How different will two people experience the exact same thing?
Interview with Writer/Director Sigrid Kolbjørnsen
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Thank you! The idea to this film came after a conversation with a close friend of mine. Someone whom she considered a close friend came over after a late night out drinking, because he needed a place to sleep. He was very drunk when he showed up, and wanted to sleep in her bed. Their friendship had no sexual nature, and she made it clear that she wanted him to sleep in the living room, as she was not up for anything else than sleeping. Later at night she woke up to him having intercourse with her, without her permission. In this situation she froze, not capable of tell him “no”. She even felt like she somehow was in on it, like it was her own fault, even though she had told him no at an earlier point. Afterwards she was not sure whether it could be considered as a rape or not, as she did not express her defiance.
After much research on this issue, I believe that this specific reaction, when you are somehow incapable of saying no – for multiple reasons, is a very common reaction, and I also believe that this can create a stronger feeling of guilt for the victim.
My friend later confronted him on what had happened, and I found his reaction very interesting: he did not know that he had raped her! He was full of regret, and had no idea that he had become a rapist that night. I think there is something deeply wrong with our society when young people don’t know where the “blurred lines” goes, where a “yes” means yes, but where a “no” also could mean “yes”.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
My friend’s story isn’t unique. Many of my friends have in some way been sexually harassed, abused or raped – I can probably count on one hand those who have not experienced anything like it. I believe this is an international problem, and I hope our film can start a conversation about the issue.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Sexual abuse is something that happens to at least one out of three women in Norway throughout their lifetime, usually done by someone they know. There is no reason to believe that the numbers are any lower other places in the world. It’s a global issue that needs to be addressed.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
After writing the script, I spent a lot of time going through it with the key actors. I wanted to develop both the character’s personalities and their way of talking together with the actors, so that they could achieve a feeling of ownership of their character.
I also spent a lot of time post production with the editor, Henrik Rugesæter, working on the pacing and the mood of the story. We decided to switch the two first parts of the movie, which I think was the right decision, and we spent a lot of time trying to present the horrific experience of the main character.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
We have received overwhelmingly good feedback until now, even though there is a couple of very rough and challenging scenes in the film. After the premiere screening of the film, a total stranger guy came up to me crying, telling me that this exact thing happened to a close friend of him. This experience told me that the film somehow was important, and that we had managed to hit a nerve that was important to talk about. This meeting really touched me, and made me trust that it was a story worth to be told.
We were also sponsored by SMISO (Support centre for Survivors of Incest and Sexual Abuse), who are using the film in their education when they are visiting different high schools in Norway. The feedback from them, and the fact that they wanted to use the film, means a lot to us.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Not really. I believe this is an issue that we need to talk about, and with movements like #metoo and #timesup that we’ve seen in the western world the last few years, we now have a unique opportunity to battle injustice.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I hope as many people as possible will watch the film, even though it’s in a foreign language, to make a discussion about where the line is drawn for the grey zone of sexual assault.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Anyone who are interested in our film!
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
My biggest hope for this film is that it can be an eye opener for young people struggling with differentiating what is ok and what is crossing the line. If only one person sees it and don’t end up as a rapist, then I feel like I have achieved something extremely important.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Do you know what a rapist looks like?
Would you like to add anything else?
Be kind to each other and take care of each other. And never think that it’s somehow your own fault.
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I’m taking my masters at the moment, and I’m hoping to continue writing and directing after I finish my degree. I’m also doing some music videos, as well as writing and co-directing a documentary about integration in Norway.
Interview: January 2019
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series, music video, women's films, LGBTQIA+, POC, First Nations, scifi, supernatural, horror, world cinema. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
How different will two people experience the exact same thing?
Length: 25 min
Director: Sigrid Kolbjørnsen
Producer: Agnete Gradek and Faezeh Miramor
Writer: Sigrid Kolbjørnsen
About the writer, director and producer:
SIGRID KOLBJØRNSEN (writer/director) is currently taking her MA in script writing for TV shows at the University of Bergen. April 6th was her graduate film, and won the Audience award at Chicago Feminist Film Festival in 2018.
AGNETE GRADEK (producer) moved to Oslo, Norway, after finishing her BA in film- and TV-production at the University of Bergen, and is currently working as the production leader for the children’s series “Bo Bear” which will screen in Norwegian TV in February 2019.
Key cast: Sørine Nydam Andersen, Sigmund Njøs Hovind, Renate Hellerud.
Looking for: Distributors, film festival directors, journalists.
Funders: SMISO, University of Bergen
Made in association with: University of Bergen, SMISO
Where can I watch it next and in the coming month? The film is no longer screening in festivals, but can be watched here: https://vimeo.com/226067688.