The 50th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival ends today, but we still have a few directors to introduce from the Future Frames programme, so let’s get going. Here’s Jerry Carlsson from Sweden, and his short film All We Share.
How does it feel to be choosen into the Future Frames programme?
It feels great! I think that European Film Promotion and Karlovy Vary IFF really have created an interesting programme, I’m honoured and excited to be being a part of it!
How would you describe your short film in one sentence? What does it mean to you?
Two arborists are hired to remove a healthy tree in a family’s back yard. While taking down the tree, they observe the backyard and the people they meet. The film revolves around a vast subject, about something I believe we all share, our common humanity and responsibility – what does it mean to be human. The film started with me recognizing and feeling a great responsibility towards young LGBT teenagers and what a lot of them are going through. But I wasn’t sure of how I should handle the situation, this film is one part of investigating that responsibility. To shed a consistent stream of light, not only on mental health and suicide, but to shed light on all of us. The responsibility we all have over the society we live in and maintain; through actions and non-actions. This film started when I read about the high numbers of suicides among LGBT youth today, but the responsibility investigated stretches further and includes us all in one way or another.
During this process I thought of something I’m still asking myself: How is it possible that we have come so far in a lot of areas, but we are still not able to take care of each other?
What’s the first line in the film? What or who are we seeing in the opening scene? What are the colors? The sounds?
Phone signals. A young boy walking on a road, strong wind through the surrounding trees. He is calling someone, signal after signal and between them silence. Answering machine: “You’ve reached Alex, unfortunately I can’t take you call right now but…” The boy hangs up, calls back again. He walks in a faster pace, the wind blows stronger and yet again signal after signal is heard, through an even greater silence.
How was the circumstances of the shooting?
I consider the location to also be one of the actors in the cast. This made the pre-production intense because we had to find a very specific location. I wanted a tree with a presence, that had a space inside of it, like a room. It was also important that the tree was connected to a house and that this entire setting felt like one character, where we could walk through these spaces. The tricky part was of course to find this location with a tree that was going to be taken down anyways, since we didn’t want to remove a healthy tree just for the film. After a long search we finally found this one place just barely a week before shooting, and the location was even better than I could’ve imagined. During the course of the shooting the tree amazingly switched colour from a vibrant summer green, that we needed for the intro, into a grieving red and yellow, while it was taken down. It was one of those things when you feel the space and environment really participating with it’s presence and it affected the entire film.
And it goes without saying that it was a little bit stressful shooting some of the scenes. We had our DOP, actor and camera equipment hanging from the tree, together with a chainsaw. Luckily we had great arborists on set to be responsible of safety and cutting down the tree.
What do you expect from the programme?
I am intrigued of what will happen, since this is the first year I’m not sure what to expect. But I’m definitely looking forward to meet the other 9 filmmakers and everyone else connected to this programme. I’m pretty sure that I will find some inspiration and meet new interesting people and future colleagues.
How is the situation of short film in your country?
I think the situation is not too bad. We have a lot of really interesting and talented filmmakers, and there are a couple of different great ways to fund your short films. But of course it’s never easy, and there is definitely improvements that can be made. Sweden is also in the middle of a reform when it comes to how we fund films. We have had a film agreement that has been regulating the funding to swedish film productions. This agreement hasn’t changed much since it was written in the 60s, so this is the biggest change in the Swedish film politics in 50 years. I hope this reform will bring great improvement also to the short films.
Will you keep on making short films in the future, even after graduation?
Yes, I will work with moving images in various lengths and forms. The short film format is a beautiful art form, and I hope (and believe) that short films will find a bigger audience; if distributors see the possibility of the short films and contemporary distribution forms. Today we see new formats and lengths of moving images (mostly longer formats like series) being devoured in greater amounts than ever. I believe that these distribution tools also could improve and increase the distribution and visibility of short films.
Read the previous Future Frames interviews, here!