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Cannes Film Festival

Casper Rudolf

Karoline’s life is turned upside down when her father, Kjeld, manically starts digging a pit in their backyard. The following days turn into a living nightmare as the pit becomes a grave and the land, which has been in the family for generations, pulls Kjeld further and further down into the deep.

Hi Casper, thank you for talking to TNC, how have you been keeping during these strange Covid times?

Strange times for sure. I have been doing well taking the entire global-pandemic into consideration. But it’s been wild, having a daily death-toll being paraded in the media and talked about constantly. 

Have you been inspired to take on any new creative opportunities?

I have felt less inspired without the external inputs that I used to get from being out in the world - but the pandemic has given me a space to work on projects that have been on the shelf for a while. So I have been writing more than I usually do. 

How much does your background as an editor and photographer help influence your approach to directing?

I feel that my background in writing and directing has influenced and continues to do so, my work as and editor and still photographer. The way of thinking aesthetics and storytelling that comes from being the creative leader of a project and, is something that informs how I edit. With that said, being able to understand the usual difficulties that comes when you edit makes me very prepared when I direct. I try to map out exactly where I think I want to make a cut and not shoot much more than what I need. This gives us more time to get a few shots right, instead of overshooting. Having an editors mindset, makes it easier to plan that out. 

Congratulations on In The Soil having its World Premiere at the 2021 Short Film Competition at Cannes, what does it mean to you to have your film part of this year's festival?

It’s surreal. When making films I don’t feel like I know if the final product is going to resonate with an audience. I try to make films that I want to see myself. So getting the opportunity to find an audience on the world stage at Cannes is absolutely fantastic. 

Can you tell me how In The Soil came about, what was the inspiration behind your screenplay?

We are all heading towards the grave we are digging for ourselves. The main inspiration came from the idea of how the inevitability of death effects us in our life. How it can become a gap between people when someone is pulled towards death. What happens when someone who you love yearns for the end of their life? What does that do to you? 

"The cinematographer and I work through the scene on set and make appropriate changes to everything from staging to locations, right before we shoot."

What was the hardest scene for you to film?

The ending. I won’t give too much away, but it was both emotionally and technically very difficult to pull off. I had this precise image in my head - this feeling I wanted to capture. Knowing exactly what you are looking for can sometime be a challenge, as it makes you stagnant. Sometimes it’s good to be flexible and open for the happy accidents - but for this scene I really wanted it to be as I was imagining it, which put some extra pressure on getting the shot.  

When working on a project like this how important is the collaborative nature of filmmaking?

It’s everything. This film really isn’t mine at all. It’s the result of a bunch of talented and hard working creatives pulling together to make it happen. I work really closely with my fantastic producer Sofie Odgaard, who has guided me through the very first steps of the initial idea to the final product. Without those kind of collaborative process the film would never have been what it is today. 

As a writer/director do you allow yourself much flexibility with your screenplay or do you like to stick to what has been written?

I need flexibility! The actors help with the dialogue on set, so that it sounds natural to them. The cinematographer and I work through the scene on set and make appropriate changes to everything from staging to locations, right before we shoot. I love for the material to be rewritten while production is going on, it makes everything feel more alive.  

Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?

I have been fascinated with filmmaking since I was a teenager. But I have been around many disciplines, including photography, fine art and literature. Self expression is the reason I create art, but the collaborative nature of filmmaking is what made me fall deeply in love with the art form. 


Between your first film and In The Soil what would you say have been the most valuable lessons about filmmaking you’ve discovered?

When you get that feeling from deep within that tells you something is right, listen to it. That is the voice that makes what you create interesting. 

Do you have any any advice or tips you would offer any emerging filmmaker?

I find that most advice that I have received quickly becomes trite - but one thing that someone once told me that has helped me immensely, is: Don’t wait for permission to make what you want to make. 

And finally, what do you want audiences will take away from In The Soil?

I hope they have an experience that they can feel and that they will remember. I also hope they get to reflect about how death plays a role in their own lives. Mostly I just want them to experience the film, we have made something that is suppose to confront and thrill, so I hope audiences can feel that. 

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