is a playwright and filmmaker from Stockholm. Her film credits include “Pure” and “Hotell
,” both of which are toplined by “Euphoria
” star Alicia Vikander
” will premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival on September 11.
W&H: Describe the film for us in your own words.
” is about two sisters — played by Alicia Vikander
and Eva Green
— and their reconciliation after a tough childhood. These sisters have very different ideas on how to cope with psychological pain and have found different strategies regarding how to deal with life.
The film poses questions about responsibility and freedom, both individual and in a broader political sense without delivering any easy answers.
W&H: What drew you to this story?
LL: Even if the film to a large extent is about our relationship to death in modern society, for me it is even more about life itself — how to live, and the choices we make and why. These existential questions are the reason I make movies.
The sisters in this movie wrestle with questions I often have asked myself: What is our responsibility for others? The complicated concept of “freedom,” what does it really mean?
I set out to do a visually beautiful film about universal and complicated questions. After all, we all share the same common defeat — we are only humans.
W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?
LL: I think people basically have a lot more in common than we think. And I am convinced everybody asks themselves these basic, existential questions about freedom, responsibility, and reconciliation.
I also think we share a need to talk about these things. It is what art can offer us — proof that we are not alone in our wonderings. We can share these questions through stories, and we don’t have to say anything about ourselves.
W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?
LL: There are always many challenges. I write my own scripts so the first and maybe biggest challenge lies within myself — will I be able to write a good enough story which can be made into a film? Then it’s the whole financing process and then the filming.
Each part of filmmaking is a challenge in being a visionary and daring to follow your own vision, but at the same time being realistic and concrete. Filmmaking always has this built-in opposition between dream and reality.
W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.
LL: The main part of “Euphoria
” is financed in Sweden through B-Reel, a Swedish production company that produces my films. Our biggest co-producer is Vikarious, Alicia Vikander
’s new production company in co-operation with Great Point Media in London. Our second co-producer is Christine Ruppert
at Dancing Camel in Germany.
The film is a mix between Swedish Film Institute, movie funds in Germany, and private investors in London.
W&H: What does it mean for you to have your film play at the Toronto International Film Festival?
LL: A lot. Toronto is a great film festival and it is a big honor to be in competition. A film like this needs a festival like Toronto in order to find its audience. I am very glad to be here.
W&H: What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received?
LL: The worst advice: ”Make 10 movies you actually don’t want to do, then the 11th might be a project you really believe in!”
The best advice: ”Go for the projects you love, everything else is a waste of time.”
W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?
LL: The amount of people who want to tell you how to make a film is extremely huge. Make sure you do the stories you really want to do, and only surround yourself with people who want to go in the same direction as you.
Don’t try to adapt to what people call “the business.” Films can be made in many ways — find your way. The world of film needs people going their own way.
W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.
LL: “The Girls
” by Mai Zetterling
, because it’s completely free and beyond the rules for how a film should look like. “The Piano
” by Jane Campion
, because it will always be one of the world’s most beautiful love films. And last year’s “Raw” by Julia Ducournau
, because it is totally unique and at the same time telling something absolutely universal about being a young woman today.
W&H: There have been significant conversations over the last couple of years about increasing the amount of opportunities for women directors yet the numbers have not increased. Are you optimistic about the possibilities for change? Share any thoughts you might have on this topic.
LL: Of course I am optimistic. And the simple reason is life is too boring otherwise. There are more women making films outside the established studio system and I think it says something about our time. The world of film needs to renew its work methods — find new ways to make film, and new modern co-operations outside the traditional filmmaking frame.
Women are often responsible for projects that can give new blood, stories, and perspectives to the film world. The film world needs to evolve to continue to be a relevant art form in the future.
Tiff 2017 Women Directors: Meet Lisa Langseth
” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.