A couple end up having a heated discussion and can’t understand each other’s point of view in short comedy, The Half Wall. We talk to director, Ida Hansen Eldøen about how the effectiveness of simplicity and furthering herself as a director.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO DIRECTING?
IDA: I have always loved films and storytelling and growing up I made a lot of movies with my best friend. We made all sorts of things; fiction, documentaries, clay animations and whatever we could think of. After finishing high school, I went to study films and filmmaking, but for some reason I ended up working more as a film photographer and a producer.
The Half Wall is a sort of comeback for me as a film director. I think it took me some time to find the courage to take the full leap into this industry, and when I finally did, it opened up a lot of opportunities for me. However I do think the main thing is that I have a stronger self confidence, and for this I owe a lot to my wife for always believing in me.
WHERE DID THE CONCEPT OF THE STORIES COME FROM?
IDA: I have always wanted to tell a story about gay characters where the issue is not the fact that they are gay, but something else, something that every couple or human being goes through. And I have always liked films where the story and the people are in focus, and not hidden behind fancy VFX and flashy camera movements. The film has a simple look, and I really like that. I think it helps to highlight the conversation and the characters.
The story actually came from a conversation I had with my wife. We were driving, and in the car we started a discussion about how we could renovate our bathroom at our cabin. I did not understand what she meant at all, it was like we were talking about completely different things, laughing about it when we in the end realized what I had misunderstood.
DID YOU COME ACROSS ANY OBSTACLES DURING THE MAKING OF THE FILM? IF YES, HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?
IDA: I think the biggest obstacle we came across making this film was choosing to shoot outside in Norway in the middle of winter. We had less than 6 hours of daylight and all sorts of weather within these hours. What we did to overcome this was to plan everything very carefully. One crucial thing was rehearsing with the actors on set during pre-production.
WHAT WAS THE BEST PART OF THE EXPERIENCE OF MAKING THIS FILM?
IDA: The best part for me was seeing my story and my vision come to life. It is a character driven story, and I think the actors are incredible. The little details that makes the humor of the story are so well played, and I am truly happy with the results.
Also, I really enjoyed how well we all functioned together as a team, both while shooting and in post production. We all wanted to make the best possible film. On set everybody just kept on going even though it was really cold outside and we did not have anywhere to go, and no electricity or heat.
YOUR FILM FOCUSES ON A SMALL THING WHICH BECOMES A BIG ARGUMENT FOR A COUPLE. DO YOU FIND THESE REALISTIC SCENARIOS MAKE A MORE INTIMATE FILM?
IDA: I guess I do. I love stories about small things, the little details in our lives. I think people can relate to this, the fact that small comments or arguments can become huge and almost impossible to deal with. And I do think that this makes it more intimate and perhaps also more realistic.
WHAT DO YOU WANT THE AUDIENCE TO TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR FILM?
IDA: I want them to think about how they communicate with others, that they may also just think differently and just doesn’t understand each other. It does take two to argue, and I think that all of us have to be reminded of that sometimes.
Hopefully it can also make them laugh about themselves, and I guess that's the main thing I want people to take away from my film. To see that these kinds of stupid arguments are very common, and that the best thing is just to laugh about it.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
IDA: The Half Wall was a comeback for me as a film director, which rekindled my childhood passion for filmmaking. So next for me is to develop myself further as a writer and director, and continue to tell stories. I have always been interested in lesbian and female characters on film, and how they are depicted. This is something I will continue to work on, and hopefully contribute to showing a variety of female and lesbian characters and stories on film.
Currently I am in development of a short animated film about sexual identity and representation. I like different types of films, and I love the short format, but someday I also want to direct feature length films.
ONLY 4% OF THE HIGHEST GROSSING FILMS IN THE PAST DECADE WERE DIRECTED BY WOMEN, BEING A FEMALE DIRECTOR CAN BE DISHEARTENING IN THIS ENVIRONMENT. WHAT WOULD YOUR ADVICE BE FOR ASPIRING FEMALE DIRECTORS OUT THERE?
IDA: My advice is to go out and do it! Tell your stories. Find yourself a team; friends, family or someone from the industry. Use the equipment you get your hands on, and make your film. I believe that many of us think too much, and wait for something or someone, instead of just doing it. Share your thoughts and your vision with someone you trust and make your ideas happen.
Interview by Sophie Duncan & Caris Rianne
The Half Wall is showing in the DANCING WITH A STRANGER shorts collection on Sat 30 March. For tickets and information please visit here. You can view the trailer below along with links to the film makers social media platforms.