“Farewell” is an emotional and visually impressive mosaic of personal stories from across the world that are masterfully connected to the piano driven melancholy of the track.
Hi Christian thank you for talking to TNC, how are you handling the lockdown?
A pleasure talking to you as well. I had just moved into an artist’s residency at Cité international des arts in Paris when this whole thing broke out to write a feature in isolation so to me it hasn't changed much in terms of how I planned to work this spring.
As a filmmaker is this experience providing you with some creative inspiration?
I think a poet I know put it well: In these extraordinary times everybody has their “survival guard” up so high so it is almost impossible to move people.
I am a part of an arts and science collective called Science Addiction and we talk a lot about how to communicate the different aspects of virus spreading and handling to the public using film. We are working on some projects as we speak for WHO.
Your music video Farewell has been selected for the 2020 ÉCU Film Festival in Paris, what has it meant to you to be part of this unique film festival for independent filmmakers?
I am very grateful for having my music video at the ÉCU Film Festival as it gets my film exposed to colleagues and film fans. I have followed the festival for some time now and it has had the ability to select and showcase awesome films.
Farewell reunited you with Kaada, how did this collaboration come about?
When I started out as a filmmaker about 15 years ago, I miraculously managed to persuade Kaada who was a very popular artist at the time to let me direct his first single for his upcoming album “MECD”. I pitched against well-established directors and in all honesty I couldn´t believe it when he and Warner Music selected me – I was in the “fake it until you make it” – mode and when I asked him years later why he and the record company chose me he simply said “you had fire in your eyes – who could say no to that energy” – So I guess what you don´t have in talent or experience you can even out with just wanting it most.
“Farewell” is my fifth music video for Kaada and he has scored several of my short and long form films and I am very fortunate to have a creative collaboration with him.
What is the experience like working with Kaada?
Kaada is a very humble artist and trusts me with his beautiful music. He gives me a lot of creative freedom – that does not mean he doesn't know what he wants or doesn't set high standards. He can really push you and in a polite way demand the world at the same time as he is very thankful and appreciative.
Can you tell me a little bit about Farewell, what was the inspiration behind your film?
Oh- how much time have you got? Ok – I'll try to be short:
Farewell is partly based on my own experience and struggle with leaving my Christian faith. God (and Jesus) is the one who has always been there, the one you can always seek advice from, the one you can always have a hundred percent open and honest conversation about oneself for good and bad - especially the last. A support that is always there.
I see the same kind of feeling happening with everyone who is trying to break out of some kind of relationship. This video is a tribute to those who dare take that giant leap; leaving something/someone without knowing if they will land on their feet on the other side.
What was the most challenging scene for you to film?
Except for the obvious thing that the monster of a music video with very limited resources is always a challenge – Practical I´d say rain pouring down when we were trying to shoot a green screen scene outdoors which was going to be matched with an indoor environment.
Emotional I´d say too little time with the “cam girl” for such a heavy scene. Susanne Karin Moe who played that part for amazing however and she pulled out a very strong and believable performance.
Looking back do you think there is anything you would have done differently?
Look, there's always things you would have done differently, but I don't want to point at specific things both out of respect to the people involved in the project and the fact that I don't want to point a viewer’s attention to it. And most of all it's like a painter said once” I never finish my paintings – I leave them”. This is true to all my films.
Have you always had a passion for filmmaking and music videos?
Not at all. I wish I could have that story. I feel all filmmakers tell where they started making their first films when they were five years old or something. I come from fashion and web design and started making films just before turning 30. But, from that moment on it has been my love, passion and life in all aspects.
"Now, naturally, I am much more calculated in my approach – I make fewer, but hopefully better films."
Has your approach to your films changed much since you started out?
Definitely! In the start I did a lot of films – anything I could get my hands on. Since I didn't have any film school background my approach was to kind of make my own film school and my mantra was: shooting, shooting, shooting. Now, naturally, I am much more calculated in my approach – I make fewer, but hopefully better films. I used to make a music video every month – now it's one every year.
It also took me at least the first 7-8 years to find my own voice as a filmmaker – all up to that point is artistically not very interesting – it's just drafts and “film school”.
What has been the best piece of advice you have been given?
“Good, fast , cheap – you can only have two.”
Do you have any tips or advice to offer fellow filmmakers?
It all depends on what level you are on and every filmmaker is so different. But I find comfort in Alan Sorkin when he says “remember – if you´re a baseball player and you miss two out of three you go to the Hall of fame”. Messing up and failing is an important part of filmmaking.
What are you currently working on?
I just finished shooting a commercial with some of the hero´s in the frontline of the Corona-virus fight. In Norway we are allowed to be five persons together outside as long as we keep 1,5 meters distance so that's what we did.
But mainly my days go to writing a feature film and editing a documentary about a cam girl and artist in Brooklyn. I had set a time to be in Paris and write this spring so I kind of just stick to my plan – the only change is unfortunately that I had to leave Paris and go home to my native Oslo.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Farewell?
As long as ”Farewell” manages to move people in some way I don’t need them to feel this or that way. In a review for “Farewell” from Scene Point Blank they ended it with “Heavy? Yes, but ultimately, strangely hopeful” – I liked that.