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Q&A: Film director Joachim Trier

Interview by Thomas Bech Hansen, Communications Officer, Danish Embassy in the UK.

Joachim Trier. Photo: Jens H. Nordhausen courtesy of European Film College.

What are your hopes for the film here in the UK?
Well, it is quite special for me personally, seeing as I have studied and lived in London at the National Film School in Beaconsfield, so it kind of feels like coming home. I miss London. Also, the UK has produced so many great films in this tradition of character films that I am inspired by in Louder Than Bombs, of family stories, about human behaviour. Yeah, so I am excited, and I hope the audience finds the film interesting.

This is your first feature film in English. What sort of experience was that?
It is not that different, actually. The main language is the language of film, anyway. It is more about the creative thinking rather than the actual language. The benefit of working in English is the access it gives to these great actors – Jesse Eisenberg, Gabriel Byrne, Isabelle Huppert to name three well-known ones. It has been great fun working with them. They are so creative and just really, really excellent at what they do.

Mikkel Jersin, the co-producer of this film, has said that you left a “personal Scandinavian imprint” on the film. Can you recognise that?
I take that as a compliment. And he might be right. To me, the Scandinavian imprint means making personal films, using a film language that is your very own rather than trying to sculpt what you are doing into some predefined template. So I think, for this film, we managed to push through with the original ideas and avoid the mainstream, which is always a challenge when you are making bigger international films. Luckily, our partners on this project understood what we wanted to make.

The film is credited as an international co-production between Norway, Denmark and France. Can you tell us about the Danish part of the process?
Obviously, I have great connections with Denmark. I have lived and studied there, I am half Danish and have many friends within the business who are Danish. It is a great environment for film there. Specifically, we have worked with Nimbus Film on the production side and received funding from the Danish Film Institute. It means a lot to receive this kind of funding because it comes from public grants, which means a greater creative freedom, compared to private funding, which we are of course also grateful for. But public grants are really important, especially, as I said before, when making expensive international films and trying to maintain integrity and originality.

About the film
Louder than Bombs is released in the UK on 22 April. It explores the death of a famous photographer and how her family copes while unraveling the truth behind her mysterious accident.
Written by Joachim Trier and Eskil Vogt and starring, among others, Jesse Eisenberg, Gabriel Byrne, Isabelle Huppert.

About Joachim Trier
Before Louder Than Bombs, Trier (born 1974) has directed two feature films: Oslo, August 31st (2011) and Reprise (2006). He studied at National Film and Television School, Beaconsfield and The European Film College, Ebeltoft, Denmark.

Joachim Trier was interviewed at a preview screening of Louder Than Bombs, held in London by The Bright Young Things Film Club.