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Cannes Film Festival
L'Atelier 2021:

Kaspar Astrup Schröder
Scattered
kasparworks.com 
Denmark 

An original story about a struggling musician who looses his loved one to suicide and in an attempt to reconcile, steals 3 urns and embarks on a great odyssey across through the American West.

Hi Kaspar, thanks for talking to TNC, how have you been keeping during these very strange Covid times? 

Not too bad actually. Our whole country closed down for a few months last year, where we couldn’t work, but on the other hand I had a chance to home-school my sons, which I really enjoyed. It’s done great things for our family time, but of course most of my filming has been put on hold, which is a big challenge when making documentaries about real people’s real life, where you can’t control when things happen. But I won’t complain, other businesses have been hit far harder than the film industry, so I feel fortunate that I can still do what I love doing.

Has this time offered you any new creative inspirations?

Hmm, I don’t think so on the creative part. My mind is always thinking about stories and ideas for films, I think it’s been more a shift in “how” to make them, since most of my projects are made abroad.

Your book & CD ME is available on your website, how did this project come about and will you consider producing more creative works like this in the future?

I’m glad you found it, it’s certainly been a while. So before directing films, I was doing all kinds of creative stuff. Just having fun with all sorts of visual expressions: Drawings, paintings, photography, furniture design (made with my girlfriend, who’s an architect), music and graphics. And 20 years ago, when printing was still a thing, I thought it could be fun to release a book with all of these creative outputs, so I made that book. Now I honestly don’t have time to make all that. I think it was a little of an experiment too, to find out what I enjoyed the most, which is telling stories through moving images. Though I still make graphics and posters for a lot of films, which I enjoy a lot.

Congratulations on having Scattered selected for the L'Atelier de Cannes 2021, what does it mean for you as a filmmaker to get this type of opportunity?

 

It’s a great honour and I feel especially blessed that we can attend with this project in these strange times. I’m really looking forward to get the project to the next level, which I hope L’Atelier will be able to help with.

Because of the nature of L'Atelier will nerves set in or are you able to go with the flow?

I don’t really get stressed or nervous. We’ll see what happens and take it from there.

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"So that I waste as little time as possible on location with the characters. The more prepared I can be, the better the scenes I come home with are."

Can you tell me a little bit about Scattered, what is the inspiration behind this film?

Yes, so it’s an idea my friend and co-writer Dustin Hamman came to me with, a few years ago. Based on his own life experiences, we’ve moulded this script from thoughts and observations from his life as a travelling musician. Some parts are autobiographical and others are completely made up. I have big experience with documentary film making, but are also able to direct my films a way to get the best possible story told, even though you’re dealing with reality. I think the greatest force in documentaries is that it’s real true stories, which just makes it more appealing to me, because I’ve seen how audiences respond to them and reflect their own challenges. Documentaries can really help people across nations and cultures. That is something I want to bring to Scattered too, to have a documentary feel, that this might as well be a completely true story that deals with heavy themes of suicide, mourning and finding your place in the world. To reach audiences that can take home, not only an entertaining story of an American road movie, but at the same time, be emotionally touched and hopefully be more open to talk about such subjects as suicide, which is often put a lid on.

Do you allow yourself to be flexible with your screenplay once you go into production? 

Yes definitely. Making documentaries teach you to be really flexible. With this production I would like to rehearse as much as possible, so that we can be as flexible as possible when we are on location, ‘cause you never know what happens once the camera starts to roll.  It’s way more easy to improvise if you have as solid a foundation as possible. 

Have you always had a passion for filmmaking? 

 

Well yes and no. I’ve always enjoyed working with visual media and to tell stories, and you can do that with so many tools. But finding out film making was the one I wanted to pursuit took me a little time, and so far I haven’t at all doubted my decision.

How much has your approach to your films changed since your debut?

I think I’ve been much more precise than I used to be. At first I was just observing with my camera like a fly on the wall and then came home to the editor with way too much footage. Now I treat all my documentary films as if they were written as a script before shooting. So that I waste as little time as possible on location with the characters. The more prepared I can be, the better the scenes I come home with are.  And it’s much easier to go “off path” if I know the direction that I was supposed to go. It’s impossible to improvise if you don’t have a foundation to improvise from, I think that’s what has changed my working method the most.

Is there any advice you would offer an emerging filmmaker?

Maybe that above statement, with preparations. Do as much as you can before going in production, but ALSO allow yourself and your crew/actors to go off course, circumstances can change so much, so allow yourself to loose control and go with the flow. And also keep the ego on a low, and let the best suggestions win, even though it might not be yours. 

And finally, what do you hope to take away from your experience at L'Atelier?

 

A great experience and to be able to get closer to going into production.