Interview with Filmmaker Johan Stavsjö (SAY YES)

SAY YES played to rave reviews at the June 2020 ROMANCE Feedback Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Johan Stavsjö: I wanted to tell a modern love story and drew influences from my past. The film is a combination of three love stories from my personal life. The goal was to make an authentic but also relatable film.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

About six months from deciding about what to write about to finished product. But the actual shooting was only two weeks.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Love hurts.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

The hardest part was when the film was finished and we wasn’t 100% sure what to do with it. This is the final thesis project from out last year at Stockholm Film School. So when the film was done we had also graduated and therefore we were on our own. We wanted to share it with the world but didn’t exactly know how.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

It was surreal and wonderful. When making a film, at least I, give it my everything. Therefore to hear people from the other side of the world (it’s a Swedish production) is a thrill. I think I watched the clip about ten times in a row when I got it, and wish I could have been there. The film has screened at about 20 festivals around the world, but as it all is payed from our own pocket we haven’t had the chance to go to any screening. Therefore to be able to experience it from home was amazing.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

Again, the ideas for the film comes from my own experience as a prepubescent trying to find his was in this crazy world. Also greatly influenced by past generation filmmakers.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

I don’t even know, but while writing the script I only watched romantic film and the ones I watched the most then was “(500) Days of Summer”, “The Graduate” and “When Harry Met Sally”.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

It’s a great way to easily submit to a large quantity of festival and having it all in one place.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

Here again, hard to say. Probably a The Beatles song. But like question 7 I answer with by saying what a listened to in repeat while writing the film “Say Yes” which was Elliott Smith. The title of the film was actually a reference from his song “Say Yes”.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

I have since then been working in Sweden on various production. Until two days ago I worked on Sweden’s second Netflix show while I’ve been writing on two different short screenplays. One of which will be done by September 2020.

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