5 questions with Memory of You director, Nils Åsén Janlert at the half-way mark.
Tuesday, September 5th, 2017
1Hi Nils! Thanks for being a part of our festival. First, what was the initial seed that inspired you to make this film? Love. For me this script was always about love, or rather the love that never was. I think most of us have been in that situation where you are in a relationship and you meet your long lost love. Maybe that love from another lifetime that didn't end the way it was supposed to, or something like that. And when confronted directly with that. How would you react?
I think love never dies, I think most of us have that lingering feeling of "what if". Even though you know that you and that person will never work out together. Love is a complex thing, and love is also such a beautiful thing. So I wanted to make a film about that, if that makes sense...
2There is a fantastic element of tension in this film which is strengthened by the fact the entire film was done in one take. How many takes did you do to get the right one and why did you want to tell this story in this way? Well it wasn't a easy decision. Just making a long take for a scene is hard, and I think filmmakers overuse the "oneners" just because it looks cool. I think if you do the oner you have to have a good reason for it. And my reason was that I wanted to show all the emotions, every thought and every decision in this short but powerful moment. So that also became my goal to use it in the right way.
The other side of it was that I really trusted my cinematograper Hampus to do a great job with it, and I felt that the actors and the rest of the crew really where able to pull it of, even though at the time none of us where professional filmmakers. So I remember I told Hampus and our producers Tommy and Malin something like "fuck it lets do it." So we did.
We didn't have a lot of time doing it. So we only had time for 10 takes. (we did 11) and when we came home with the material we had to choose between 2 or 3 takes. And I think we used numer 9 for the actual film.
3I imagine this had to be incredibly complicated to get all the elements to line up perfectly. What was your biggest challenge shooting this film? Most of these challenges you would have during a regular shoot also. But I think the most challenging thing was to get all of the scenes to work while also the camera where in the right place and so on. I knew while I sat by my monitor that every step of the film had to work, the film I was watching on set was the film that was gonna be the final product. So for you filmmakers imagine just that knowledge of knowing that you can't edit, and then you will understand the challenge.
But we did a lot of planning and we had a few discussions during the shoot how to do it right. But all in all I was actually a pretty smooth ride.
4The performances by Emil T. Jonsson and Mikael Bergsten are really fantastic. How did everyone prepare fo this shoot? Did you do a lot of rehearsals before you shot? Did you bock all day and then shoot at night? How did you pull all this together? Its easy to work when you have great actors, and both Emil and Mikael are really good and they both understood the film we where trying to make, and I think they trusted me and just let me do my thing so that was a blessing.
We actually only had one rehearsal before the shoot. Me, Emil and Mikael met and talked trough the film, tried some of the scenes together and it really felt good. But I had spoken a few times with them beforehand especially with Emil, so I think we were on the same page the whole time.
I don't know if you ever been to Stockholm but the location we shot at, "Västerlånggatan", is one of the busiest streets in Stockholm. The only way we could shoot it with our big budget of nothing was to shoot at night. So me and some of the key crew met at the location a few days before. Me and Hampus talked about how we wanted the film to move, showed everybody and then planned it out. The day of the shoot we met at 5pm and started the rigging of the two indoor locations. And about 9pm we did the lighting and then some light rehearsals. When the streets where empty at 2am, we started to shoot. And at 5am we had to wrap because a lot of people started to walk the streets.
5What's next? Im working as a director for a lot of commercials in Sweden, and also working with other directors as a 1st AD. That is really a thing I could recommend for any filmmakers that wanna be directors. Do jobs as a 1st, I have never learned more about filmmaking than during my time as the 1st AD. Im also writing on a script for a passion project that I can't really talk about, but I hope it will great. Thank you so much for showing our film!
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
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