16th ÉCU – The European Independent Film Festival

9th, 10th, 11th April 2021
Egil Pedersen 
THE HANDSOME IN THE MIRROR
European Dramatic Short 
Norway 
ecufilmfestival.com
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A man living by himself, who is obsessed with order in his home, is confronted by himself. The film is a surreal horror comedy.

Hi Egil thank you for talking to TNC, how are you holding up during these very strange times?

Actually I'm quite fine. I'm fortunate to have an art scholarship, and the plan since March-April 2020 was to spend a lot of time alone writing on feature film projects, so being isolated was somethings that I really wanted to do last year. I directed three short films last year, the last one just in the gap when the society was more open for a couple of months. This year I have already directed two music videos, so my work life is strangely not so much affected by these strange times. On a personal level I wish I could be more social, but I have a family, so I shall not complain.  

Has this time offered you any creative inspiration or opportunities?

Two of the short films I directed last year were direct results of the Corona situation, both where initiated by regional film funds in Norway two help filmmakers create films within limitations of the national infection control rules. One of those films is The Handsome in the Mirror, the other one is a short documentary about my two sons commenting on the Corona situation. This 4 minute film; Corona, Trampoline & Jigsaw Puzzle can be seen here: https://vimeo.com/408281802 

This time has also inspired me to play with some feature film ideas which can be done with few locations, low budget, and just a couple of actors. Time will show what will be become of these ideas.

Congratulations on having The Handsome in the Mirror selected for the 16th ÉCU Film Festival in Paris, what does it mean to you to be part of such an amazing lineup of films?

I've screened a music video at ÉCU in 2012, and was able to attend the festival in Paris, so I've seen with my own eyes what a great festival this is. I consider this to be one of the really great short film festivals in Europe, because of the great effort the festival puts into all aspects of its implementation. I felt very honoured to be there in 2012, and I feel the same today.

"We only had one Norwegian TV channel and three Finnish ones (that I rarely watched), so it was hard to find films to watch."

Can you tell me a little bit about The Handsome in the Mirror, how did this film come about? 

International Sami Film Institute invited Sami filmmakers in spring 2020 to make a short in just about a month. We could be maximum 5 people in the production to fulfil the Covid-19 related demands of the Norwegian government, and the budget had to be 3000 EURO. I decided to make a film about how a man is mentally affected by loneliness, and how he is persecuted by his own demons.

What was the inspiration behind your screenplay?

The inspiration was the strange time we lived in last year, and still do, that we can't meet other people. There was also a more technical inspiration that had to do with a camera gimbal that I had recently bought, which helped me create the visual effects in the film. 

What where the biggest challenges you faced brining this film to life?

The biggest challenges was that I didn't have time to make effect tests before I made film. The film itself was a test, which lead to some technical problems during shooting and some post production difficulties.

How best would you describe The Handsome in the Mirror?

The film is a surreal horror comedy.

Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?

I grew up in a small village without cinema, and was only 5-6 times in a movie theatre before I was 16 years old, but every time I felt a strong connection to this medium. We only had one Norwegian TV channel and three Finnish ones (that I rarely watched), so it was hard to find films to watch. I remember when I saw Twin Peaks as an early teen, I felt it was a completely new experience that blew my mind. There where a lot things that I didn't understand about it, and that was part of the joy but mostly I felt pulled into a universe that made life worth living, and I knew that this industry was something I wanted to be apart of. 

Since graduating from The Norwegian Film School how much has your approach and style of your films projects changed?

I would say quite a lot. I've seen me as a director only of drama, then going into a more experimental period, and now I'm more into working with genres like comedy and horror. Who knows what I'll fancy in a ten year time.  

Is there any worthwhile advice you would offer a fellow filmmaker?

Be in production, make a lot of films. I've directed 17 music videos and about 15 short films since film school. All those films has developed my skills, taste and understanding of audience. They have made me more relevant as a filmmaker. People know that I can do this over and over again. I also believe I work faster and more intuitive now then ten years ago.  

Do you think filmmakers should continue to push the boundaries of the films and stories they want to tell?

Yes, that is something we all should strive about. That's why I  admire and are inspired by filmmakers liker Gaspar Noé, David Lynch, David Cronenberg, Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, Sofia Coppola and dozens of other filmmakers. I don't necessary like all of their films, but there is always something interesting to see in their films.  

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from The Handsome in the Mirror?

I hope they will be entertained, curious about me as a filmmaker, fascinated, and inspired.

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