Interview with director Aslak Danbolt (LAST BASE)

Aslak Danbolt’s short film “THE LAST BASE” was the winner of “Best Cinematography” at the Action/Thriller Festival in February 2017.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Aslak Danbolt: I was motivated to finish something I started several years ago; In 2008 I made a documentary about a group of base-jumpers that failed because of bad weather. One of the jumpers from the film died in a base-jumping accident one year later, and the actual thrust of this film is closely inspired by his friends attempt to honour him by jumping with his ashes. An attempt that also failed due to bad weather. So with this film, I wanted to give that whole story the ending I felt it deserved.

MT: From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

About a year. It was my grad film from the London Film School, which kind of set the pace.

MT: How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Short film.

MT: What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

The actual production!

Last Base was shot on a micro budget, which meant we had to carry the equipment all the way to the top of Mt. Katthammeren (1200 meters) and camp there for the 5 days of shooting. It took us 39 trips all together to get everything up there in time and it already felt like a Fitzcarraldo project when we were unexpectedly hit by an ice-cold blizzard that jeopardised the whole project. Trapped on top of the mountain without sufficient
clothing, equipment or food, the bad weather nearly defeated us again. We lost two and a half day of filming, had to cut 2,5 pages of script and only got one take for most scenes at the top of the mountain (since the weather kept changing and went from bad to worse all the time). But thanks to an amazing effort by the whole cast and crew we pulled it off through something that at times was more resembling of a (poorly planned) polar expedition than a film shoot.

MT: What were your initial reactions when watching the Toronto audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I wish I could have been there! It’s been a while since I travelled with this film, probably over a year, but I really love travelling to festivals and hope I will do so again soon.

WATCH the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

MT: How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

It’s inspired by a true story about a very close nit group of base-jumpers I made a film about a couple of years ago. When one of them was killed in a base-jumping accident a year later, some decided to stop jumping and start families while others continued to jump. But they couldn’t understand or respect each other’s decisions about the matter, and eventually got drawn apart and stopped being friends because of it. I tried to compress that whole story into a short film of two friends climbing a mountain together to spread the ashes of their dead friend and jump for the very last time.

MT: What film have you seen the most in your life?

Home Alone, without a doubt. It was the first VHS I ever got and I used to watch it continually for days. And I still watch it once every Christmas.

MT: What is next for you? A new film?

I just finished directing 2 seasons of a documentary series for TV about homelessness. Now I’m writing a new short film set in the same environment and then I’ll start working on a feature version of Last Base.

____

Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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