Interview with director OLOF SYLVÉN

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

Not really. But I remember that the movie Rumble Fish (by Francis Ford Coppola) had a big impact on me as a young teenager. Especially the way the story was told through metaphors. The dialogue, the underlying sadness and the fact that the movie was black and white (with color details) was also very appealing to me. There are definitly similarities between Rumble Fish and Stockholm Noir.

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

No, not at all. I have not. And especially not nowadays when you can get a decent camera for a reasonable price. And on top of that there are so many tutorials on the Internet – if you need specific instructions how overcome a certain obstacle, for example. 

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

I would say to get started. Once I start something, I am all-in. In fact, with this movie my biggest problem was to be able to say “Okay, this is good enough, it is time to wrap things up”. It was a very hasty decision to start this project. I did not debate it with myself very much. Sometimes that can be a good thing.

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

To trust your instincts and to be true to yourself and your own vision! I am not sure that I can name a certain lesson that leads me to that conclusion. But that was without doubt the most important thing I learned throughout this process. I guess that is a very cliché thing to say. But it is true.

  • 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?

Well, since I had zero experience from film making it is hard for me to compare the production situation to anything else. I just went along and trusted my gut feeling. But don’t get me wrong. At times it felt like I had no control over the situation at all (and I probably did not). However, I was very lucky that I got to work with Gino and Jenny. They (the actors) were very supportive and professional and gave me the time I needed to figure things out. That helped a lot.

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

The hardest part was definitely the first day of shooting. We only had two hours on the set and things were chaotic. I ended up with not as much material as I had planned. I also forgot to shoot an important scene. That forced me to solve tough problems at the editing table.

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

I found my actors on the Internet. When I met them during the casting I immediately knew they were the ones I wanted. Gino and Jenny are very easy to communicate with and I would describe our way of working together with the words “creative two-way communication”. Our way of communicating strengthened our relationship. Gino, which I worked a lot with, is the definition of a team player. I am very glad I got to work with both of them.

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

I do not worry about that at all. I think you should stay true to yourself and do exactly what you want to do. Your passion is all that matters.

  • 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 try to visit at least a few every year. For me, film festivals help me broaden my perspective on culture and the art of making movies. I love going to festivals with friends and discussing the movies afterwards. Your friends can help you discover new ways of looking at a certain movie. I like that.   

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

There is only one style. Your own.