Interview with Filmmakers Erik Bergstrand & Milka Sakic Mennell (IDILA)

IDILA was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the July 2021 DANCE Film Festival.

What motivated you to do this movie?

Erik: I was longing to express myself through film again. In the meeting with Milka who is dancer and choreographer in the movie, we talked about life and we found a common ground. Milka and I grew up together but it was in this reunion years later I found the urge to make this film.

Milka: This piece was in my mind a dance in three parts for the stage. In my meeting with Erik who makes film I realized that it would be a challenge to make an expression that is not necessarily instant for the viewer, meaning somebody could watch it over and over again if they wanted to. I got intrigued by that idea and also found it a nice challenge.

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

Erik: All together more than a year including research, conversations, interviews, photo tests, choreography, writing and of course shooting and editing. The shooting took two days in a former military base from the 19th century. The editing was the struggle because I had to balance my job and family life so that alone took a year.

Milka: The choreography was partly finished when I met Erik , but it evolved through time and we both have jobs and families that was hard to combine sometimes. My luck is that I work as a dancer, teacher, choreographer on a daily basis so I had it easier with that part. But to find the time when we both could sit and edit and work was challenging.

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

Erik: Haunted / Liberty

Milka: Controlled / chaos

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

Erik: Fundings. For all artists to come together for this process was difficult due to our other jobs. We had no fundings so we invested in time instead. Looking back fundings would have made the artistic process easier in terms of making time for the film.

Milka: I agree with Erik on this. To have both the time and money to completely focus on the film would have made it easier.

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

Erik” I woke up in the morning by a text from Milka with the link for the feedback. I was still lying in bed when I looked at the audience reactions and got tears in my eyes. The impact of the responce was so strong, so many people outside of Sweden have seen our movie and wanted to share their thoughts. After such a long process and hard work this response and confirmation was the best award I could ever get. There’s been soo much isolation, with no connection to the viewer and I was nervous to show this film again in a digital format. I’m so glad and thankful for sharing this movie with you.

Milka: I was very very humbled and moved by the response. It moved me so much and for that I am thankful. It means so much to be able to receive a respons from people and this was definitely a beautiful gift to receive.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Erik: When I was five years old, I got my first camera from my mother. I remember that she took me out on a bike ride to a farm outside Gothenburg where we stopped to feed a couple of competition horses with a bag of apples that we had with us. An hour later, my mother sat deep in the middle of a book while I ran around with my new camera and tried to capture images of the horses that were not as interested in me as I was in them. There was something here and there about trying to preserve all the emotions, smells, sounds and lights and being able to be alone with my mother that I wanted to immortalize in the picture. After that I became interested in drawing and making stop motion movies with my
dad’s super 8 camera. But I think it was there and then among the horses and mother that my love for photography started.

Milka: To make stories and share something or write or make people understand something that I needed to express have been apart of my life for as long as I remember. I chose dance as my way to express myself. The fact that I can film pieces that I work on is an absolute wonderful edition to creation. To see a piece form in front of an camera is exciting and different that seeing it on stage. Filming can add so much layers to movement and also tell so many stories.

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

Erik: Probably Gökboet or Nyckel till frihet as they are usually included in all film educations. But a slightly untipped film that comes back from time to time is “In the Heat of the Night” from 1967 with Sidney Poitier.

Milka: This question is very very hard for me to answer. I have a love for David Lynch but I also love watching old Silent movies starring Charlie Chaplin. Then I love Dirty Dancing. I am seriously all over the place when it comes to movies.

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

Erik: I have never used the platform before, but think it works extremely well so far. It is much easier to put all the material in one place than to send all the material to different festivals all the time. I like the filtering possibilities where you look up festivals, which makes it easier for a fairly narrow film to find the festivals that may be relevant. As well as the ability to update the page easily and follow the film’s statistics.

Milka: This platform makes everything easier.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Erik: Pasta… I’m crazy for pasta, all kinds of pasta. If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life on a desert island, it would definitely be pasta. It tastes fantastic if you cook it right and it can be stored without getting bad for a long time. This means that on my island I could stock up on a lot of pasta that I could eat in various forms for the rest of my life. So both practical and sinfully good.

Milka: I agree with Erik on this one.

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

Erik: I have several projects that I would like to do. It’s all just about time and money to be able to implement them.

Milka: I have just finished shooting a small dance/music project and also performed a new short dance piece for stage.
But I would love to do a movie with Erik again and there is defenetly no shortage of ideas, just need time and money.

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