What would you do if you had one imaginary day to do anything? Gustav Johansson shows us what his would be like in Everyday commissioned by Nokia. With utter simplicity, Johansson took the concept of “Everyday Adventures”, placed two characters in the Swedish countryside, and allowed nature to take its course. The entire film is shot with a voiceover of a phone conversation, detailing what the two would like to do on their work-free, school-free obligation-free day. Throughout the conversation, the viewer is treated to captivating scenery and a wealth of youthful indecision. Although it was not his intention to direct the film as a portrait of the millennial generation, it is quite easy to envision oneself as the characters in the film. Portable was able to speak with Gustav Johansson about his inspiration and ultimate completion of Everyday.
Portable: How did Nokia commission you to make this film?
Gustav Johansson: Nokia contacted me with the very simple brief: to create a short film about “Everyday Adventures.” So the brief was very open and free to interpret.
P: What was your inspiration for the concept?
G: I’m an everyday romantic. I love seeing the beauty in the small things, or at least I like to see myself as somebody who does.
It actually started with me just thinking about the word “Everyday” and then I just wrote it beside all the other days. The idea kind of came clear straight away that there should be a day that is called Everyday. That’s why later I also made a poster with the same concept for the film with my friend Albin Holmqvist. I started filling the day with the stuff I would do myself and the script more or less wrote itself.
P: The set up and overall aesthetic is very dreamlike, how did you create that?
G: The film is narrated from something that doesn’t exist which makes it filled with a lot of opportunities. The way they explore the day in their minds makes it into something unframed and free, but still they limit themselves, which is quite funny. I especially like the part in the film where the guy points out that it’s just an extra days and they can’t travel to far. Since it is a imaginary day, they could actually have gone to Argentina if they wanted to. I also was keen on not bringing in to many other characters. This film was about them and how they shaped the day. I think it also helps a bit to create this dreamlike feel.
P: Where did you shoot the film?
G: We shot the film in northern part of Sweden, based out of Luleå. The opening sequence is shot in the most nothern city of Sweden – Kiruna. We went there the summer before for a commercial project and were just spellbound by the light. There is something really special about it, which can be hard to explain. The days during the winter are short and in the summer the sun never sets.
A man up there who helped us with locations told us that he during the winter he has ”sun lunches” with his family. His kitchen is located toward the east and the hour the sun is up in January, it hits straight into his kitchen. So they cook the food and sit down by the table and wait. As the sun comes up they start to enjoy the food together and one hour later when the suns sets the lunch is over. I found it to be a very beautiful story and I want to film it one day.
P: The film has a very natural flow to it, how did you write the characters to evoke that feel?
G: I wouldn’t say it’s too much in the writing of the script. It’s more about creating a set up which the characters can feel natural and comfortable in, then just make sure you have pressed rec during that moment. Also we set up some rules for our self of how the cinematography should work and what the relationship with the characters and the camera would be. We wanted it to be very observational and never interfere with the story, which makes it feel almost like a third character going along with them during the whole day. I also worked a lot with finding the right flow and narrative trough the edit. I re edit many times and brought in the actors too record parts of the telephone conversation to make it feel natural and real.
P: Is this film much like your other work?
G: It’s hard to say for myself, but I try not to fall into a certain folder or style. Even if I know I sometimes do. It’s easy to repeat the visuals that you love. But I would like to become a director that master different styles and not making the same film over and over again.
P: The film definitely speaks to the millennial generation, was that your intention?
G: It wasn’t really my first intention but guess I’m a part of it myself which makes my thoughts and reflection speak to that group. I like those themes and find it easy to express and talk about since it’s where I’m standing today.
P: What projects do you have coming up in the future?
G: I just finished a commercial about stories for HBO that we shot in Warsaw. I’m now working on a music video and a bunch of commercial projects. Meanwhile, trying to find some money to do another short that I’ve written. If I don’t find it we’ll probably just try to do it anyway.