Swedish Director Filip Tegstedt Talks Debut Horror Marianne

“I really don’t think I could do anything else.” That’s the response Swedish film director Filip Tegstedt gives when asked what it was that inspired him to become a film-maker.

Attracted to the world of movies, Filip grew up in the small town of Östersund – a place he says has a “distinct, almost supernatural feel to it”.

So, with his first feature – horror film Marianne – taking shape in his head he knew the perfect place to shoot it would be his home town.

He describes the film as a father-daughter conflict between a man, haunted after something terrible happened to him, and his teenage daughter who’s been so hurt by him he struggles to gain her trust.

So what was it that convinced Filip to make his first film a horror?

He explains: “What I like about horror, especially low budget independent horror, is you can break all laws of convention as well as make the audience uneasy about what they’re seeing.

“The best films deliver something the audience didn’t know they wanted. Before Blade Runner, how many people knew they wanted a futuristic sci-fi film noir?

“Low budget independent horror is a great genre to do that because you don’t have to be so afraid, as a filmmaker, to step on people’s toes.

“Horror fans watch anything horror, no matter what language or what culture it’s from… or how bad it is. Because it’s horror, we love it, so there’s a market.”

Filip’s passion for film is evident as he talks about his project – and it’s clear he was delighted Peter Stormare (Fargo, The Big Lebowski, Armageddon) agreed to star in Marianne.

He said: “Peter is terrific. It’s great people like him support independent film and first-time filmmakers when we have a film institute in Sweden that actively works against us.

“Having him on board has helped show people we’re all about telling a compelling story, and we’re not just a bunch of amateurs with a camera.

“This is an industry where you really have to prove yourself, and guys like him help us get people to listen. It was also really fun to work with someone who’s worked with some of my favorite directors like Ingmar Bergman, The Coen Brothers, Steven Spielberg, Terry Gilliam and Lars Von Trier. “

And Filip is just as complimentary when he talks about up-and-coming actress Sandra Larsson, who plays the daughter of Krister (Thomas Hedengran).

Tegstedt says: “Sandra is great. The funny thing was, I was searching for months for someone to play Sandra in the film.

“I wasn’t living in Östersund at the time so I couldn’t put up notes, but I was browsing internet filmmaker forums and communities and found a few candidates. The problem was, nobody got my emails.

“Because Östersund is so small and isolated, there’s not a lot of work for actors here, and the ones that had registered to filmmaking communities hadn’t logged on for a year or so.

“I needed someone who was from the area because of the very special accent locals have. Just as I was giving up I changed my search settings on a whim and found Sandra.

“By a staggering coincidence, her first and last names were the same as the character’s. She was a few years too old and wasn’t goth but she did have a lip piercing and had the right look in her eyes. I sent her an email, she called me two hours later and that was that.”

Describing her time on the set, he added: “She’s the hardest working actress I’ve ever come across. She never quits and always gives 100%.

“She has a great presence in camera and emotes really well. You sympathise with her as a person when she’s on screen.

“Sitting on that pier at 1am being eaten alive by mosquitoes – three times, actually! One of them 4am in the rain – and never complaining. I can’t even go into how hard this shoot must have been for her, but she’s tough as nails and she’s a natural talent. I hope she goes a long way.”

Filip is, in fact, a champion for homegrown film talent. So-much-so that he has set up his own production company – Jämtfilm AB.

So what are his plans for Jämtfilm AB? He says: “I want to help other independent filmmakers get their chance to get into the business. I want to make my own films too, but also produce other films.

“At this stage, we’re looking at micro budget commercial genre films with good stories and characters.”

As for his next project – he will be production manager on another horror, this time English-language flick Unholy, directed by Shahriyar Latifzadeh and also being shot in Östersund. He says it’s along the lines of Rosemary’s Baby, The Omen, The Exorcist and It’s Alive.

In his words: “It’s very 70’s. It’s gonna be great.”

You can see more about Marianne on the film’s official Facebook page.

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