Number of Silence is a mystery-thriller web series with sci-fi elements. It melds alternative realities, a fictitious metropolis, disappearing satellites and more in a bustling mystery that sends protagonists Nina Novak, Jan Berg and Viktor Glass on a quest to learn the truth about their reality. As they uncover the different layers, they realise their lives and memories have been altered, and that their seemingly different lives are all connected.

“The visual style of Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch were definitely an inspiration for our series, and maybe a little bit of Franz Kafka,” said Csongor Dobrotka & Beate Bambauer. “Also the French cinema with Alain Delon.” The result is a suspense-filled series, with an unpredictable and captivating narrative.

Do you believe in alternate realities?
In our minds we all live in alternative realities sometimes. For example: We all have an imagination of our own future. This idea is a result of all the things we are able to imagine. But when this future arrives – it is not like we thought it would be. So at this point you have two timelines: the real one and the imaginary one from your past. And you have so many alternative “realities” alongside everyone else on earth. This thought experiment was one of the inspirations for the storyline of our series.

What is digital media culture like in Germany?
In Germany the digital media culture, including web series, is a quite new movement. In the last few years it has grown rapidly. The first festival for digital and independent series was founded in June 2015, called “Die Seriale” in our hometown Giessen. This festival was dedicated to content in German language. The first international festival “Webfest Berlin” was founded in September 2015. And this year we will have a third festival with “Wendie Webfest” in Hamburg.

What do you want audiences to take away from your series?
To think twice about things and to question everything.

How do you reach your audience?
Our website, Vimeo, YouTube, social media and screenings in local cinemas or locations/events.

What is your favourite thing about making web series?
What we like most about it is to have the time and the freedom to tell the story completely as we want to tell it. We can publish the episodes whenever and wherever we want and get immediate feedback from the audience. And then, when we receive good feedback, we are able to react to that and make things better next time.

What’s special or different about your series?
I think it’s the way we tell the story: the story is not so easy to tell in words – because it is the mystery itself. In contrary to the expectations people have on the Internet – we tell the story very slowly to create an atmosphere. We invested a lot of energy to narrate the story in a visual way – but we left parts of the story in the dark to give room for interpretation.

Have you achieved the goals you set for this series?
Yes. At the beginning we thought our audience would be mostly local, from our hometown and the cities we shot the series in. But our hope was to reach more people via the internet. The fact that we are screening in Melbourne now is really so much more than we could have imagined at the beginning!

What was the most difficult challenge you had to overcome in production, and how did you go about it?
It was the almost 360 degree tracking shot in episode one going around our main actress Maggie. We did not have the budget for the appropriate equipment like a track system. For the scene, we wanted the area around the cathedral to be empty – but the weather was so nice and many people were there. Once we managed to redirect the people and the place was clear, our cinematographer Jens began to run in circles around Maggie and the whole crew had to run with him and try to stay behind him. We made 16 takes, it took half of our shooting day and it was tough but we had a lot of fun also!

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