Please tell us about the brief for Everyday. Was the film your response to a Nokia brief or did you have the idea for the film already? Did you collaborate closely with a creative team?
Nokia and Protein contacted us with the simple brief: “Create a short film about Everyday adventures”. There was nothing more or less to the brief which made it very open, they gave us full freedom and support to create something I believed in which was really cool.
I had the idea unfinished shaping in my head for a while and when we got the brief it fell into place. I wrote the concept and the script that we presented to Nokia and Protein before we went into production.
I wrote the idea and script myself but then developed it together with my producer Erik Torell and Niklas Johansson my DoP.
The film is very effective with the dialogue sound track, was the sound track created first and did you shoot to fit it?
The dialogue was done after the shoot. We did it that way because we knew by the nature of the script a lot of new scenes would be added in along the way. We had to keep that process dynamic.
When we where halfway trough the edit we recorded the phonecall. We recorded conversations about nothing and improvised for hours. That became a hell to edit together to make it stick to the core of the idea and still keep an everyday tone. I’m happy with it in the end but it was a quite time consuming edit process.
There’s many different location scenes – was it crazy couple of days moving around one city?
We shot everything during four days up in northern Sweden. The locations were crucial since we wanted to worked with natural light. There is something special about the light in northern Sweden. It’s hard to explain and you have to see for yourself.
We had some magical experiences. Especially while we where traveling to shoot the opening sequence. We drove a five-hour drive from Luleå to Kiruna under northern lights by night to catch the sunrise in Kiruna. Erik my producer had arranged to have a snowmobile waiting for us when we arrived and we went straight up onto a mountain top in pitch black darkness and just waited for the day to come. I almost become religious and it was one of the most beautiful experiences I ever had.
Also the empty house that is featured in the film is something we found while googling locations. We found a name of an old lady in an article that had the keys to the closed down hospital in the middle of nowhere. She gave us the keys and we spent a day there exploring the huge closed down hospital. We went down into the basement with flashlights where there was an “Angel room”. It’s where they kept dead bodies before they where transported away from the hospital. It did not make it to the final edit.
What kit did you use – were there major set-ups for each scene or was everything quite portable?
The team was really small and we only worked with natural light. It was only me, Erik Torell my producer (and mood manager), Niklas the DP with two assistants that traveled with lovely Amie and Daniel up to Luleå. This made the shoot very flexible and dynamic. We planned out days, waited out the best light and then we let the cast set the rules on how the scene would develop rather than us putting them into a frame. We followed them rather than a rigged structure or technique.
It’s my absolute favorite way to work. Good friends and natural light.
Was there a lot of material that didn’t make the final edit? And did the film evolve and change during the edit?
Yes. The first edit without the dialogue was around 10 mintues – just to narrow down four days of material to some kind of selected sequence. Then when the phonecall came in it changed everything and I more or less restarted the whole process. Working with dialogue is kind of new for me so it took a while to get a grip on it.
The film changed quite a lot and I brought back the voice actor a couple of times to add and redo things that didn’t work with the edit or new scenes we created.
Please give us a resume of your background that led you to where you are now in your film making career.
I studied to become an art director at Berghs School of Communications in Stockholm and during that time I did quite a lot of promos for friends. After doing a spot for a non-profit organization that won Young Directors Awards in Cannes I started to realize I could maybe take this route instead and by then it was too late to turn back!
I learned a lot from doing everything myself and at the same time studying everything that comes with the art direction profession: design, typography, branding and concept development. Advertising school really helped me to learn how to present and defend my ideas.
Commercials, music videos or short films – where does your heart lie?
I’m a big fan of simple ideas and strong concepts. So it doesn’t matter what format they come out as. Over the last year I have been busy with commercials and am now finishing up a spot for HBO about stories that I’m really excited about. But I would like to go back to music videos so we are working on a couple of projects at the moment and hopefully have something before summer arrives.
But I definitely enjoyed working in a slightly longer format and with dialogue, so I’m exploring how I can take that further.
Written, Directed And Edited By Gustav Johansson
Producer: Erik Torell
Director Of Photography: Niklas Johansson, FSF
Music: Oskar Linnros
With Amie Henriksson, Daniel Nilsson Mäki, Serge Garcia & Alexis Auffray
Production Company: Camp David Film
Colorist: Mike Cosola, Cinepost Studios
Graphic Design: Albin Holmqvist
Styling: Sofia Ringertz, Art Official Agency
Executive Producers: Costas Syrmos, Darryl Pieber, Nokia Brand Studio, William Rowe & Protein Networks