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TIFF Women Directors: Meet Marte Vold – ‘Out of Nature’

TIFF Women Directors: Meet Marte Vold - 'Out of Nature'

Marte Vold (b. 1978 in Tromsø, Norway) studied film at Nordland Art and
Film School, attended the National Art Academy in Oslo, and then graduated from
the Norwegian Film School in 2005. Between 2002 and 2007, she and fellow director Ole Giæver made 260 short
films in a project called Play. Vold has been the Director
of Photography on several award-winning short films and documentaries. She also
writes and directs short films, and her “Small
Episodes” (2011) has been a festival hit. She co-directed Out of Nature with Ole Giæver. (Press materials)

Out of Nature will play at TIFF on September 6, 9 and 13.

WaH: Please give us
your description of the film playing.

MV: Out of Nature is about a man in
his mid thirties. He’s unhappy with his job; his relationship has become a
working alliance devoid of passion; he is emotionally disconnected from his own
son, and feels he has little in common with friends and colleagues. So he sets
out on a two-day journey into the mountains to put his life into perspective.
Note that the recreational use of mountains is a pretty common weekend
occurrence in Norway, so we are still talking about the average Joe here, not an adrenaline junkie. Ultimately, the film is about who you are when no
one is watching.

WaH: What drew you to this script (by co-director Giæver)?

MV: What attracted me to the script was the fact that it revolved around a
regular guy, with recognizable problems, and that the voice-over by which we
access his though -processes was trivial and downright unpoetic. The film is
bold in that it lacks drama — drama as in spectacle — and the “specialness” and
heightened reality that often accompany it. These are everyday matters [blown up] to
feature-length format.

WaH: What was the biggest challenge in
making the film?

MV: There were some practical challenges to the shoot. The director starred as
the main character, present in almost every frame. As co-director, it was my
job to make sure he [acted] the part the best way possible. Originally, I’m a
cinematographer, so the roles on set were somewhat muddled. The director had
become the actor, and a cinematographer the director, with the powers of veto
out of whack.

Often, situations would occur where I, after a take, would be
satisfied and want to move on, but had to wait for the actor-director to make
his decision. As co-director, you fall between two chairs, and I had to
work hard to get my points across. You’re directing, but at the same time you
can have decisions overruled at any given moment. Very educational! I was also 8
months pregnant at the time of shooting in the mountains — above the tree line.
It went surprisingly well, but it was definitely a source of (unspoken)
jitteriness for me and the production.

WaH: What do you want people to think
about when they are leaving the theatre?

MV: I’m not very concerned with anybody experiencing anything specific. More of
a feeling, I guess, of having seen something recognizable and relevant to their
lives.  To be human is a grueling thing, and there is solace in
other people’s struggles and — a kind of
not-total-hopelessness in shared misery. I think people will feel a little bit
better going out of the theatre than how they felt going in, like an invisible
big sister has stroked your back for 1.5 hours!

WaH: What advice do
you have for other female directors?

MV: I don’t know if I have any specific female-director advice, just that
everybody who makes films has to prepare themselves for criticism. You stick
your neck out, and you feel like you’re putting your heart out there. And there
it is, subject to all kinds of opinions. It’s important to be vulnerable and
open in the process of creating a film, but when that’s done, you have to put some
distance between you and it: a space of your own where you can be creative
without getting lost or obliterated. At least, that’s how I go about it, but I
think everybody has to find their own way of working.

Oh, and a very
female-director tip. If you want children, have them: don’t wait. You don’t
even need to be in a good relationship. Just have them and do your thing, but
prepare yourself for the occasional blues.

WaH: What’s the biggest misconception
about you and your work?

MV: I don’t feel that my work is especially threatened by misconceptions, but
if I had to choose something, it would have to be that a lot of people think that
I make funny, comedic stuff first and foremost. I do use a lot of humor in my
work, but it’s a means to an end, emotionally paving the way for grimmer
realities. So, if anybody thinks it’s the ha-ha I’m going for, they’re wrong. That
said, Out of Nature has many comedic
moments.

WaH: How did you get your film funded?

MV: The film is produced by Mer Film and was financed  by the Norwegian
Film Institute, the regional fund Filmfond Nord, and an equity investing bank,
Sparebank 1 Nord-Norge. 

WaH: Name your favorite women-directed
film and why.

MV: Beau Travail by Claire Denis. An
incredible, visceral film. How she manages to utilize symbols without becoming
clichéd, how she portrays the masculine and erotic through her montages of
military training in the Foreign Legion, and for the most poetic and moving
evocation of a suicide in the entire history of film. As a former deejay at my
local youth club in northern Norway, I can safely say that Corona’s “Rhythm of
the Night” has never been the same again.

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