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Producer on the Move 2014 – Sweden

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Petter Lindblad

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- Swedish producer Petter Lindblad’s new feature, Beyond Beyond, was selected for Berlin and has so far been sold to more than 20 countries, including the US

Petter Lindblad

Comedy, adventure and children have been the keys to Swedish producer Petter Lindblad’s cinema – from the point when he watched his first films up until today, when his new feature, Danish director Esben Toft Jakobsen’s fully animated Beyond Beyond [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, is selling worldwide (including to Grindstone Entertainment for North America) after screening at the Berlinale.

After having attained a Master’s in Media Production from Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology and one in European Audiovisual Management from Spain’s Media Business School, Lindblad lived in Copenhagen between 2005-2011, working with animation at Zentropa Entertainments and Copenhagen Bombay.

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In 2011, he returned to Stockholm as head of Copenhagen Bombay’s Swedish subsidiary, CB Sverige, for which he produced Beyond Beyond – his fifth film – with Danish Copenhagen Bombay chief Sarita Christensen. In April this year, he opened his own company, Snowcloud Films.

Cineuropa: What originally sparked your interest in cinema? A special film experience?
Petter Lindblad: I have this vivid memory of seeing a film on television with my father in the house I grew up in; I must have been four or five years old – it was the first Star Wars film. It still makes me smile thinking of that evening, about how I fell in love with the amazing story, and the feeling of sharing it with my dad. I must have seen it over a hundred times since then, and I still watch it at least once a year. My father’s aunt is a film producer, and I was impressed after visiting her studio outside of Stockholm, seeing all the cameras, the lights and the video library, where I borrowed some films.

Were there any filmmakers you came to admire?
To name a few – and the list keeps on growing – I must mention Judd Apatow for his sense of comedy and entertainment; Steven Spielberg and George Lucas are musts; also, the writing genius Steven Moffat, who delivers comedy in Coupling, and adventure in Dr Who and Sherlock. Comedy and adventure are important for creating a good story. Among the Swedish filmmakers telling unique stories for kids, I admire the creativity in Petter Lennstrand’s TV films, and I look forward to seeing his first feature; also, Staffan Westerberg and Sweden’s leading animation director, Per Åhlin. 

Why did you decide to focus on producing? What are you good at, and what not?
I was never very good at drawing as a child; I was mediocre at writing, filming and editing my amateur films, and very interested in the technical side of production. I built up an interest in VFX and managing assets – the money in a budget, the time and the technology used – which led me into producing animation with a heavy focus on working with the creative talents to help them realise their visions. I would say that I am at my best when I get to sink my teeth into a production that is technically challenging and I work out a way to solve it within the time frame and budget. 

Why your special interest in animation and children’s films?
I myself had a lot of really good experiences watching children’s films and TV series when I was a child, and I think it is important that we create similar experiences for kids today. I see a little too much rehashing of old stories, adapted from books, and I really want to bring out new and original stories for kids, to expand their film experiences. 

Beyond Beyond has been sold in more than 20 countries, including the US. What is the source of this success?
It is a universal story that everybody can relate to, about missing a parent or a loved one and wanting to get them back. I think that the visual result is much better than the €2.7 million budget would allow for many other projects, and that is something that makes it interesting for the international distributors – a strong, visual story that takes the kids seriously and gives them a great adventure at the same time. 

What projects have you got on now – and what is next in your agenda?
I'm currently working on a 28-minute adventure short, Lea and the Forest Pirates, by Swedish writer-director Maria Avramova, and we are also developing her feature debut, Benny and the Kids. I really want to push the animation industry in Sweden further, developing some more film projects for children and younger audiences.

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