Interview with director Jonas Frost

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

Around 2008 after seeing ‘There Will Be Blood’ by Paul Thomas Anderson, it was made clear to me, what power and magic the way of storytelling that film could possess. I was left with an emotional mess, and from here I figured this must be my destiny too. The chance to amaze others and even make an impact in others’ lives. And maybe, just maybe, change the mindset of others. 

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

It’s defiantly not essential, but it helps a lot. Getting the experience and different sets of eyes from a lot of different people will only make things greater. And still in the end it’s your own decision whether you want to take the first or second path.

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

I believe it is to keep going, that’s the hardest part. Down the road you will get a lot of rejections, which is inevitable. I think that was really tough the first couple of times, but luckily it has become easier. Not trying to say that part is easy in anyway.  

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

By doing a lot of research on the victims and perpetrators in this subject, we had the perfect information to make a film, that is authentic, trustworthy, exciting, and still leaves you with a pain in your stomach. All of this was made possible and still by respecting victims and the horrible torture they went through. 

  • 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? 

Even when we started writing, we had a particular set of actors in mind, for the main characters, which we were lucky enough to get onboard. When it comes to editing it’s super important, that you try to listen and step away from it all a couple of times. It simply makes everything greater. At first, I believed that this film would last 25-30 minutes. But after making tough decisions in the editing process, it was clear to me, that this film was meant to last nothing more than 16 minutes.  

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

In general, for me cutting out or dubbing out actors isn’t a nice thing, because the work of a film is so emotional and personal. On this film it was cutting down one of the main characters (in the script at least) to a bare minimum, because of a better flow and collective acting.

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

Through premieres, film festivals and the social events of the film institutes – just through networking in general. A key part for me is to get to know them outside of work and keep on doing that afterwards as well.

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

Audiences are advanced. And to understand the audience you need to make research: Who, what, when, where and why? The essential part in all of this is for the film to have an emotional impact on the audience. And in the hopes of becoming successful as a filmmaker you need to understand the audience. I do think it can become too calculated, though. After all, I think, you should make films, you would like to watch yourself.

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

It’s a great chance to get your film an audience. It gives the film attention and might achieve a possible greater popularity. Some film festivals focus on specific niches within the industry, which the bigger film festivals might not. This is a great opportunity for different kind of genres. I also think it’s amazing how, through the festivals, the films can cross borders, and suddenly be watched through the eyes of someone with a completely different life and upbringing than my own.   

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

Do whatever fits the movie. I don’t believe it has to be A or B. Of course, I enjoy a fresh and new perspective of doing things, but it can defiantly sometimes be too much and take the focus off the story. It’s a delicate balance.