In the fifteen years of the Fantasia Film Festival, I can’t recall any filmmaker who has visited Montreal and remained for the entirety of the fest (three and half weeks) – until now. Swedish filmmaker Filip Tegstedt has graced us with his presence from day one and has quickly become one of the more familiar faces of the fest, a new member to the Fantasia family. He comes with his feature debut Marianne, making its World Premiere and winning praise from critics and audiences alike. It’s safe to say that he has charmed his way into everyone’s hearts, with his encyclopedic knowledge of film, good manners and drunken karaoke singing. I had the pleasure of meeting Filip at the start of the festival and was fortunate enough to interview the director about his physiological thriller. Marianne is a clever, a strong, thoughtful and well-written family drama that plays the movie less as a traditional ghost story and more as a portrait of a man on a downward spiral – a slowly measured and patient film that takes it’s sweet time toying with the reality of its own raison d’être. The film will have audiences guessing until the final frame, but as with all great endings, it will leave audiences interpreting different meanings. Marianne is quite an accomplishment for a first feature, an exploration of regret and grief that combines elements of urban folklore, visual poetry, and modern psychology. It’s a somber, sometimes slow-slithering and beautiful piece, written, produced, financed and directed by a man who clearly knows his movies.
The following interview was my personal favourite from this year’s event. Tegstedt explains Swedish folklore, informs us of his wide range of influences and shares a very personal story of how a late night made-for-TV horror film, seen at age seven, would come back into his life decades later, and inspire his first feature film. Enjoy!