a handful of us students and grad students got together and proceeded to teach it to ourselves. Other than having to learn a new way to edit, the process wasn’t nearly as bad as one could expect and within a few weeks projects were being copied to miniDV tape and then dubbed down to VHS for departmental screenings at the end of the year. “Der Wolf” was well received, but I was ready to go to much weirder territory in my next film, “F-2.”

I have included a copy of the script along with a link to the finished film. They vary a great length due to what was available. Originally I thought I was going to have access to an old mill by a railroad, but opted instead to use a very cool looking barn in an isolated location. Though now, all these years later, I seem to remember having trouble with the sounds of a nearby blacksmith shop to contend with. Anyway, we got it and it turned out pretty well despite the script to screen differences.

Link to script:

Der Wolf


Link to finished film:


About filmmakerjk

JK :: Films is a full service video production company specializing in commercials, music videos, documentaries, events, short/feature length films and more. Jesse Knight has been an active filmmaker since 1995 when he made his first film at the North Carolina School of the Arts during its Filmmaking Summer Immersion Program. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro's Broadcasting and Cinema Masters Program he continued to make films while teaching at the College level. In 2009 he began Jesse Knight Films and has been servicing production needs of Western North Carolina and the surrounding area. Through the journey of life I have been creating worlds within my imagination. My outlets have been painting, drawing, writing, sculpture, photography, etc... Filmmaking is the culmination of many crafts, which intrigued me and has convinced me that it is the ultimate art-form and the best vehicle for bringing visions to life. I picked up a camera a long time ago and haven't put it down since.
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