FAR into nature with Kim Bodnia & Alexander Bodin Saphir


What is FAR about?

Kim: FAR is about a vision of working with my art very close to my life, and me as a lifestyle. I’ve always been fond of training my way of expressing my feelings and have always used that in my way of living with my family.

What was it like working with your son?

Kim: Since he grew up we’d always have these improvisations – learning to use his own feelings into his art of music and writing. When he told me he wanted to be an actor, I was trying to integrate what he learned for in his writing and music to do the same as an actor. So the training would always be to use your own experience and your own way of ideology, your own vision about life. He then said he wanted to learn from me and work with me.

Alex: And this was the first time you guys did that?

Kim: This was the first time we worked together in acting.

Did you see his improvements throughout making the film, and see him grow and become an actor?

Kim: For me, it starts when I have seen him on stage where he did some acting in theatre with the classes for young people. He had that specific energy on stage, that he wants to express something out of his body, words, and eyes. . And he has that same awful thing that I have, that can explode from one sense and one feeling to another. These kinds of explosions are very similar to what I am working with and when he asked me I knew he would be a good actor. When we hooked up with Alexander before shooting it was because I talked with Alexander how I was working and he knew about Louis and he wanted us to join the film. Because we are a family, we can work very intensly about our emotions that we go through like father and son. At the first meeting we told him to find a day in his life where I was a father who damaged my son and already there you are going to integrate into the character and into the script using yourself over the edge. Because it was not really normal for the father and son sit down and the father asks the son to tell him what is most damaging thing I have ever done to you.

Alex: And what’s interesting from my perspective was that you asked if there was an improvement from during production, I mean we all improved working together. If we had shot for another week or so it would be incredible. But Louis came to set incredibly prepared and had already dissected the role completely. He had gone on a five day low impact camping trip in the wilderness with just a friend, and he had done all the research prior to immerse himself in the role. And then wrapping that with the experience on set, where everything was fair game. We worked together on constructing and recreating the story as we went.

Kim: Alexander and Louis became very well connected. You never know where this can go. When you are working with these kind sense and feelings. I saw his trust in Alexander and it worked perfectly on screen so he could be as natural as possible and in conversation and feelings act in front of the camera. But to go there from these kinds of experiences like when they found out they wanted to do this as a ‘road trip’ or a trip to the forest. Louis as an actor found out that he had never really tried it, so before shooting he went on a camping trip. So the meeting with nature was something he really needed to discover so he did his homework.

Emma: That was my next question! I know nature is a very important thing in Scandinavia and I’m wondering why you selected camping trips as the central plot to your film?

Kim: Since I grew up I’ve always been a nature boy. I don’t see the city as something special, I see it as something we made together and we’re very good at it. It’s something amazing we’re doing and I love the fact that we created it because we have so much fun with it. But the meeting with nature is totally fantastic because its kind of way… another style, to be together as human beings with nature because we’re always trying to talk about nature as if we have to know about it. Something we should protect, or something we should do something about. But for me, nature is something I cannot describe in a word.

Alex: It’s also part of a very large examination that I think we as a society are going to choose this examination of what its like to be an urban animal. And what it means to be human in that context. We [Kim and I] are also interested in exploring, not just in this project, in other work that we’re doing, this dichotomy that’s split between man as a natural being and what has happened through urbanization, civilization and what happens when you take man out of that urban setting and what struggles and challenges does he have and can he find a home there, can he find a place there.

Kim: I have lived now for seventeen years in a forest and every day I’m home I’m outside all the time, so for me it’s very natural that everything is connected to a story that has something to do with the elements that nature has. I’ve discovered a lot of my living in nature and the system the forest has – it’s totally the same as what civilization is going through and the difficult stuff that is going on in civilization and in the city. I learn from nature and then I can go into the city and humanity and equip the extra stuff into us. So all the elements that we built on and we are building together is from nature. We don’t create anything, everything is taken from learning from nature. This is the very part of the way I’m living and thinking, so it’s brilliant that my son and cousin have the same kind of feelings that they want to talk about – this contest between nature and civilization. So this is something I can really working on because I have some experience from my own life. So for me these are really strong elements, so I’m happy that we can make these stories to talk about. It’s good trying to survive and do the best, so this philosophy of having this as a lifestyle is testing when you can do it in a movie, and we have this fantastic equipment that allows us to be in the forest and be outside all the time and shoot. It was a part of filming that we all lived together and discovering stuff together with the team because some things I haven’t thought, or Alexander hasn’t thought, gather the whole team into the forest to be there together. And it’s magic to develop what your senses and feelings can do out in nature. When I see Louis connect so well with it and Alexander, then as a father it’s an experiment to go to the next level, as Alexander said, to use more time. As he said, if we had stayed there one week more, what would’ve happened? And that’s what I like, I like these words ‘what would’ve happened’ – because that’s magic stuff.

It’s a test to make a script and actually go out there and work with nature. You get something you didn’t know existed, are you ready for that? Is the film crew ready to do this? And what does it mean when you live in the time schedule, because living in nature means you don’t have a normal schedule as when you are producing something in the city or in a studio. . But out there if you going through these moments, there is no existing timing, you have to live the production value that you’re giving up is that time schedule, that time doesn’t exist. You have to go with the wind, you have to go with the sun, you have to go with the moon, you have to go with the weather, the water and the heat, the coldness, and everything. So its moving all the time And to have your emotional stuff have the connection with that, and script and the director and the writers on set, that made it feel for me, totally fantastic integrated to what we’re doing. All art is connected once, and we’re gonna project it at the camera, its fucking amazing. You know? That’s fucking cool.

Any final words on the film?

Kim: We are doing this for ourselves of course, but also because we like to give something from our hearts to other people, you know? So I just wanted to say that there is nothing else to add because when we discover that we can do some work for the audience, then I’m happy.

Alex: And on that note, I mean this is obviously a standalone short film that was doing a lot of work for us, as an emotional journey as well as an exploration of a process. And what we discovered was how this process works, and we’re developing it more and more and we’re working on other projects that develop that process. But this was for us a step in a direction, which we hope to produce other work towards, that further develops this process, this methodology.

Emma: So we can expect to see some more projects like this one in the future?

Alex: Hopefully yeah!

Kim: Yes, yes of course!

Part two of our interview will feature in the next issue of the magazine on Nordic Noir.


Emma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.