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Short of the Week: Q&A with Gunhild Enger & Jenni Toivoniemi, directors of Kommittén

Saturday 3 June 2017, by Abla Kandalaft

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

How did your collaboration on this film start?

We were invited on to the CPH:LAB programme to collaborate and luckily shared the same sense of humour and found the possibility inspiring.

For the uninitiated, could you explain a little bit more about this junction between the three countries and its significance?

Treriksröset is in Lapland and it’s a ’borderstone’ between Norway, Sweden and Finland. It’s in the middle of the wilderness and a popular place for tourists to visit – even though it’s just a yellow block of concrete. Its history is quite funny – they originally planned (in 1897) to place a stone in co-operation with Russia, Sweden and Norway but could not decide on it. Then they tried again in 1901 but didn’t have enough concrete. The current yellow concrete stone is from 1926.

Can you tell us a bit more about the casting and shooting process? In what country did you conduct it?

The making of this film was very much an experiment in “committee film making” with writer-directors from different countries and a main producer from the third country (and eight financiers for a short film!). We wanted to make this film as an international co-production to learn and see if it could benefit the final production. It was fun, crazy, exhausting and surreal. We had people from all the Nordic countries working together, so you can’t think of much more Nordic film. Casting was a long process that we carried out in all three countries. We used a combination of professional and amateur actors, and had to find a way to test them together. We shot at the actual place in the wilderness for two days, where you need to first take a boat and then walk for 45 minutes.

The film works really well as a short, as it has a funny, punchy ending. Are you interested in exploring other formats? Other genres?

Yes, we both have feature projects and we are interested in working together again at some point. As for genres – sure I’m interested in many genres and playing with them. I suppose the most interesting new thing can be found from between any genres really. I’m interested in finding the right way of making each film.

Any cinematic coups de cœur in the past year you’d like to tell us about?

Do you mean favourite films from last year? It was a good year for Finnish film because of two great debut films – Little Wing by Selma Vilhunen and The Happiest Day in the life of Olli Mäki by Juho Kuosmanen, both strong and unique films. From around the world there are many films I haven’t yet seen but the ones that I really loved so far were Farhadi’s Salesman and Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals. [Gunhild] I’d add Toni Erdmann as well.

The film will be screened at the Locarno Film Festival in August 2017.

Any message or comments?


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