Synopsis: Two mountaineers depend on each other during a climb but one has a secret that puts trust to the test.
How did the idea for the film come about?
The first piece of the idea was to make a film about climbing. We started out with a very different idea for a climbing drama, but it was turned down by the regional film fund, who was nevertheless enthusiastic about making a short climbing drama. In our second attempt, we (the producer Håvard and myself) began by establishing that whatever else the film is about, “trust” must be at the core of the dramatic concept because we both thought of climbing as being all about trust. This is how we came up with the relationship-piece of the puzzle. The idea was to compare, or mirror, the two kinds of trust relationships: The trust between climbers, and the trust between lovers. From here on, it pretty much made itself, because both the drama and the treatment of the concept seemed to demand that we examine the negative sides of the trust. Writing the screenplay was all about how to intertwine our two main concepts and bring out their positive and negative sides.
Shooting a film while scaling a cliff hundreds of feet up the face of a mountain seems a dangerous way to make a short film. How and what did you shoot the film with?
I’m not sure that it was more dangerous than many other shoots. Some of the most dangerous situations I have been in during any filmshoots were when overworked and dead tired runners where used as drivers after working 14 hours straight. But that doesn’t seem nearly as dangerous as it is. We had an experienced crew of climbers and experts in charge of safety and we didn’t have any really scary moments. That is not to say that none of us got pretty scared at some points. We shot the film with a 5K high resolution Red Epic camera. The trickiest part was to get the equipment safely to where it needed to be. The radio-signals transmitting the image to the focus-puller failed consistantly and this was a major problem for the assistent director and the sound recordist as well. We shot the film pretty much as it seems to be shot. There is no green-screen and only one piece of compositing. Our goal was always to do this as authenticly as possible, mostly because that is my style of film-making. I prefer finding locations that look right and shooting things as they are. I really like those kinds of challenges and CGI is not my thing anyway.
How did you cast the film? Where they both rock climbers before the shoot?
We considered this briefly before casting. Which is best: teach rock-climbers to act or teach actors to climb? We decided pretty early on, that even though the authenticity of the climbing was really important, this should be more drama than climbing. We ended up casting the best actors we could find for the parts. Everybody who came to the castings were enthusiastic about getting to train and learn about climbing as a part of their preparation. Lisa, who plays the girl, and I went climbing together in a local outdoor sportwall in Copenhagen for two months before the shoot and this was a great way for us to get to know each other.
Did you, the crew or the actors ever feel in danger?
Feeling scared is not the same as feeling in danger. The difference is something that most people notice when they first start climbing. Feeling scared is the bodies natural response to heights and this gives us the thrill that some of us like. Rollercoasters and horrorfilms work on the same principle. As long as we understand, rationally, that ropes don’t just snap, we don’t feel in danger. I think most of us were scared at times, but I did not hear of anyone feeling in danger.
The Norwegian scenery is beautiful scenery. Where was it shot?
It was shot on Rødøya (the red island). The mountain is called Rødøyløva (the red island lion), because from a certain angle it looks a bit like a lion. It’s in an area called Helgeland, just south of Lofoten in northern Norway. There are a lot of good locations in Norway.
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