Your film is poetic, mysterious and metaphoric and it certainly doesn’t follow a linear real-life plot. Please do tell us your interpretation of the narrative.
I wanted to tell a story about the unstoppable journeys that destiny sometimes gives us through our lives.
Our first big journey is to be born and I found it interesting to use this very specific process as a setting for a story.
An infant is safe and protected in the amniotic fluid and wants to stay there but an almost astronomical power and process then begins through birth and nothing in the universe can stop it. When destiny knocks on your door you just need to obey and follow the path which is chosen for you, I believe.
Birth is both a collaboration but also a very hard struggle between two souls. It’s painful and scary, but also beautiful, poetic and fragile.
When my son Tristan was born, I witnessed a very challenging birth process, so this has of course also been a great part of my inspiration.
Did you work closely with the track’s producer and DJ – Thomas Bertelsen? What was the original brief and what were your initial ideas for the video?
When I first listened to the track, it gave me this feeling of being somewhere between dream and reality. Life and death. In some sort of surreal stage where destiny has taken control and you need to complete some sort of a “mission” before you can be set free again.
Thomas was very open in regards of different approaches to visualise his track and he loved the idea of the birth-theme from the very beginning. We worked very close together through the entire process and I don’t think this is the last project we will create together. Thomas also works as a composer, so maybe our next project can be the other way around – that he creates music to my images.
Stunning locations – where were they?
I wanted to shoot a place where we really could feel the power of nature, when our main character was being dragged through it, caught by the rope around his wrist.
My DP Mattias Troelstrup came up with the idea of shooting in a remote area on the west coast of Denmark, called Ulfborg, where he had been during his childhood. When I saw the place, I loved it immediately.
We went there and shot for three days. It was in February and it was freezing. So besides almost getting his arm torn off by the merciless rope, the main character Christian Diaz also struggled with the deathly freezing climate. On shoots like that, I really admire the actors and am happy for “just” being a director.
Any major challenges creating the production? And how did you resolve them?
I had this image in my head of a man lying in a tub covered in liquid, shot from above.
But, before the shoot started we didn’t really have any luck in finding that ‘perfect’ tub.
On music video projects like this, the resources are very limited so my amazing producer Rikke Katborg ended up knocking doors on random local farms herself to find a tub which could fulfil what I wanted to achieve.
She succeeded, the tub she found was absolutely perfect, but in a rush of enthusiasm I accidentally told the actor what the tub originally had been used for; to wash off freshly slaughtered pigs in boiling water!
He took it well, and we purified it as good as we could, before we lowered him down, stark naked, into a mix of cold milk, water and other unnamed liquids…
I deeply respect him for doing that and am very happy with the result of that shot.
We’ve also caught up with some of your commercial work – for Voltaren – which is a completely different style to your art film. Please tell us about this production too, how it came about and how it evolved.
I created this project together with the good people at Saatchi’s in Sweden. The idea is to show by adding movement into your daily life, it actually can get rid of body pain.
But completely opposite to the Organ music video, I didn’t have professional actors here, but needed to create the film with ‘real’ people, suffering real body pain. Through a period of only 11 weeks we secretly rehearsed with them and created a body orchestra performance. We showed the performance to the closest relatives, to the contestants, and they actually couldn’t recognize them, because they now suddenly were able to move completely freely and without pain. It was very touching and a great project to be part of.
What’s coming up next?
Right now I’m working on a short documentary piece with and about the great artist Ai Weiwei, together with Freedom Agency and Bacon. We have shot in Berlin and Athens and are now in post production.
Ai Weiwei is very engaged in the refugee crisis in Europe and the film is focusing on this and other topics which lie close to him. It has been very exiting to meet him and work with him.
List five inspirations that have connected with you recently – these can be films, music videos, books, architecture, people, anything you like!
I’m a huge fan of the Japanese author Haruki Murakami. I have read everything he has ever written and have now started all over again in his authorship, which is my main source of inspiration right now.
Normally I never read a book more than once, but the universes Murakami creates are so abstract and amazing that they deserve one more round. So these are my five inspirations right now:
– Kafka on the Shore
– After the Quake
– Dance Dance Dance
– A Wild Sheep Chase
– The Wind-up Bird Chronicle
Tom and his Computer: Organ
Director: Martin Garde Abildgaard
Executive Producer: Rikke Katborg
Dp: Mattias Troelstrup
Label: In My Room
Production Company: Superette, Paris
Camera Equipment: Sidney Plaut
Production Manager: Ves Møller Rasmussen
Stunt: Anton Nipgaard
Editor: Nicolaj Monberg
Vfx and Grading: Mikael Balle / Gimmick Vfx
Casting: Gro Terp / Art Cast
Costumes Man: Noemie Rivier
Costumes Woman: Stine Gudmundsen-Holmgreen
Post Producer: Louise Ryge
Post Production: Gimmick Vfx
Man: Christian Diaz
Woman: Anna “Banana-Split” Ester
Thanks To Thomas Bertelsen, Martin Riello, Anders Trentemøller, Martin Werner, Bjarne Troelstrup, Poul The Farmer, Red Rental And The People Of Ulfborg.
Creative Director: Jason Mendes
Copywriter: Amalia Pitsiava
Art Director: Alexander Rehnby
Production company: Bacon
Director: Martin Garde Abildgaard
DP: Paul Evens
Editor: Nicolaj Monberg
Colourist: Daniel De Vue
Music Stylist: Jesper Gadeberg