Call of the Unseen
Written and Directed by Henrik Pilerud
A young art student suffers from a lack of confidence and her tormented lecturer struggles with dark visions.
Unexpectedly, their fates begin to intertwine on a strange and hazardous journey into the unknown.
Q&A with Henrik Pilerud
Q1: Tell us a little about Call of the Unseen, Winner of Best First Time Filmmaker, Best Feature, and Best International Film in the festival.
Call of the Unseen is a story about confronting your fears and getting out of your comfort zone. Travelling into the unknown and and growing as a person and creator in the process. We follow art student Mya; how she loses confidence in her artistic creativity, and reaches out to her art teacher, Mr. Arkwright, to tutor her. He is making art inspired by the visions that are haunting him, resulting in creepy motifs. But just as they are about to begin, the art teacher mysteriously disappears. Now, Mya will have to find him, so he can finish helping her like he promised.
Q2: Where did the idea for this film come from?
The ideas for the film are inspired by a mix of my own life situation, and people around me, mixed with other authors works like H. P. Lovecraft's cosmic horror, Tove Jansson's Moomin stories, and films like Neverending Story and Spirited Away. The type of stories I as a director and writer are very fond of.
Q3: What were some key challenges when making this film? How did you overcome them?
Financing is always a big challenge. This film ended up being almost completely self financed. COVID was a challenge. Keeping a project going for 5 years, while at the same time working to support yourself, is quite demanding.
Q4: Tell us a funny anecdote or a memorable moment from making this film.
The only time it rained, and made us have to halt the shooting and move indoors, was when we were filming the crossing of the sea in the bathtub, when (in the scene) it is supposed to rain. But, since we were filming against a fabric green screen, it could not rain because it makes spots on the green screen. Ironic.
Q5: How did you get into the film industry?
I have always wanted to tell stories by making films. So I have done that. Year after year, learning by doing it. No formal film education.
Q6: What films or filmmakers have been the most inspiring or influential to you and why?
Wes Anderson, Tim Burton, Steven Spielberg, J. M. Jeunet. They all make stories that are something else than normal everyday life, and have personal styles to their storytelling. Imaginative, playful, exciting.
Q7: Do you have a favorite film project that you have done? Why?
Call of the Unseen is my latest, largest and best film to date. It is a very personal story for me, mirroring my own life, as well as being imaginative in a way I like stories to be.
Q8: What advice would you share with a new filmmaker about filmmaking or the industry?
Work with what you have. Use you cell phone and a free editing app, if that is what you can afford. And keep making stories. Never let anyone else decide for you if you are "allowed" to make films. The better you get, the more resources you can gather the better films you can create. But start small. Just do it!
Q9: Can you tell us about any of your upcoming projects?
There are many seeds on the ground, I need to start watering them and see what grows.
Q10: Where can people find out more about your work?
CallOfTheUnseen.com (links to the streaming platforms which host Call of the Unseen)
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