Interview with director Dan E. Jonsson

  • Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking is your way of telling stories?

In the mid 90s i saw a movie called “Bad Taste” by Peter Jackson. A hilarious “splatt-stick” (splatter and slap-stick) about aliens kidnapping people to grind them up into hamburger meat. The VHS-copy i had also contained a behind the scenes movie called “Good taste made Bad taste” where you followed a young Peter Jackson around in his workshop. He showed us all his neat little tricks and movie magic effects that made Bad Taste so convincing. It then dawned on me that everybody can make a movie, if there’s passion and a great bit of problem solving , you can make a moive. And i did, been making them ever since.

  • Do you think it is essential to go to a film institute in order to become a successful filmmaker?

I think it can help you but it’s not a guarantee. You still need to put in the work. You’re not automatically a successful, yet alone a good, filmmaker just because you went to film school. That said it is a great place to hone your skills in the art of filmmaking.

  • Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?

It’s easy to start and if you love it you keep going. It’s as easy as that, for me at least.

  • What was the most important lesson you had to learn that has had a positive effect on your film? How did that lesson happen?

Trust that my team share my passion and trust that they know what they are doing. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment it happened but we all clicked and got along well. You need a group of people you can trust makes the right decisions for the good of the project.

  • What were the production realities from casting through editing that you had to accommodate? How did you navigate those compromises or surprises and still end up with a cohesive film?

We had some music we tried to fit into the narrative that did not work and we eventually had to kill that darling. There were some great discussions surrounding the subject and i for once think i learned a lot from it. Also, this was some actors first movie. Before this they were stage-actors and i had to dial there acting down from 11 to around 7. Stage-actors tend to be more explosive and loud when they act, they need to be heard in the back row of the theater. You don’t need that kind of energy when your in front of a camera.

  • What was the hardest artistic choice you made in the making of a film, at any stage in production?

As mentioned before, the music was not a hard choice to make but i spawned intense discussions.

  • You are a collaborator. How have you discovered members of your team and how do you keep the relationship with them strong?

Some of us had worked together on different project before but many of us knew each other through Film Västernorrland, our local film institute. I try, as a member of this group, to listen and make everybody feel included in the process. Be it planning the next movie or some other more trivial things.

  • What do audiences want? And is it the filmmaker’s role to worry about that?

The audiences is not this homogeneous blob that consume without consideration. The audiences is us and we want good movies. So….Yes?

  • What role have film festivals played in your life so far? Why are they necessary? How do you get the most out of them?

I personally feel energized by them on a creative level. I seldom leave a festival thinking “well that was a waste of time” even though some more experimental projects can be hard to sit through.

  • Do you believe that a filmmaker should be original and fresh or he/she should stick to classic but safe cinema style?

Why not both? I really have no good answer to that . It’s up to you as a filmmaker i guess? I make movies because i love doing it, be it drama, horror, comedy or other. Every project is its own unique experience that i feel enrich me as a person and creator.