L’intervista a Petter Skafle Henriksen in originale

Tarjei WestbyFirst of all: how much resources does shooting a short film requires? I mean, for the viewers it is just a few minutes, but I guess it is pretty demanding and requires a good number of people, doesn’t it?

You are right, it can sometimes be hard to explain to people how much work that lies behind each minute of finished film. Well, a film can be very expensive to make, depending on your artistic choices, the content of the film, availability of equipment etc. You will always have to find ways to do things cheap, especially when you finance the film yourself, like I have done. The boy and the abyss was made by myself, and my two friends: photographer Kenneth Sortland Myklebust, and actor Tarjei Westby.

Can you tall me how much “The boy and the abyss” cost? And how was it financed?

The boy and the abyss cost about 600 euros, which mainly went into traveling to Sardinia. We financed this ourselves. Everything from actors, equipment, the original music etc was done for free. Next time, I would love to have a bigger budget. It’s nice to be able to pay people if you can.

I understand you are still in a starting phase of your career. Is it difficult to be a “young” author in Norway? Do you think more or less than in Italy?

Yes, I am 26 years old, and just starting up my career. I studied film in Stockholm and Singapore, and psychology in Oslo. Aiming on an artistic career will always be a more difficult road. I guess that goes for everyone. Norway is a rich country, which makes it more possible to follow your dreams here, than in most other countries I think. The government is good at supporting culture here. But politics and economic times are shifting as we speak. The government has made a significant cut in the support for film and television in this year’s budget. This means that private funding will be more important in the years to come. Which again leads to more commercial projects. The short film will suffer greatly from this, as they rarely make any money.

How was that you ended shooting in Cagliari? It was by chance, because you wanted specifically to shoot in Cagliari, some other thing…

We were invited to attend Skepto with my previous short Shit No More. We arrived four days ahead of the festival, and broght the camera along. To Norwegian audiences, Cagliari is quite “exotic”, which works well, since the main character is supposed to wake up in a very foreign land. I am very eager to see how Italians translate the film, because to them, Italy isn’t quite as exotic.

Petter_Skafle_Henriksen e Tarjei_WestbyFrom a visual point of view is shooting in Cagliari “special” under some sense? I mean: was the visual environment more difficult, or limiting, or on the contrary entertaining or stimulating than some other place? 

Shooting in Cagliari offered, to us, an opportunity to go a bit mental, and “do as we wanted”. Tarjei could run naked around in the streets without having to fear meeting friends or relatives. I still don’t know if it’s considered an offense to take your clothes off in public in Italy though… I did love the small, narrow streets, and the breathtaking view on top of the city.

There was some “impression” of the town that you wanted to convey? Here I am referring to the visual point of view, firstly: landscape, light, city corners, architecture…

I was very careful that this shouldn’t turn out to be a tourist video for Cagliari. The audience shouldn’t recognize the place, because that would take the magic away from the story. As I mentioned, Cagliari is quite exotic to us, and I enjoyed the limestone, the small verandas, and the overall yellow tone, which we don’t find back home.

I dont’ know if it is good etiquette to ask: have you seen Jacopo Cullin’s short film “Buio”? What do you think about it? Are there some points of contact between his Cagliari and yours?

The two shorts are obviously different, but I find some similarities in their main themes: the reference to childhood, the will to live life to the fullest? Do you agree? And how do you explain it? Chance, the mood of the period, it’s because you both are young people…

I have seen it, once at Skepto International Film Festival, and again today on your blog. We all agree that this was one of the best films we saw at Skepto. Fun to see that we used the same square below Hostel Marina as a location. It’s a very cute story, that transcends age and time. As there may be similarities regarding childhood, and living life to the fullest, there are also different themes in the two films. I won’t speak for Cullin, but my film is about taking the leap and overcome fear, even when you’re most nervous and scared of failing. Even though I’m young myself, I do believe this is a theme which goes for all ages. We live in a time where we constantly have to move on to new places, meet new people, jobs and cultures. It takes practice to get good at this.

At last, I’d like to say that I hope to come back to Cagliari for this year’s Skepto festival. Though it seems like Ryanair has changed its route to Cagliari this year, so I’m hoping for some other solution.

Petter Skafle Henriksen

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