What inspired you to come up with the idea for the film?
I was sitting at a dinner with friends when the idea just fell into my head, almost in one piece. It was a plot I hadn’t seen before. I also wanted badly to portray Oslo as a beautiful city, something that doesn’t happen that often, with all this “Scandi-noir” grittiness going on these days. Warmth, respect and care are important.
How do you relate to your characters or subjects?
As real human beings with their own battles. I imagine their life and forms of loneliness and let the actors flesh out their characters based on long conversations. I want my characters to feel real, and heroic if they need to be.
What aspect of the story changed the most during writing and production?
I pretty much stuck to the original story, but we workshopped the characters journeys and occasionally we would introduce new elements if we felt that they enriched the film. I am very open to spontaneous changes. The script is only an indication of what the film will finally be.
What influenced the visual style of your film?
I am a great believer in warmth, and here in Norway we need all that we can get. I used an autumnal palette, but quickly found out that it needed a contrast colour to prevent it from being too “tasteful”. Blue worked very well. I am the production designer as well as the director and am used to forming the sets. We used super Baltar lenses which gave a slight seventies feeling and I am a great fan of the DOP Vittorio Storaro.
What was the most courageous decision you or your crew made during writing and production?
We filmed a lot of scenes guerrilla style. The Norwegian police aren’t too concerned with permits, thankfully. Our team of DOP Patrik Säfström, focus puller Kjetil Fodnes and gaffer Knut Haraldsen have an almost telepathic relationship, working in silence. We have a very quiet set and very few on the crew, which perplexed some of our actors, who are Norway’s most famous and experienced, so this was a leap of faith for them. We are not addicted to too much coverage, so we move quickly and trust our instincts. No storyboarding and the script was fairly loosely put together, so a certain amount of trust was necessary from everyone. Thankfully we got that!
Were there any risks that you faced during writing/production and how did you find a way to embrace them?
I did not feel at any point that I was taking any great risks, but working in the loose fashion that I do, both cast and crew need to be optimistic and trusting. Fortunately both cast and crew are incredibly experienced and no problems occurred at any time. It is very important that we enjoy the experience and my prime responsibility both as producer and director is to see to it that everyone comes away from the experience with good memories. ood art can come out of a horrible process, but why? Life is too short, etc.
What risks does your story take?
While not giving away any plot points, I felt that there where several risky elements in the plot that could alienate or even disgust certain people of delicate sensibilities. Therefore I “sell” the plot and certain elements of it in very patiently and with much humour, so that the audience is accepting and even blindsided at times.
How would you encourage others to tell their story or manage through the process of screen writing or film producing?
Just do it! I have had no financial support of any kind to make this film and have managed to slog it out all the same. I will share any of my experiences with any other filmmaker if it helps them make their own film. Open source is the key. The script is an indication of the final film, not a straitjacket, and although one has to be careful not to diverge irresponsibly from the plot, don’t be too strictured as this stifles the creative process that is film making. My mantra is to work with talented and most important, nice people, and let them be good at what they are good at. Screw prestige, let everyone shine, especially the actors, who deliver accordingly when they are trusted and respected,