Ask anybody in the film business about the difficulty of making a film. For some it’s easy. Well, not easy but easy:ish perhaps. For others it’s like splitting an atom with a cheese slicer.
A few years back when I went to film school I met this friend. Her name is Bonnie Skoog Feeney and focused on the producer part of film making. After doing very well, resulting in some great films she moved on. Apparently the grass was greener on the other side because she quickly got very well known for her hard work and passion and then puff, she was gone. The film business had adopted her.
Then one day I decided to go to the movie theater. I had heard so much great things about a film called Simple Simon (I rymden finns inga känslor). I enjoyed it so much I had to write about it early on in this blog. However, during the end credits I saw a very interesting name pop up under producer, Bonnie Skoog Feeney.
She has since then been very busy, flying all over the world to promote Sweden’s candidate for Best Foreign Film for the upcoming Academy Awards. I managed to quickly squeeze in a little Q&A with her so I hope you enjoy.
What got you started in producing? Was it a childhood dream or just something you found interesting and tried it out?
It actually was a childhood dream. I saw Apocalypse Now when I was around nine and was completely spellbound (and of course extremely shocked and had nightmares…).
I remember thinking that it was amazing that something could capture me in that way and make me sit still and not think of anything else for over two hours. From then on I decided that I wanted to be a producer, not knowing what it was, but knowing it was one of the big names in the credits. After trying the different professions in film making, it turned out that producing fit me very well.
What people in the industry inspire you? Anybody in Sweden?
People that work hard and are passionate about what they do inspire me in general, but then there are a couple of people who are also successful and positive which is a mix of qualities that few master. I could make this list long but I’ll mention two very different producers that I find inspiring.
Pete Possne at Sonet, because he is one of the few people in the Swedish film industry that spends more time talking about why something is good rather than bad. There are a lot of qualities that I admire about him, but this one is the most admirable for a successful Swede.
Then I would like to mention Mimmie Spång at Garage Film. The films she produces are not huge box office successes, but rather critical successes, huge films with important messages. I find it so admirable that she fights for these films and takes risks because she believes in her projects.
I am very proud of Simple Simon (I rymden finns inga känslor). It is the first feature I produced and it will always be special to me. The film was made with a small budget and came out of “nowhere” and took everyone by surprise. Also I’m proud of the graduation film that we made at Stockholm Film School. I produced and wrote the script together with Max S. Lauritzen and what makes me proud is that I was able to write something from the beginning to end. I’ve started to write so many things, but never had enough patience to finish. The script actually turned out pretty good, don’t know how much that had to do with me though.
What is your dream project? What director, writer and actors would be involved?
I thought of making up an answer about a great dream project…but I actually don’t have one. I guess that’s kind of odd, but I’m too inpatient, the thought of having a project lingering in the future would drive me mad, I want everything done yesterday. I do however have a story idea that I guess you could call a dream project and is a Swedish/American production.
If you only had to watch one film over and over again for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
Such a difficult question, but I think it would be “Lost in translation”. It’s not only a film that I love, but it has a tone that I think could be tolerable over and over and over again.
I’m sorry but I feel in the mood to honor Mr. James Lipton. What turns you on?
People that surprise me.
What turns you off?
The Swedish “Jante Law”. Nothing turns me off more than that, that and when life is predictable.
And finally, if heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
I would like him to look at me, knowing I’m in the wrong place, but then let me in with a smile and say: You’re extremely late.