We had the chance to interview Emil Jonsvik, the director of Marie’s latest video “Sista sommarens vals”, taken from her latest album “Nu!”. Emil told us about his career and the shooting of the video with Marie.
Judith: To start with, could you tell us about you? When and how did you get into filming and directing films?
Emil: I was born in Gothenburg, Hisingen 1978. I started producing my first films at the age of 12. This was for Swedish television (ZTV) and the film was “Gold”, which was a skateboard movie. When I look back on it I see that I already then wanted to create drama in film. I used scenes with actors walking through smoke in slow motion with strong cinematic music. After that I produced the Award winning break dance documentary “Shindig” and two other dance movies, “The Book” and “No One Knows Our Thoughts”. They were about winning over your inner fears. In 1998 I went to a film school, “Film I Väst” (Trollywood), and started working with blockbusters as “Santa is the father of all the children” and “A Witch in the Family” as a lighting designer and set lights along with being the cinematographer on location. I met the director Daniel Fridell which started a long cooperation, among others I became a cinematographer on his award winning TV series “A Class Apart” as well as the movies “Sökarna 2” and “Blood Brothers”. After that I directed the very popular television program (with over 1.5 million downloads on YouTube) “Late Night with Pierre” with little Al-Fadji for Swedish television (SVT). After that came my debut as a feature film director with “7X / Seven Bullets”. This movie was about seven kids that find a gun with seven bullets. This is a multiple award winning film including awards for “Best film” and “Best director”. Now I’m in the final cut with my new feature film “Krigarnas ö” (The Name of the Game) with the great actor Kim Bodnia known from TV series “The Bridge / Bron”. An exciting drama / thriller.
J: What do you like about being a director?
E: I love the creating process. To take a idea, put it down on paper and then manage to make these scenes come alive, that’s where my drive comes from. I get inspired by many different kinds of films in different ways. I love movies like “City of God” and “La haine” but I can also find inspiration in films like “The Last Samurai” and “The Driver”.
J: You started mentioning inspiration, but what do you want to tell with your videos? what do you think is your “trademark” and what makes you different from other directors ?
E: I get inspiration from people’s energy, music and films. In meetings with actors and artists, I often feel what they want to create together, it is important that I together with the team create the best energy on location for the shoot. Because of my broad experience with film production it’s easier for me to decide what to focus my energy on which makes my work very efficient.
This ultimately results in me laying my energy on the right stuff. I want to get the artist and the actors to have trust and feel secure with me in order to create magic together. That’s what makes every difference, and that’s my “trademark”.
J: Now about the video you did for Marie: how come you ended up doing the video? Did Marie or her management ask you?
E: My Producer / Manager Niclas Ekstedt, former manager at Universal Pictures, has an extensive network in the music industry and knows the record company that Marie works with. He showed up to view my previous productions and I quickly got really positive feedback. We had a meeting where everyone was gathered – the record company, management, Marie and Marie’s husband Micke, Niclas and myself. Almost instantly we had decided on a date for shooting the video and when the video will be up and running.
J: What was the first thing that came to your mind when you got the confirmation that you would be directing the video?
E: I felt like now I can make a video with my unique style of photography and directing and together with Marie we could take it to the next level by creating something completely new – together.
J: What was your aim with the video? What did you want to tell with it?
E: For me, the song is a tribute to life’s ups and downs and how it makes you stronger. I wanted to create images with ease and bring out Marie’s enormous energy while creating a nerve with feelings reflecting the meaning of the song. The love of the close people around her. Marie was quickly very happy when she saw the first cut of the video. Our work together was very effective and Marie shared her thoughts with us at the beginning and in the final cut of the video. Marie and Micke quickly felt that we had the same ideas of what we wanted to create.
J: Why black and white?
E: To create the closeness I wanted to get I felt that I want to scale everything down as much as I could and let the pictures speak for themselves. Black and white is very dramatic and with the right photo and lighting I could create the drama in the image that I wanted but simultaneously obtain Marie´s enormous love and presence.
J: As you could see on Marie’s official FB page, many people left feedback about the video. Were you happy / satisfied with it?
E: I feel very satisfied with the outcome of the video, and all the incredible compliments and feedback we’ve gotten on it, it is absolutely amazing. I’ve been compared with the absolute best directors of all time and quite lovely words like “The director seemed to understand the beauty of the inner Marie”, “Maries videos are a musical journey, the visiting of emotions and feelings of true friendship” and “Simply beautiful and pure … Marie is a amazing actor in her own song “.
J: Last but not least, there is a very nice picture of you and Marie sitting on the floor, one gets the feeling you got along very well – how was working with Marie?
E: We both knew what we needed to do to create that special something. And it’s such a great feeling when everything falls into place. I often work so I listen closely to my team, actors and artists. Everything that I can say, I already know so why not listen first? Like dancing together, feel the the rhythm of the bodies around you and which frequency they are on. Then you become a team. Marie trusted me with 110% and that creates tremendous freedom for me as a director and above all that a great feeling that everything is possible for Marie on location. We quickly felt that the team became united like one and that we created something unique, authentic. Together we created magic in front of the camera.