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19th December 2014
Other worlds
Title of film: Other Worlds
Director: Martin Garde Abildgaard and Matthew Stone
We talk with director Martin Garde Abildgaard about crossing art pieces with commercial film

Dance runs throughout your work such as your beautifully crafted spot for Sony and your latest film, Other Worlds. Where does your connection with dance and movement come from?

I started my career working as a film editor. I did commercial films, trailers for feature films and music videos. So I guess music, rhythm and movement is something I have worked with from an early stage and then taken it with me into my work as a director.

People who have been to a party with me will know that I’m NOT a dancer myself!

Tell us about the process of making Other Worlds and how the collaboration with artist Mathew Stone worked.

Matthew and I worked very closely together on the film. He also produces music and did this 20-minute long score that draws upon shamanic drum patterns. It puts the listeners into a type of trance state or what some describe as a “shamanic state of consciousness”, which is an altered brain state created by repetitive sounds. We created a choreography to the entire track and shot that with our performers on two cameras. After that we cut down the track to a 90-second version and then created a sort of “new” choreography in the edit.

The dance itself looks like a major performance and yet the film is only about 90 seconds long.

Again I think my background as an editor of trailers plays a little role here.
I don’t like to reveal too much, and build up suspense and to give the audience this feeling that there’s much more to experience, even though we don’t show it all. The performance set-up was big when we shot the film and we had a lot of footage. But, from the beginning both Matthew and I felt, that this film should be very short and leave a lot of mystery behind it.

Was there a lot of pre-production involved and what were the key decisions – like the fps and lens – that you made before the shoot?

We did the film together with The Royal Danish Ballet and got help from the fantastic Louise Midjord, who is a choreographer. Together with her, we decided how the different characters should be moving. In some shots we wanted to create a sort of “under water” feeling and that’s why we shot some of it from above and in slow motion. We wanted to transport our viewers into another world.

From art to high-end commercials – you’ve just completed Perfection for Koenigsegg (which Google tells us is a Swedish hyper-car). It’s poetically precise. Was it a completely different experience from making an art piece?

Of course the process is different from producing a high-end commercial and making an art piece, because a commercial film also involves an agency and a client. But besides that, I’m very privileged to create films that have my artistic signature and in that way I think there’s a lot of references throughout all of my work.

Thoroughly enjoyed your short film Friday which you wrote and directed. Are you creating in your mind all the time? Are you planning more shorts?

Yes, I am creating projects all the time. I feel the best when I’m busy with creative work. When it comes to more narrative stuff I’m both writing on a new short film, but also on a drama series for television.

You’re represented by Superette in Paris, Parasol Island in Berlin and Bacon in Copenhagen. Is the intention to create different genres of work in these countries or are these representations for shooting commercials?

My intention is to create both commercials, as well as more narrative film and art work in these countries. The genres are merging more and more together these days, and get new fancy names every month, but what I know is, that I direct moving content.

What kind of up-coming projects are you working on right now?

Right now I’m working very closely with Superette on a film that we’ll shoot in London next year. It’s a mix of an art film and a commercial. The strength for me with Superette is that they understand and respect how to work in both genres and that’s very exciting. They have a great spirit when it comes to mixing art with more commercial thoughts.

Together with Parasol Island I’m also shooting a film next year for a big German car brand.

And right now I’m in post-production with a new art film, shot on 16mm, that involves a lonesome girl, an amputated horse and a meteorite…

Also next year we’ll be launching at Superette and in a Scandinavian gallery a new edition of America, an art project of film, music, still-photography and fashion together in one piece (see in Related Content).