European actor Aljosha Horvat conquers America!

 Aljosha Horvat

In case you haven’t met him yet: this young gentleman’s name is Aljosha Horvat. Don’t be deceived by the unusual name, which even he admits is a mouthful, or his innocent looks. Even if you might not have heard about him yet, this guy is an accomplished actor, having acted in films that were screened on every continent in this world and shows that were sold into more than 120 countries. He is from Germany – and well known at home.

Currently, Aljosha conquers the US. He is on the kid’s show Super Wings, which was nominated for an Emmy. On Tuesday, we finally had the opportunity to sit down with him and talk about where he comes from and where he’s going.

  Aljosha Horvat

By Jessica Caine and Gustavo Dee: How do you pronounce your name?

Aljosha Horvat: It’s three syllables. Al-YO-sha.

What does it mean?

It’s the diminutive of Alexey, which is the Russian version of Alexander.

But you’re not Russian.

Nope, I’m German with Croatian heritage.

Do you speak Croatian?

I do.

And German?

And German.

That’s impressive.

When I first met this one actress at an acting workshop, she spoke this super crisp German with only the slightest accent. But I knew she grew up in the UK and also spoke impeccable French. So I asked her if she considered German her second or third language. She confided that it was actually her fifth language, since she also grew up speaking Romanian and Spanish. (laughs) So there’s someone really impressive.

You Europeans are crazy.

Thank you.

Let’s talk about your career. How many films and shows have you acted in?

Is this a trick question?


I don’t know. 20 maybe.

According to your IMDb it’s 23 titles.

I was close.

How many festivals have your films been to?

Gee, I have no idea. I don’t keep track of that.

More or less than 50?

I don’t know. Something around that number probably.

  Aljosha Horvat

Which of your film was the most successful in terms of festival screenings?

Man, you’re making me feel unprepared for this interview (laughs). I had no idea you guys are so much into raw numbers. Some of my critically more acclaimed films definitely include Beautiful Bitch, Still, With 16 I’ll Be Gone… What else. I’m missing a bunch of them. The Family Keeps it All, Wrong Planet… That’s all I can think of from the top of my head.

Still – that is the WWII drama?

I did a couple of films set in that time. Still is one of them. It was directed by Rick Ostermann and produced by Lars Kraume and Jürgen Vogel. (laughs) During the audition we did a trust exercise on the stage they had in their studio. It was me and 4 other actors and we were asked to sense out the space with our eyes closed. I was really into it but somewhat ambitious. I went too far from the group and fell from the stage. About 4 feet down (laughs).

That is horrible!

Yeah, it hurt pretty bad. But honestly, working with these guys later on set – they were one of the most professional teams I’ve ever worked with. It was a fantastic experience.

Still did very well. It was nominated as best short film at Max Ophüls Film Festival, which is one of Germany’s most prestigious festivals.

Yes, Max Ophüls is huge.

It was nominated not only in Germany, but also in Italy, Poland, Russia, Spain and Austria. It racked up over 10 nominations total and won best short film at both the IFF Ourense and the Bamberger Kurzfilmtage. It also won the second highest rating given out by the German government for evaluating films based on their cultural value.

Yes, that was an immensely gratifying experience. I think we all knew while we were still shooting, that we had something special there. You can feel this on set. When you shoot a bad or mediocre script people are more easily distracted, the team is just not that unified and engaged. At the sets of Still, I remember everyone walking around with flushed faces, excited to be part of telling this story.

Winning that rating was huge. And winning these other prices felt very affirming, too.

You are credited first and play the lead in that film.

That’s right.

Would you say you’re the hero of the story?

(smiles) That is a terrific question. In a sense, yes. The film is about a bunch of kids hiding and waiting out the war in constant danger of being found out by German soldiers. In one scene though we are cutting it very close. Soldiers are just outside our hiding place. A boy starts coughing and while trying to keep him quiet I unintentionally kill him.

That’s pretty dark.

It’s a complex movie.

There are two kinds of ratings given out by that federal German film agency: “worthwhile” and “especially worthwhile”. Still received “worthwhile”. But you acted in another film that received the highest rating.

Yes. With 16 I’ll Be Gone won “especially worthwhile”. That is another film I’m really proud of. It’s about a girl being new in town, trying to find new friends while also dealing with family issues. This film also won the First Steps Award.

Is that the one that’s sponsored by Warner Bros.?

Yes, it’s one of the most coveted awards for newcomers in the German movie industry. I remember reading the email that we won…

With 16 I’ll Be Gone went on winning best foreign film at the Action on Film IFF in California. Was that your first win in the US?

Either that or Beautiful Bitch at Santa Barbara IFF.

Currently you’re in the second season of the animated television show Super Wings.

That’s right.

Now, dear readers, hold on to your seats: Super Wings was nominated for an International Emmy Kids Award!

(laughs) Yes, it was!

Congratulations, that is huge!

Thank you.

Super Wings is internationally produced, so an International Kids Emmy is the highest Award it can receive worldwide. It was one out of only 4 nominees in its category. Did you believe it when you heard it?

It took me a moment to digest the news.

Your family must be very proud.

My mother is supportive, yes.

Super Wings is voiced in New York but animated in South Korea?

Right. It’s a fun show. What’s also nice is that it’s being aired here in the US as well as in Germany.

According to Wikipedia it also airs in China, South Korea, the United Kingdom and Ireland.

That’s right.

Again, congratulations. Being affiliated with an Emmy-nomination must be extremely helpful in getting new roles. Did you receive calls the moment the nominations were out?

(laughs) Yes, I got a bunch of offers after this happened.

So what’s next for you?

I really want to do some theatre. It’s been ages since I last stood on a stage. I also have some new TV projects lined up for later in 2017 and for 2018.

Can you elaborate?

Not quite yet, ask me again in May.

What our readers are dying to know: how did you do it? Over so many years – you started acting in 2006 – how did you manage to make successful film after successful film and end up at the center of the US entertainment industry?

Well, first that’s not true. I did do a bunch of films that didn’t win too much and some, that never even saw the light of day.

Regardless, you have done a huge amount of work. What’s your secret to success and what advice do you have for aspiring actors that dream of someday being where you are today?

My advice is to very carefully choose who you are going to listen and take advice from. You need to find those people that understand what you really want and genuinely mean you well. Important: flattery doesn’t count as good advice.

Also, you have to be aware of what you’re strong at and what you’re not so good at. Be honest about this. Nothing holds you back more than trying to be something you’re not.

“Know thyself”?

All right. Aljosha, thank you for your time.
Sure thing. Thanks for having me.

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