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Meet the 2014 Sundance Filmmakers #2 : Mona Fastvold Peers Into the Fractured Dreams of Two Sisters in 'The Sleepwalker'

By Indiewire | Indiewire January 10, 2014 at 12:16PM

Mona Fastvold grew up in Oslo, Norway but has been based in New York City for the last 10 years. She was an actress at a young age, but her attention shifted to writing and directing. "I've been doing that ever since," she told Indiewire, "and this is my first feature film." Segments of 'The Sleepwalker' are loosely based on Fastvold's personal experience.
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Mona Fastvold

Mona Fastvold grew up in Oslo, Norway but has been based in New York City for the last 10 years. She was an actress at a young age, but her attention shifted to writing and directing. "I've been doing that ever since," she told Indiewire, "and this is my first feature film." Segments of "The Sleepwalker" are loosely based on Fastvold's personal experience. 

What it's about: "A young couple, Kaia and Andrew, are renovating Kaia's secluded family estate. Their lives are violently disrupted upon the unexpected arrival of Kaia’s sister, Christine, and her fiance, Ira."

What it's really about: "I was a sleepwalker myself for many years which I found somewhat embarrassing and mysterious.  I've noticed in some cases that this syndrome can recur when a traumatic experience has in one way or another split the subject's psyche - the restrained, functional self versus the reckless, childlike personality that's apparent in the gesture.  All that said, the sleepwalking in our film primarily functions as a simple and evocative metaphor and probably nothing more.

"Also, for many years I've been compelled to tell a story about the complex dynamic between sisters; the strange way siblings so easily regress into childhood patterns and the intense love and jealousy between them. The film is a tone poem which meditates on these aforementioned themes... Really, it's probably about much more than these themes - but that's for viewers to say."


Biggest challenges: "There are so many personalities involved in making a film that natural social navigation and understanding is the most difficult thing to adapt to, in every part of the process. It's a big dysfunctional family compiled of many individuals who don't know each other or have never worked together. This is the challenge; the reward is when 50 individuals overcome it. 

Cameras used: "Alexa." 

Did any films inspire you? "I'm Scandinavian so Bergman is King. Lynch is important for this film too."

Did you crowdfund? "No. It was a very affordable film so we managed to fund it in a very traditional way."

Hopes for audience take-away: "I really just hope that people are moved by the film or intoxicated by it in some way. There is no message. It's not didactic. It's just a dream I had."


What's next? "I'm currently in Paris working with my partner, Brady Corbet, on our next film. It's a very ambitious project and we're excited about it."

Indiewire invited Sundance Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2014 festival. For profiles go HERE.

This article is related to: Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Meet the 2014 Sundance Filmmakers





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