Interview with Filmmaker Emil T. Jonsson (THE MAN WHO WOULDN’T CRY)

THE MAN WHO WOULDN’T CRY played to rave reviews at the Dec. 2021 WILDsound Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Me and the scriptwriter Björn Boström read the short story “The Man Who Wouldn’t Cry” (Mannen som inte ville gråta) by Stig Dagerman, written in 1947. We both loved its surreal tone and what it had to say about individual freedom versus groupthink. I had just binged-watched the Black Mirror anthology and thus I imagined a more colorful adaptation of this short story, also to update it more to our time. We saw the potential of a unique film that really made people think while also being playful and entertaining. As a freethinker and contrarian I also identify with this type of alienation that we can feel when the world around has decided what thoughts and feelings are the correct one.

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

Plus two years. This was both because of how ambitious the film was, but also because of the lack of funding. Me and Björn also produced this film and in the end we paid out-of-pocket and had to rely a lot on friends and professionals that helped us in spurts of downtime from their more well-paid projects. Also, animation takes a long time as well as re-editing the film to balance the tone of zany absurdity with comedy and more dramatic undertones. We were also working with other projects throughout.

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

Comedic nightmare.

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

Money. We had a window of time and opportunity to shoot the film, so we started the production with the idea of getting funding in the post-phase. But in the end we paid all out-of-pocket. Another obstacle, but a positive one, was balancing the tone of the film and to find the humor and absurdity and blend it with more serious undertones. Editing was also a challenge because we had some technical challenges and had to re-edit the whole film a couple of times.

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

Just a big smile and a happy heart! It means so much to me as a filmmaker to hear people in other parts of the world speak openly about the film and their personal impressions. I really liked when they managed to summarize what the film was about as how they saw it and I was happy that we had managed to communicate the theme and the message to them.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

I grew up watching a lot of films as a kid. It was a constant comfort that I often went back to. But I never thought about being a filmmaker myself when I was young. Later in my life I started working as a performer in the theatre and it wasn’t until my early thirties that I had the idea of making my first short. I have always been a storyteller though and long before making films I was telling stories as a performer and in the theatre.

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

Maybe Alien or Donnie Darko. I do love films that you want to see more than once. My goal as a filmmaker is to not only make films that people want to watch, but to make films that people want to watch more than one time. To create art that reveals itself more each time you see it.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

Appreciate the question. It’s pretty great as it is! Maybe some promotional help? Perhaps the festival could add comments to the Vimeo/Youtube upload and get filmmakers together to cross-promote somehow. Also adding an opportunity to virtually interact with the audience would be nice. The challenge is always to reach a bigger audience.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

FilmFreeway has a very nice, easy and intuitive format. They have a lot of scams as well though; a lot of festivals which love to separate you from your money, more than to support your film. I also think some A-list festivals charge way too much and need to rethink their model if they really want to support sustainable independent filmmaking.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Oven-baked pizza.

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

Me and Björn have a short script that is looking for financing. A romantic film about love fraud (some contradiction, hey). It’s a bit too expensive and ambitious at the moment but I hope to make it in a very guerrilla style of fashion. But we are also developing for longer formats, like a tv-series and a feature film, based on a previous short. And I also create short mobile films at times just to keep busy in between my more ambitious projects. And freelance as an editor, 1st AD, and scriptwriter.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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