Every day through the end of the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival, indieWIRE will be publishing interviews with filmmakers in the Discovery section of the festival, which TIFF describes as “provocative feature films by new and emerging directors.”
Nineteen filmmakers were given the opportunity to participate in an e-mail interview, and each was sent the same questions. Director Joachim Trier is at Toronto with his feature film, “Reprise,” which follows two best friends who struggle with their early success and unrecognized potential as young artists.
Where did you grow up? Where do you live now?
I was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, and grew up in Oslo, Norway. I have lived for the past 8 years in London. So I guess I am pretty culturally confused.
What were the circumstances that lead you to become a filmmaker?
I grew up in a family of filmmakers and artists, so I made films since before I could write. But it took much longer to understand that I wanted to make a living out of it. It was trough making Skateboard movies in my teens (I used to be a sponsored skateboarder) that I learned enough craft to start exploring fictional film.
Did you go to film school? Or how did you learn about filmmaking?
First I went to the European Film College in Denmark. At the age of 23 I got in to The National Film & TV School in London in the fiction direction 3 year course.
How/where did the initial idea for your film come from?
I co-wrote “Reprise” with Eskil Vogt, which whom I have written several award winning short films. We wanted to do a film about friendship and ambition, and to make a detailed account of how it is to experience the unbearable lightness that so many young people in Scandinavia feel at the moment. We wanted to do a film witch dealt with existential issues that spoke to young people with cultural references that were relevant to them.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in either developing the project or making and securing distribution for the movie?
We wanted to make a film that combined drama and comedy in an original way. A more serious thematic approach that could be mixed with a playful and fun narrative structure. I think balancing the rather ambitious visual precision without loosing the freshness of the amateur performers was one of the most challenging and fruitful experiences I have had as a Director so far.
How did you finance the film?
My producer Karin Julsrud at the production company 4-1/2 did a great job getting the finance together from a mixture of Scandinavian soft money with some private investors. Luckily the script had been worked on for 3 years so it didn’t take too long to finance.
What are your biggest creative influences?
Oh, there are so many, everything from the French New wave, to Woody Allen, to French poetry and punk rock. Someone called my film “The Royal Tenenbaums” meets Ingmar Bergman. I took that as a great compliment.
What is your definition of independent film?
I guess even the most commercially successful film from Norway would be considered an independent film abroad, so it depends on your perspective. But there is something to be said for the spirit of independent cinema, one can feel as an audience member sometimes a personal, visionary, idiosyncratic style that I think many people appreciate.
What are some of your favorite films?
I am a bit of a film nerd I guess so it’s hard to reduce it to a few, but someone like Andrey Tarkovsky always inspires me.
What are your interests outside of film?
Since film is such a gesamtkunstwerk as a medium, I often ask myself the same question.
How do you define success as a filmmaker? What are your personal goals as a filmmaker?
To be able to continue making films.
Can you tell us a bit about your next projects?
I am in the early stages of writing an English language project and I am reading a lot of scripts at the moment.
[Get the latest from the Toronto International Film Festival throughout the day in indieWIRE’s special Toronto ’06 section.]