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Interview with director Emma Lund Rasmussen

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

When I was about fifteen years old, and I started thinking about, what I was really interested in and what I would like to do, I thought, to be a film director probably would be that field, where I could unite most of my interests all together – even though I hadn’t tried to make film at that time. I knew that I wanted to work with people, both to tell peoples stories but also to work in a group of dedicated people, and at the same time working practical and creatively with storytelling.

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

No, I certainly don’t think so. I think there are many ways and experiences that can make you a successful and talented filmmaker. But I think that going to a school, can make it easier for you to establish yourself in the film industry, but again, it depends on the person you are and what kind of film you make.

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

For me, it has been difficult to get started. I had a lot of fear of failure – and perhaps most of all, a fear of not carrying out the project. When we first started, the producer and I agreed that the most important thing was, that we completed the film and that we learned something from it. Of course, we would also like to make a great film, but if it wasn’t good, then we would still be more experienced, and better prepared for the next project. It was really important to be in the process with someone, who could remind me of that when I was terrified of continuing.

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

The most important lesson was clearly that I learned to be persistent. And that you have to find some good people to work with – the sooner the better. That lesson is the reason why we ended up with a finished film and not just as a good idea.

  • 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?

Since we could not offer salary to anyone, we would like to accommodate the team’s requirements. This meant that we sometimes had to fulfill their wishes regarding assistants, deadlines and the right equipment. It was important to keep in mind that even though they had requirements, we should still hold on to our vision and expectations.

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

We decided quite late in the process, that we would erase some VFX effects because it simply didn’t work out the way we thought it would. It was hard to realize because it had been the plan from the start and we thought it was going to make the film more ordinary. We had to go back to the editing and take out the VFX. I am really glad we did because we ended up with a better solution and a better result.

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

The producer and I knew from the beginning of the project that we couldn’t offer anyone on the team salary. Therefore, it was very important for us to be really hardworking, honest, considerate and professional. If we could manage that, we believed that we could gather a team of people who both had more experience than us, but also someone who would be as dedicated as us.

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

“What do audiences want?” is a very inaccurate question because fortunately there are different kinds of audiences. I think it’s a balance, because if a film is going to get “a life”, then it is essential, that it meets its audience and that they would like to watch it. Therefore, I think it’s unwise not to be aware of your audience. That doesn’t mean, that I think, you should please them, not at all.

  • 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 is the first festival where our film has won, despite that, we have sent it to several different festivals. I think festivals are important because they help create a space where the film meet the audience.

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

I don’t think it is a goal in itself to be either original or stick to the classic style. First of all, it is about the story, what I have at heart and what I want to express. You can learn and borrow a lot from the past, but it will always be boring to reproduce something that already exists. At the same time, I don’t think it is about doing something crazy and innovative if you do not have a point with it. But, of course, it is most interesting if you dare to examine your own originality.