Interview with directors Sofia Brattvall and Magnus A Sandeberg

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

Sofia – For me it was when my grandfather gave me his camera and I realised it was such a cooler way of telling stories than my written stories. I was 8 years old. Today I still feel it is the best way to tell stories, because it is the medium closests to reality and with the most power to move people into see things from another perspective.  

Magnus – For me it was when I was 14 years old and I made my first short film mainly to impress the girl I liked and it worked haha.

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

Knowledge is always important. Filmmaking is a craftsmanship and if you go to a good school you get to learn the basics. And that is often great when trying to make it in the industry. But we don´t think it is absolutely necessary. You can always learn by doing. Persuasion, drive and wanting to move people is the key, in our opinion.

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

It is always harder to keep going. Ideas and the initial drive is easy to come by for us. The difficulty is in completing the projects. The most challenging thing is to find the time to be creative and to complete the more “boring” aspects of the project. 

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

A positive attitude is the best advice we can think of. We have both been on movie sets with a distinct hierarchy and it always has a negative effect on creativity. When making a low budget film it is more important than ever to keep a positive atmosphere on set because everyone is contributing with their time. And they will work harder if they feel appreciated. 

  • 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?

The reality was that we did everything in the pre-production phase. It was a lot of work but at the same time you have full control and can make sure that everything turns out the way you want it to. There will always be surprises and things that doesn’t go as planned though. As a leader you need to keep a positive attitude and a “how do we solve this”- mindset. In all our productions we have learned that a great team is the most important thing. We try to find people who love what they are doing and takes great responsibility in their job. If everyone isn’t at their best, the result will suffer. 

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

There are so many times you need to kill your darlings. But we have learned that the more prepared you are, the fewer mistakes and compromises needs to be done. That is a really boring reality cause we love to be creative on set and say “yes” to all great ideas. But time is always the enemy and therefore the better you are prepared the more freedom you actually have. 

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

We have worked in the industry for a long time and you always meet people you like a little extra. As directors we think it is important to have a close relationship with these people cause they will help you realize your projects to come. We do that through being supportive of them on social media, keep in touch, include them when we have private parties etc.

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

That is a very tricky question and if we had the answer to it we would be a lot more successful than we are, haha. Whether it is the filmmakers role to worry about that is also a tricky question. We think it is smart to have an audience in mind when we write, but sometimes we just want to be creative and create whatever comes to mind. In summary we think it is wise to have an audience in mind if you actually want to make filmmaking your livelihood. 

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

This year is the first year we send our projects to festivals. It is very exciting and we think it is something we will continue to do. The only downside is that most festivals are very expensive and many of them do not result in anything. That is why it is important that there are cheap festivals to submit to so everyone has a chance to show their stories. 

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

We always try to have “the market” in mind when we create a new idea. Mostly because we are not yet in a position where we can make anything we want (sadly). It can be smart to try and take on a genre that already exists and create your own personal take on it.