A filmmaker and producer with such titles under his belt as Dallas Buyers Club, Wild and Transamerica, Urs Hirschbiegel discovered Sullivan County on a film shoot in Callicoon back in 2004. He immediately fell in love with the bucolic backdrop. Currently splitting time between his Manhattan loft and his house in Livingston Manor, Urs is a new variety of dual citizen.
Which part of the Region do you call home?
I haven’t called it home. It’s too exciting and new. The house is in Livingston Manor. We bought it in the spring of 2015.
What’s your vocation?
Your Upstate Anthem?
Power Flower by Stevie Wonder on some days. Haliod Xerrox Copy by Alva Noto on other days.
What’s on your Nightstand?
We don’t have one yet. Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq lies on the floor besides the bed, not far from the fireplace – which I always dreamt of having in my bedroom.
Quote to Live by?
“The physical facts don’t lie!”—often said by my friend Dito’s mom when he grew up.
Favorite meal upstate?
Preparing it myself. Lamb sausage or trout.
There’s a patch of fallen pine trees hidden in our woods. It’s a swamp overgrown with moss and the trees in it grow until they get too tall to hold. It’s a serene place. I call it the Sunken Forrest.
Describe a perfect day upstate:
It’s hard to know before they end. But they start like this: our dog Miśiu licks my ear, I wake up, we sneak out of the bedroom, out of the house, go for a walk and I watch him chase the three deer that spend some mornings on the field above our house. He comes back and we both feel like kings.
What’s the bravest thing you’ve done?
In the country: Looking at the dead mice caught in traps and putting them away. In the city: Getting back into the boxing ring with the guy who used to beat me up.
How does living up here influence your work?
It provides the other extreme to down there and makes both more extreme.
What has living up here taught you?
I think I can deal with mortality up here. An unbearable thought
What is upstate’s best-kept secret?
Mike Osterhout’s art.
A touch too cheery.
What does the country give you that you can’t find in the city?
Bad phone reception and fresh air.
How do you know spring has arrived upstate?
When the daffodils show up and green seems an alien color.
What percentage of your weekend do you typically spend outside?
I am trying to beat my dog in time spent outside but he always wins.
What new skill have you acquired upstate?
I can now hammer and saw with both hands. I’ve learned to go inside when there’s lighting after seeing our front lawn being hit. I can do moonshine walks at night without a flashlight. And I’ve learned that you don’t need a gun.
Favorite way to entertain upstate?
Watch nature TV, breathe insta-Air, tree-witter, use tinder to make a fire.
What 3 words best describe the perfect upstate weekend?
See, Smell, Hear.