Alma is a small-town teenager with an active imagination and an even more active libido. After a titillating but awkward encounter with school heartthrob Artur turns her into a social outcast, Alma is desperate to move out of town and on with her life. “Turn me on, goddammit” is an offbeat coming-of-age comedy with a deadpan sense of humor, enlivened by its rich sense of fantasy and frank but sweet approach to teen sexuality. [Synopsis courtesy of the Tribeca Film Festival]
“Turn Me On, Goddammit!”
World Narrative Competition
Primary Cast: Helene Bergsholm, Matias Myren Malin Bjørhovde, Lars Nordtvedt Listau, Beate Støfring, Henriette Steenstup
Director(s): Jannicke Systad Jacobsen
Screenwriter: Jannicke Systad Jacobsen
Producer(s): Brede Hovland, Sigve Endresen
Editor: Zaklina Stojcevska
Director of Photography: Marianne Bakke
Production Designer: Sunniva Rostad
Sound Design: Hugo Ekornes
Based on a Novel By: Olaug Nilssen
Responses courtesy of “Turn Me On, Goddammit” director Jannicke Systad Jacobsen.
A flurry of interests…
As a teenager I was really into photography and literature. I wrote poems and short stories and did black and white photos making prints in the dark room. Very typical and cliche, but true. After high school I discovered filmmaking and realised this was a great combination of my interests, but much more fun. Growing up in the so-called “cut and paste”-generation in Norway, making movies with all its available possibilities and tools, is the perfect art form for me to continue the creativity of childhood as an adult.
I read the novel written by Olaug Nilssen (which the script is based on) and really liked the story’s vivid and real to life characters and the “Twin Peaks”-ish, lonely environment it was set in. What interested me? How the story was told by mixing the protagonist’s sense of reality and imagination and letting them float into eachother without the reader knowing all the time what was what. And of course the sense of humor in it. All together I thought this was very cool and good material for a film, so I got the option for the film rights and started writing the script.
Making it authentic…
After film school I’ve mostly directed documentaries. These were influenced by my studies in fiction using a visual style not often seen in documentaries. With “Turn me on, Goddammit” I tried to bring some of my documentary experience and ideas into fiction. For example with an observing camera, long dialogues scenes and a low-fi acting style. It was also important to me to try and make it authentic and use young actors from Sogn og Fjordane – the county the novel was set in. This way the teenagers who act in the film have the experience of growing up in a tiny place surrounded by tall mountains and dark fjords in real life and know this mentality well and can bring in onto the screen. To make it authentic the professional actors had to learn the specific dialect for this region also.
Loving a challenge…
I think the whole process of filmmaking is a challenge and that is what I enjoy it and also why I do it. One thing specific for this project, as I hadn´t made a feature before, was to know what advice to take and what not to take, and find my own way of doing it. Also in the middle of everything try to remember my vision and intentions for the film, and manage to both focus on the importance of a small detail in one specific shot and at the same time have the full story in mind.
One day we were shooting a scene with Alma and Artur walking on a small road in the forest. As usual the clock is ticking and things are not happening as fast and smooth as the schedule would like. Then out of the forrest comes three wild horses who park themselves in the middle of the road in front of us. The 1st AD desperately tried to get them out of the way. But the horses resfused to move, they just stood there, completely still, looking at us and wondering what we were doing there, like we were the freaks. A strange and beautiful moment of zen.
I´ve started writing a new feature script I wish to direct. A story about love and loss in a group of young archeologists at a university institute, dealing with questions that don´t have simple answers. The topic is far more heavy than “Turn me on, goddammit”, but there will certainly be room for some comedy as well. I also plan a new documentary and wish to work with both genres and let them influence eachother.