Thursday, March 19, 2009

Stian Hafstad on "Nemesis"

What was the nature of the assignment that led you to create Nemesis?

STIAN: Nemesis was the end result of a course we had in scriptwriting. Basically we could write a script about anything we wanted and then the class voted on which ones we wanted to make. There were no specific theme we had to include or genre we had to make.

The script for the film started out with the two bus scenes, the one in the beginning and the one in the end, which is an idea I've had for many years. So I based the rest of the story around those two scenes. I've always been fascinated by the concept of super powers. Mainly because it is so extremely fun in itself, but also because it works so great as a metaphor for so many other things.

I'm also fascinated by male friendship, so I decided not to go with a traditional love story that I might have done. With shows like Friends etc, having strong and close friendships has become an important aspect of being successfull in 21th century. And I'm thinking that it might be hard for someone to stand up and say: "Hey, I'm lonely.. I could use a friend," simply because you'll at once be viewed as a failure. So I came up with an idea of a lonely guy who had that dilemma, but managed to find a way around:)

What was your background in film before you made Nemesis?

STIAN: I'm a third year bachelor degree student at the film and tv-production faculty at the University of Bergen. The two first years we mainly worked on things related to television, so Nemesis is my first live action short film. I've made a couple of animated ones in the past, but nothing worth mentioning.

How long did it take you to shoot the film? And how long did it take to edit it?

STIAN: From the script was ready we had about:
- 6 weeks pre-production
- 5 day to shoot (in other words looong days)
- 2 weeks of editing and about 2-3 weeks after that for sound- and effects work.

Who are your favorite filmmakers and why?

STIAN: Oh boy, there are so many, but I'll mention a few:)

Michel Gondry - His creativity knows no limits
Christopher Nolan - He always seems to do more/bigger/better than what is expected of him
Jean Pierre Jeunet - He paints the most beautiful motion pictures
Trey Parker/Matt Stone - The way they manage to combine intelligent humor and fart jokes in a logical way is simply amazing

What did you learn from making the film that you'll take to your next project?

STIAN: The one thing I swore was that:

If I ever was to make another student film with no budget, I would write a script that didn't include any male characters between 25 and 60. You see because of our budget situation we couldn't afford to pay the actors, so we had to find actors who were interested in doing it for free. The problem was that most men in that age have jobs, so it was hard finding anyone who had the opportunity to do it. Almost gave me gray hairs:) 

Luckily about a week before the shoot we got in touch with Trond Gil, who plays the main character, and Anders McAuley, who plays the Nemesis. They were so generous with their time and did such a terrific job acting that I don't think it could have turned out any better no matter how much money we would have had. I'm so greatfull for their effort.

The funny thing is: when I wrote the script for my graduation film, which is in production now, I made it about therapy group with 8 male characters between 25 and 60.. So I've spent the last 1.5 months calling every actor and non-actor in Bergen, handing out notes on the street etc. But it ended up allrigt there too, and we got the people we needed.

So basically what I learned was that as long as the passion to tell the story is big enough, and I'm willing to just keep going, everything else always seems to fall into place (sort of).

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