Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It’s Interview Man. Fighting films, one question at a time. Well maybe I’m not that bad but every time I get invited to a screening I immediately need to fire a couple of questions at the people involved. Yes, I’m weird that way and friends stop inviting me to things but it’s totally worth it. This just gives me more time to watch films.
The other day I got invited to the first screening of a short film called Claes, directed by Martina Carlstedt. She’s currently studying documentary filmmaking at the University College of Film, Radio, Television and Theatre (Dramatiska Institutet) and this is her latest baby.
Since visiting Uppsala Short Film Festival I’ve gotten completely hooked on shorts. I get really inspired excited by good short films and I have to say that the Uppsala festival really missed a great one because after Claes I felt like going home and paint a Jackson Pollock.
First off I want to say thank you for the screening. You and your producer, Geir Hansteen Jörgensen, were great hosts and the film was fantastic. A simple film with a huge heart that managed to catch the complex life of an old man with a fear of leaving his front door. Would this be a good way of describing the film?
Yes that is a good way of describing it. But it is also a film about fighting fears. Fears that sometimes creates an inner jail. It also highlights what lonesomeness and isolation can do to a person.
Tell me a little about the film Claes. How did it come to life?
I knew Claes when I was a little child. He was almost like a step-dad to me, a very kind, loving and social person. But when i was 6 years old he moved away and we didn’t have any contact for over 18 years. Last year I was in Gothenburg with another film project and decided to visit Claes where he lives nowadays. When I realized how he changed since i was a child, and what kind of isolated life he lives, I got very affected and sad. But I also felt his need of talking to someone about his situation. So i started filming him, without any intention of what i was gonna do with the material. His brutal honest way of describing his fears and angst in life made me feel that i had to do a film about him.
How come you decided on focusing on the genre of documentary? Is it a genre you enjoy more then others?
To me documentary and fiction have the same purpose. To tell a story that affects people in one way or another and hopefully make people reflect a little bit differently on their own life or the world that we live in. But what I’ve experienced is that the reality often outperform fiction and I often find the stories I want to tell in my surroundings, in my reality as I see it.
Tell us a little bit about the process, how has it been? Has it been a struggle? A labor of love?
The process of making this film was really hard from time to time. It’s hard to be close to a person who is suffering. I wanted to understand his inner conflicts and isolation. This affected me mentally more then I could have imagined. I reflected a lot on my life during this process and filming claes was a bit like therapy for me and him. I felt like Claes looked at the camera as someone who finally listened to him.
How do you feel now when you’ve released Claes into the world? Nervous, excited, sad?
I feel both nervous and excited. The most important for me was that Claes felt OK with me doing this film. He has seen it and feels good about it. Now i just hope that people will see it and hopefully gain something.
Since Uppsala Short Film Festival has already been this year, are there plans on next year? Have you sent it to any other festivals?
I’ll try to send it to Uppsala next year. Now we’ll see if Gothenburgs Film Festival and the documentary film festival Tempo wants a piece of it.