Interview with EFA Discovery Nominee Mads Matthiesen on his film TEDDY BEAR
Can you tell us in a few words what your film TEDDY BEAR is about and what makes it unique?
Mads Matthiesen: The film tells the story of 38-year-old bodybuilder Dennis and his attempt to break free from a controlling mother in a wish to find a girl in his life. When Dennis’ uncle returns from Thailand with a Thai wife, Dennis decides to travel from Denmark to Thailand on a quest for love. Maybe in Thailand far away from his mother he can find the courage to begin a relationship with another woman.
The real-life bodybuilder Kim Kold plays the main part of Dennis, and if I should mention what is unique then it’s Kim’s participation and performance in the film: with very little acting experience he found the courage and had the skill to portray the main character in such a woundable way!
How difficult was it to get your film financed and produced?
My experience so far is that it’s always difficult to finance a film, especially if you are a first time feature film director, with no famous actors in your cast, and with a small poetic story. That said I really felt like that the people surrounding the project, in the financing and in the production, believed in the project from the beginning and backed me up in what I wanted to do.
After this first feature film experience: What do you most love / most hate about filmmaking?
There are two phases I like the most in filmmaking: in the beginning of it all when your story starts to shape, and in the end (around the editing) when you get the “real picture” of what kind of a film you have made. That ending phase can also be a terrifying one. I don’t think there is something I hate about filmmaking but if I should mention one thing then it’s the uncertainty in the financing stage. When you have been working on a project for a long period and you realize that because of lag of financing there is a possibility that this film will never get made.
Who are the European filmmakers that influenced you?
Michael Haneke, the Dardenne Brothers, Mike Leigh, Jean-Luc Godard.
How did you hear about the nomination for the Discovery Award and what was your initial reaction?
I got the news from the production company SF Film. I was generally very pleased and had a big smile on my face.
How important is the Discovery Award for you as a young filmmaker and what do you expect from the nomination?
First of all it’s a great honour to be nominated for this award! Out of the entire bunch of great European debut features that have been made this year it’s quite overwhelming that TEDDY BEAR got a nomination. I hope that the nomination will take the film out to even more people in cinemas across Europe and the rest of the world.
"I felt people believed in the project from the beginning"