In­ter­vi­ew with Jo­han­na Nor­dahl, In­dio

Odalisque - - Artwork By Sammy Slabbinck Written By Michaela Myh - By So­fia Chowd­hu­ry

“In the end, the film had be­come mo­re about men­tal sa­ni­ty… ”Jo­an­na Nor­dahl is the mas­ter be­hind the mu­sic vi­deo for Say Lou Lou’s “Not­hing but a He­art­be­at”. sc: When and how did your in­te­rest in film­ma­king ta­ke form? jn: I come from the theat­re and per­for­ming arts world. I ba­si­cal­ly grew up on stage, al­ways dan­ci­ng, singing, ac­ting, do­ing big and small pro­jects with my fri­ends, con­stant­ly ha­ving way too much to do and too litt­le ti­me, run­ning between dif­fe­rent re­he­arsals. I think that at so­me point as a te­e­na­ger I sort of re­a­li­zed that I’d ne­ver been ve­ry hap­py with what I was asked to do on stage and I’d rat­her just ma­ke the de­ci­sions on my own, ob­nox­ious ac­tress, ha­ha! So then qui­te quick­ly I started directing for the stage. I am such a nostal­gic per­son, and the idea of wor­king on a pro­ject for a ye­ar and that it would then be shown just a couple of ti­mes in front of an au­di­ence and then per­haps ne­ver again… that thought sort of kil­led me, that the mo­ment would just get lost with ti­me. I re­a­li­zed I wan­ted to cre­a­te so­met­hing that would last fo­re­ver or have a li­fe of its own. Film se­e­med li­ke a good rou­te, con­si­de­ring I was al­re­a­dy a to­tal mo­vie buff. sc: How long do­es the cre­a­ti­ve pro­cess ta­ke? jn: From idea to fi­nished pro­duct? That re­al­ly de­pends on the pre­mi­se of the pro­ject. So­me­ti­mes, for ex­amp­le when wor­king on a mu­sic vi­deo I usu­al­ly have to come up with an idea wit­hin a couple of days, deliver a cre­a­ti­ve tre­at­ment and then shoot, edit and deliver in the sa­me month. In ca­ses li­ke that you just have to rely on in­tui­tion - the­re’s no re­al ti­me for deep ana­ly­sis or mo­ving back and forth between ide­as. But when cre­a­ting so­met­hing big­ger, li­ke when I direc­ted a docu­men­ta­ry se­ri­es for SVT [Swe­dish Na­tio­nal Te­le­vi­sion], the cre­a­ti­ve pro­cess just ne­ver en­ded. I’ve been wor­king for al­most two ye­ars on that pro­ject, and I still find ques­tions and new aspects of the con­cept eve­ry ti­me I work on it. It’s su­per in­te­re­s­ting ac­tu­al­ly. I ho­nest­ly don’t think I will be ab­le to grasp what we have created even when it’s all do­ne and ai­red – I think I pro­bably will be ab­le to look at it as “fi­nished” so­me ye­ars from now, when I’ve got­ten so­me re­al distan­ce to it. sc: Whe­re do you find in­spi­ra­tion? Who are you in­flu­enced by? jn: I find lo­ads of in­spi­ra­tion from just lis­te­ning to mu­sic – I’d say that’s my main in­spi­ra­tion. Mu­sic is just so abo­ve the ot­her art forms. It in­stant­ly kick­starts emo­tions, and that’s su­per hel­p­ful to me and gets me in­to a good vi­be when I’m wri­ting or re­se­ar­ching. I try to look for in­spi­ra­tion in dif­fe­rent pla­ces and worlds de­pen­ding on what ty­pe of pro­ject I’m wor­king on. Li­ke, I can get inspired by the fashion sce­ne for one pro­ject and by na­tu­re docu­men­ta­ri­es for anot­her. I’m al­so ve­ry in­flu­enced by the cre­a­tors around me. Ma­ny of my fri­ends are ar­tists – wri­ters, cho­re­o­grap­hers, mu­si­ci­ans, il­lu­stra­tors, po­li­ti­cal ac­ti­vists, etc. They are all bril­li­ant and in­spi­re me so much. Most of my work is in so­me way po­li­ti­cal, and I fe­el that the cur­rent ti­mes of in­justice, pre­ju­dice and ha­te spre­a­ding in the world are trig­ge­ring me to keep wor­king. I don’t want to be si­lent and I fe­el a need to claim spa­ce in the of­ten qui­te mi­so­gy­nistic and con­ser­va­ti­ve film in­du­stry. That’s mo­re im­por­tant to me now than ever. sc: What has been the most im­por­tant ob­stac­le in your li­fe, that has made you grow? jn: A couple of ye­ars ago too ma­ny com­plex and shit­ty things hap­pened all at on­ce, and I was da­ma­ged from work-

ing too much and be­ing anx­ious about eve­ryt­hing. That even­tu­al­ly led me down a dark spi­ral of deep de­pres­sion. I hadn’t ex­pe­ri­enced that ty­pe of out of bo­dily sad­ness and long term apat­hy be­fo­re, and it sca­red the shit out of me. Pic­king my­self up from that pla­ce by wor­king less, fi­gu­ring out what I wan­ted, asking for help, and be­ing su­per ho­nest and vul­ne­rab­le to pe­op­le was a hu­ge thing for me. I am much mo­re hum­b­le to­ward work sin­ce then and have de­ve­lo­ped this incre­dib­ly che­e­sy or ve­ry aweso­me car­pe di­em-ty­pe of at­ti­tu­de to­ward eve­ryt­hing. Go­ing through that pro­cess was tough and for­cing my­self to spe­ak open­ly about it has de­fi­ni­tely made me grow, both as a per­son and as a director. You have been wor­king with Say Lou Lou, you ac­tu­al­ly did their la­test mu­sic vi­deo for Not­hing but a he­art­be­at. Tell us about the theme and idea be­hind the mu­sic vi­deo. The idea for the vi­deo was that, rat­her than to cre­a­te a vi­deo for the spe­ci­fic song, we wan­ted to cre­a­te mo­re of a sta­te­ment pie­ce or short film ba­sed on the tit­le and theme of the new al­bum Lu­cid Drea­ming. The Lous wan­ted to cap­tu­re this feeling of how eve­ryt­hing wit­hin a dream ma­kes perfect sen­se wit­hout con­ting­en­cy or any lo­gi­cal ex­pla­na­tion. I re­al­ly lo­ved that chal­lenge and sought in­spi­ra­tion in films and books about lu­cid drea­ming, whi­le try­ing to cap­tu­re a spe­ci­al bond between the sisters. In the end the film had be­come mo­re about men­tal sa­ni­ty and re­la­tions­hips than what I ori­gi­nal­ly plan­ned. Tho­se aspects just de­ve­lo­ped wit­hin the cre­a­ti­ve pro­cess. sc: Who would you li­ke to work with, de­ad or ali­ve! jn: The­re are so ma­ny! But I guess Björk, Daft Punk, Beyon­cé, Hans Zim­mer and Frida Kahlo would be a gre­at bunch to spend so­me se­ri­ous ti­me with. sc: Tell us about a te­ch­ni­que, or just so­met­hing that you have seen in anot­her film, that you would li­ke to learn how to mas­ter or recre­a­te. jn: I have be­come re­al­ly ner­dy wit­hin a par­ticu­lar area of film ma­king but at this point I don’t want to re­ve­al what it is un­til I ac­tu­al­ly mas­ter it! sc: What do you do when you’re not wor­king? jn: I hang out with my fa­mily and fri­ends and spend ti­me in Stock­holm. I tra­vel a lot in work, and it’s aweso­me, but whe­ne­ver I’m ho­me I just try to chill and hang out with my fri­ends as much as pos­sib­le. We drink be­er and sing hor­ren­dous ka­ra­o­ke tu­nes in di­ve bars and go to di­scos most of the ti­me. sc: Best mo­vi­es ever, shoot! jn: I de­fi­ni­tely have a thing for tra­ge­di­es. I lo­ve to cry in the mo­vie theat­re. I lo­ve su­per sad sto­ri­es li­ke Ro­meo+ju­li­et, Blue Va­len­ti­ne, Me­lan­cho­lia, Dan­cer in the Dark and Ti­ta­nic. I guess I li­ke to fe­el a lot. Re­cent­ly I’ve been ob­ses­sing over In­ter­stel­lar and Blue is the War­mest Co­lor. sc: What are you do­ing at the mo­ment? jn: I am fi­na­li­zing a TV show I direc­ted cal­led One Wish. It’s a docu­men­ta­ry about young dan­cers who me­et at this dan­ce school in Mal­mö and sort of need to fi­gu­re out who they are and what they want from li­fe. Asi­de from that I just fi­nished a couple of mu­sic vi­de­os for fan­tastic ba­dass rap­per, Sil­va­na Imam, with In­dio, the pro­duc­tion com­pa­ny I work with. In a month I will go to a mo­nas­te­ry in Por­tu­gal to re­se­arch a new dan­ce per­for­man­ce/film hy­brid show that I am cre­a­ting with Nor­wegi­an cho­re­o­grap­her Lud­vig Daae. Ex­ci­ting ti­mes for su­re!

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