Fake Empire

Director: Ewa Gerström

Country: Sweden

Duration: 04:35

Synopsis: A man walks into a bar to order a vodka. But who is the bartender?

Director Biography – Ewa Gerström

Writing has always been a passion for Ewa Gerström. In her early years she read her own stories out loud to her classmates. Seeing her friends’ captivation, she realised she had the talent of conveying a certain emotion through her stories.

As a teenager she discovered filmmaking as a new medium for her visions, and she entered the film industry at the age of seventeen. Since then she has climbed the carreer ladder, from floor runner, into the technical departments, such as grip, camera and mainly lighting, and worked on projects such as BBC’s “Wallander”, Swedish/Danish TV series “The Bridge” and feature film “Eat Sleep Die”.

Her passion for creating stories of her own and expressing them has led her to write and direct her first short “Fake Empire”.

Director Statement

“I have a strange attraction to combining a fantasy world – or a dream world – with crude reality. Fake Empire is a typical example of this. I wanted to create a story where we get under the skin of the protagonist by experiencing a difficult situation in her everyday life, and how she escapes into a world of imagination to be able to cope with her situation at home.

The story of Fake Empire is inspired by a true event and is merely one interpretation of many children’s’ experiences in abusive environments. I want to pay attention to the unseen cases of children living in these situations, and the courage they show when standing up and questioning their parent’s abuse, despite the fear of what the consequences might be. To be able to be seen and not be neglected due to their parent’s addiction and consequently, not having to escape to a dream world to be able to cope with reality.

Since the 1990s, the consumption of alcohol has increased considerably in Sweden, and it has increased significantly over the past decade. In addition to this, my intention is to centre on the fact that with addiction might come a mental disorder, or mental illness, as seen in the father’s behaviour. The daughter, who is taking on the role of parenting and responsibility, is trying to stop him from drinking – not an unusual scenario for children in situations like these. This behaviour can result in mental problems to some of these children, but also – which is what I want emphasise on in this short – an increased confidence in their own abilities to cope with difficult situations.”