email print share on Facebook share on Twitter share on reddit pin on Pinterest

FUTURE FRAMES 2020

Amanda Adele Björk • Director of To Discharge

“You know upper middle class artists who have too much time and money and are almost destroyed by too much introspection?”

by 

- Cineuropa asked Swedish director Amanda Adele Björk to tell us more about her short film To Discharge, screening as part of this year’s EFP Future Frames

Amanda Adele Björk  • Director of To Discharge

When Ingrid and August go to a therapy camp to try and save their relationship, things don’t go exactly to plan. With a therapist who seems to hate her - and the constant exhortations to ‘find her spirit animal’- Ingrid begins to rebel against the group. To Discharge is a dark comedy that is both about the breakdown of a relationship and a takedown of the excesses of ‘therapy culture’.

Screening as part of this year’s European Film Promotion’s Future Frames, which takes place during Karlovy Vary’s Eastern Promises, the film comes from Swedish director Amanda Adele Björk who graduated from Stockholm's Academy of Dramatic Art in 2019. Cineuropa asked her to tell us more about keeping the tone of the film balanced and just what made her want to tell all about therapy camps.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)
series serie

Cineuropa: To Discharge is both an intriguing look at a relationship and a quite a savage swipe at ‘therapy camps’. Where did the initial idea come from?
Amanda Adele Björk:
It is - surprise, surprise! - actually a self-perceived event. I went with my ex-boyfriend to a therapy camp and I tried to see the whole camp with self-distance and be a part of it - which made things quite humorous and black. You know upper middle class artists who have too much time and money on their hands and are almost destroyed by too much introspection? When I came home I felt the urge to write about this, so I made up my own therapy world and wrote a character - Ingrid - who represents myself. A characterisation of my work is to normalize mental health issues and to challenge how women are portrayed in film - I want to question what is ”normal".

Tell us about the casting of not only Ingrid and August but also of Lena Nilsson as the therapist. What drew you to them?
I had audition for so many actors for both the part of Ingrid and August, when I finally found Klara Hodell Risberg it just felt right when she stormed in on our audition, she had a different nerve compared to the other actors. The same with Hannes Fohlin who plays August - he IS August. I contacted Lena Nilsson who just had won a Guldbagge (Swedish Oscar) and didn’t really hope for much - but she surprisingly said yes!

Were you conscious of the tone of the film? It veers from a sobering look at the decaying of a relationship but there’s also a underlying vein of satire. How did you make sure all was balanced?
For me it was very important that the tone would hold together. It’s hard with dark comedy and comedy in general because it can be absolutely terrible and flat. So that was a thing I was very nervous about - to get the tone and the balance right between the darkness and the satire that’s in the film. We had a lot of rehearsals and I had written the script that we followed closely during the shooting. Me and editor Georg Bundgard did the editing in five days: I had the film so clearly in my mind so I guess that’s why it went so smoothly and fast. So yes - I was very conscious of the tone in the film.

Tell us about some of your future projects including your forthcoming feature Hysterika.
In July I’m doing a pilot for my upcoming feature film Hysterika. It’s called The Lunch and it’s an extended scene from the feature film script. I won a prize called Wild Card from the Swedish Film Institute that made it possible for me to make a pilot and write the script so I’m very thankful for that.

As for the feature film Hysterika I have written a script that’s under development, I have 96 pages and right now I’m going through the script in detail to finish it. Hysterika is about Ingrid who’s 27 years old and ends up in a mental ward for the first time in her life. I often describe Hysterika as a ‘feel good film in a feel bad context’.

I’m also working as a script writer and director for Swedish national television, and there I’m writing and directing two seasons of a TV-series called Zombie. The shooting of that project starts in September.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.

Privacy Policy