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[Interview] – Kristian Håskjold – ‘Forever Now’ – A Feature Film

 

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Posted July 2, 2017 by

 
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Director and writer Kristian Håskjold?s honest and intimate drama Forever Now has been selected to screen at the prestigious Palm Springs International ShortFest in June, and stars Frederikke Dahl Hansen and Ferdinand Falsen Hiis as a young couple dealing with the end of their relationship.

After several years together, William and Cecilie break up. The same night, to treat the sorrow with love, they decide to do the drug MDMA together. For better or worse, this results in an emotional rollercoaster ride over a whole weekend as the two are isolated together in their apartment.

Award-winning Danish writer and director, Kristian Håskjold, found success with his short films Reception (2014) andWelcome to Paradise (2015), which were selected at multiple worldwide festivals. His short film Forever Now premiered at the respected SXSW film festival, and went on to win the festival?s Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Short. Kristian was also nominated in 2017 for Adobe?s Nordic Creative Talent Award.

In the role of Cecilie, accomplished actress Frederikke Dahl Hansen has been making a name for herself after becoming one of the youngest winners of the Bodil (the Danish Golden Globe equivalent) for Best Supporting Actress at the age of eighteen, in the film You and Me Forever. Previously, she had been nominated for a Bodil for Best Female Lead in Frit Fald, and starred as the female lead alongside Gethin Anthony in the romantic drama, Copenhagen.

Playing opposite is Ferdinand Falsen Hiis, who having graduated from the Danish National School of Performing Arts, is now going on to forge a successful career on screen and stage. As well as playing the male leading in award winningForever Now, he has also appeared in award winning films including Hawaii, Oslo and Natt til 17.

Forever Now will be screening as part of the Coupling & Uncoupling program at Palm Springs International ShortFest at 1:30pm on June 23rd at Camelot Theatres.

Trailer:

Interview:

To begin with, tell us about your latest film ‘Forever Now’…

The film is about a couple in their twenties, which has a neutral break up and spontaniously decides, to do the drug MDMA together to re-live their love one last time.

A breakup between a couple, I personally think is one of the most fragile moments you can portray, since you have to give account for a whole relationship together. Both parties are exposed and vulnerable, and their most inner thoughts and emotions get expressed. This makes such a situation incredible hard to portray on film in an honest and believable way. The honesty is paramount for the depiction to work. This was the reason why I as a director really wanted to explore this subject and situation. 

Where did the idea come from? How did you get involved with the film?

The film is based on my own personal experience. My ex girlfriend and I broke up two years ago. We were living together at the time and two hours later, she asked spontaniously if we should do MDMA to treat the situation with love. It’s a really weird thing to do, but we did it. And the amazing thing was that we were able to talk about all the things we’d never been able to tell each other before. All the things you maybe only would tell your friends, since the honesty would be too painful for the person. It was very therapeutical and gave more closure.

‘Forever Now’ has been selected for the Oscar qualifying Palm Springs International ShortFest, what was it like to receive this acclaim?

It feels amazing to have “Forever Now” selected for Palm Springs. It’s a very prestigious festival and I’m so happy to get the film more out there. “Forever Now” won the jury award for Best Narrative at SXSW this year, so it’s just amazing that it’s life continues in the States. I would love to makes films in the States, so I hope it can open some more doors.

Tell us about the cast, who is staring and what was it like working with them?

The cast as the couple in the film is Danish actress Frederikke Dahl Hansen (one of the youngest actresses to win a Bodil, the Danish equivalent to a Golden Globe, in Denmark) and Norwegian actor Ferdinand Falsen Hiis. And it was a pure pleasure working with them. They were both completely dedicated for job and put all their effort into it, which was really important for the film to succeed.

First of all the actors and I spent a LOT of time in pre production figuring out, who the characters were, so when we started shooting it was easier to direct. When that’s said, the most of the film is based on 10-30 minutes takes of them doing improvised talks. The toughest scene to do was definitely the first scene. I was trying to figure out what the mood and energy of the film was, so we did maybe 7-8 takes of 10-30 minutes, where I directed the actors Ferdinand and Frederikke on their energy level and mood. It was the first scene, so it had to be right. It was important to involve the actors a lot in the discussion of what emotionally felt right and what didn’t.

During the MDMA scenes I just talked with the actors, about what silly, quirky things they usually do with their girl- and boyfriend, and from there on we more or less just played around.

Regarding the dialogues, we picked some subjects for them to improvise over – such as being unfaithful and the time they first met. It usually took them 10 minutes to get completely in it, but they were amazing.

So to wrap it up, the whole film’s success was on getting the acting right. And they did and both Frederikke and Ferdinand did an amazing job. 

What are your influences as a filmmaker?

My absolute biggest influences for my films are my own personal experiences and the people I meet in my life. More or less all stories I do are in some way grounded on something I want to express about myself or my thoughts on the world I live in. My first film “Reception” was about “personal conflict-avoidance”, my last film “Welcome to Paradise” was about my view on parts of religion and my “Forever Now” was about having a neutral breakup. A feeling, I wanted to express, since I think a lot of people can relate. Lately I’ve really gotten into naturalistic acting, where I find big inspiration in Danish director Kaspar Munk and Danish new comers like Niels Holstein Kaa and Emil Falke.

What advice would you give to any up and coming filmmakers trying to crack the industry?

It might sound corny, but it’s a very important rule of thumb for me – tell the stories that actually matters to you instead of what you think people want. Because if the stories are not important to you, it’s gonna shine through the whole film in the end.

What is the next step for you? Do you have any other projects in production?

A guy from Sundance’s Screenwriter’s Lab saw “Forever Now” at SXSW and asked me if I felt like sending in a feature draft. So now I’m working on that. It’s a film about being a young Christian in 2017 and having identity problems in Denmark’s capital Copenhagen. And the plan is to mostly do improvisational acting as well, which I’m very excited about to explore more.

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Adam Snowden
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