Christian Dyekjaer: I love to tell stories and also have a need to express my self

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Christian Dyekjaer is Danish filmmaker born on 5.6.1971 in town Gentofte.He started his career in 1998 when directing TV serie called“ Hvide logne“.Two years later he again directed TV serie „ Hotellet“. His feature film came in 2002 and was called „ John or Mia“.Then came another TV movie called „ Snart kommer tiden“.It was somewhat a rule that Christian made films always in even years.

 Christian Dyekjaer 1What brought you to film industry. Was it your life long ambition or you were just impressed by somebody and wanted to test the water?

I started as a runner in an advertising company. I have always loved film, but really never thought of being a filmmaker before i was 21. Me and a group of other young people started the alternative film school, Super16 in 1999, after  not being accepted in the national film-school. 

 Do you have film education or you are self made man? Do you think  filmmaker of these days needs  film education to be able to do his work.

I believe its often a good idea with education but not always. I believe that most of the important skills for a filmmaker ( like to be in good contact with his own inner life and being able to express his thoughts and visions) can’t be learned in a school.

What is the reason you make films? Do you want just to express your views and feelings or you want to tell stories and point at sore social issues?

I love to tell stories and also have a need to express my self.  But I also want to explore the human conditions and emotions. I see myself as a kind of explorer and adventurer.

What kind of feelings did you have when you started to make your first movie and then when you saw it on screen?

I was very afraid the first time a made a feature film. I did’t sleep for like two months while shooting and was petrified at the premiere.

How does it work in Denmark with indie and mainstream cinematography? Is it funded by state or you can apply for some grants by ministry or have to depend fully on sponsors and friends?

Most feature films in Denmark are made with app. 30-50 % national funding. Maybe 1-2 feature films are made outside the Danish film-institute every year. We also have some regional funding and television also funds feature films. The rest of the financing comes from a distributor, private funding, sponsors etc.

Do you have any major film festival for independent films in Denmark? Also do you have any platform for indie films where filmmakers would meet, exchange experience and views?

I’m not really sure, but I think we have about 4 film-festivals in Denmark. One for kids, one for documentaries, one for short films and one for feature films.

Christian Dyekjaer 5

How does the distribution of independent film works in your country? Do the films have to go via cinema or they are distributed in closed indie market or by internet?

The film industry  discuss a lot if a film should be able to go directly on VOD or other distribution channels than cinema, but nobody have tried it yet (as far as I know).

Christian Dyekjaer 3How do you view the fact that films can be downloaded on computer sometimes only days after being released. Do you think it can basicly kill filmmakers who loose money.Can that be somehow prevented?

Its a big problem with pirate copying in Denmark. I think that some film would maybe be better of if they went directly to VOD and the internet. But its a difficult question. The fact is that we have a lot less money in the danish film industry now be course of film piracy.

Do you analyse your previous film to learn from mistakes or you just go your own way and once film is finished, it´s finished and you move forvard?

When I have made a film I don't spend much time thinking about it afterwards. But of course I learn something during the process. 

Do you film just your screenplays and your ideas or you buy adaptations or offered screenplays? Is there any sfere you would really want to go into and some isuess don´t interest you at all?

I write my own films and have my own personal themes that I work with.

Do you try to be as independent as possible or you don´t mind when various people from various branches tell you what and how to do and mend. What is independance for filmmaker in your view  and how important is it?

The danish Film institute are funding most films in Denmark. We often discuss how much/less the film commissioners should interfere in the development of the film. I think that good feedback from producers, film commissioners, distributors etc etc makes the best movies. I think its about being able to hold on to your own gut feelings and visions but at the same time being open to new ideas and comments. For me that’s the art of film-making.

What do you think is the success for filmmaker. When his film touches and influence 100 people  out of 10 000 and satisfy his artistic mission, or when it earns millions of dollars but is forgotten within half a year after premiere?

My dream is to make films that people also want to see in ten or twenty years from now. I would love to make money on my films but it’s not the most important thing for me.

Christian Dyekjaer Eva Csoelleova 4Did you have any idols that influenced you or you wanted to go your way and which films would you go to watch in the movie?

I don’t have any specific idols. I love european films, but also watch Hollywood movies. Especially their comedies. The last film I saw in cinema (last week) was a swedish film. I never watch action and adventure films.

You made films with 2 years pause. Is it how long does it take you to prepare for the new film or you had period when you had nothing to film, no screenplay, no idea and had to search and search and earch?

For me it takes about two years to develop a script. And It can also take some time to get the financing as well so I never shoot as much as I like to. Its never lack of ideas that prevent me from shooting…