For the uninitiated, could you explain a little bit more about this junction between the three countries and its significance?
Treriksröset is placed in Lapland and it’s a borderstone between Norway, Sweden and Finland. It’s in the middle of wilderness and a popular place for tourists to visit – even though it’s just a yellow block of concrete. It’s history is quite funny – they originally planned (in 1897) a stone in co-operation with Russia, Sweden and Norway but could not decide on it. Then they tried again in 1901 but didn’t have enough concrete. The current yellow concrete stone is from 1926.
Can you tell us a bit more about the casting and shooting process? In what country did you conduct it?
Making of this film was very much an experiment of “the committee film making” with writer-directors from different countries and main producer from the third country (and eight financiers for a short film!). We wanted to make this film as an international co-production to learn and see if it could benefit the film. It was fun, crazy, exhausting and surreal. We had people from all Nordic countries working with the film, so you can’t think of much more Nordic film. Casting was a long process we did in all three countries. As we used a combination of professional and amateur actors, and had to find a way to test them together. We shot at the actual place in the wilderness for two days where you need to first take a boat and then walk for 45 minutes. Luckily our “street casted” Sami actor Ole-Thomas Baal had a crawler as he is hearding reindeers in the area. The interiors were shot in Skövde, southern Sweden.
The film works really well as a short, as it has a funny, punchy ending. Are you interested in exploring other formats? Other genres?
Yes, we both have feature projects and we are interested in working together again at some point. As for genres – sure I’m interested in many genres and playing with them. I suppose the most interesting new thing can be found from between any genres really. I’m interested in finding the right way of making each film.
Any cinematic coups de cœur in the past year you’d like to tell us about?
Do you mean favorite films from last year? It was a good year for Finnish film because of two great debut films – Little Wing by Selma Vilhunen and The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki by Juho Kuosmanen, both strong and unique films. From around the world I have still many films I haven’t yet seen but the ones that I really loved so far were Farhadi’s Salesman, Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals and Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann.
If you’ve already been to the Clermont-Ferrand, could you share with us an anecdote or story from the festival? If not, what are your expectations for this edition?
We actually met each other in Clermont Ferrand in 2013 and danced all night, so it’s really special to come there again with a common film. I was really impressed by the enthusiasm of the audiences of the festival. I saw an old lady cursing in the line when she did not get a ticket to my screening. I loved that! So I’m looking forward to the most short film loving audience in the world and meeting people.
Are any other releases scheduled?
We premiered in Locarno 2016 and it’s been shown in several festivals including Chicago and Gothenburg. There are couple of other festivals coming up, but I don’t think they are public yet.