Interview with Filmmaker/Animation Maria Åkesson (FAREWELL)

FAREWELL was the winner of BEST SHORT FILM at the May 2021 LGBTQ+ FEEDBACK Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I had this idea over ten years ago, so I have carried it with me for a long time. I felt that I rarely see films about older women and their love life, and almost never stories about older ladies with agency. I am myself a lesbian and I long and hunger for stories with lesbian women in focus, without the problems and drama focusing on the lesbianism itself, or frustrated, unreciprocated love and short term, destructive romances. I believe there is a shortage of stories reaching beyond these areas.

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

So I had the idea over ten years ago, and actually started to study animation to be able to pursue the making of there film. When I realized that I didn’t have the required skills or time to do it myself I wanted patiently until I met Louisa who felt like the right person for the job. We started the collaboration in 2017, I made a storyboard and a mood board for the animation style, color scheme and character design and she developed that into what we see as the final product. Due to other jobs and financial reasons we had to work on the film slowly but steady over the years. The music was a big part of the project from the start and the talented Ida composed it especially for the film, with the voice of herself and her grandmother. Finally Sandra made a sharp and beautiful sound scape that takes the story to another level. So we were a small team of just four women, but it was all that was needed – along with the financial support from both Swedish Television, Film Institute, Arts Council and local film funds.

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

letting go

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

The fact that we had other projects, jobs and life that came in between – but it was also a benefit as we could develop the idea and let it grow gradually. During the last six months of the projects Louisa started a master in animation and she was able to use her new skills in the work.

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

Very proud, grateful and impressed that these people saw all the details that we have worked so hard with. Great feedback.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

When I was 14 and bought my own film camera.

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

It must be either Grease that I saw every day when I was 12 years old, or Hedwig and the angry inch that I’ve seen hundreds of times in my early adulthood.

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

It’s great. Easy to use and manage.

9. What is your favorite meal?

anything with potato!

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

I’m actually doing my first semester on the psychology program, so in five years time I’ll hopefully be a psychologist.

By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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