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“DOWNLOADING NANCY” director, Johan Renck

Easy enough: I definitely wished that I had 10 percent more head capacity. Call it intelligence, understanding, analytic ability, lateral thinking, insight into psychology or just mathematics. I felt a deficit.

As a first-time feature director I went pretty fucking cockily into the process. I reckoned my vast experience in music videos, commercials and short films had prepared me for anything that would come my way, production-wise. I believed my life as a devoted reader had rendered me understanding about characters and stories and, finally, that my love for film had filled my mental archive to the brim of how one can choose to depict something. Boy was I dumb.

Thus, a couple of weeks deep into the shoot, I found myself very much alone, in my thick-carpeted, pastel-colored apartment in Regina, Saskatchewan, freaking out. I felt I couldn’t grasp all aspects of the story, all facets of the characters, all plausible outcomes of a given move within the script. I glimpsed into the doorway to chaos theory and my head was literally boiling.

And then I spiraled down. I started questioning causality and even the concept of time. What really came first — the effect or the cause? I was thinking of the filter of film versus reality. What the hell was reality!?! And how could reality be abbreviated? Obviously I ended up on “who am I?” and “why in the name of all things sacred am I doing this?” It was quite pathetic.

Eventually O’Hanlon’s came to the rescue — the local watering hole. In the warm bosom of this Irish pub, a few pints amongst friends and fellow workers scattered all ghosts and made worries around inferiority redundant. With the edge taken off, the comforting “It is what it is” told me to just be fine with being thick. Then I moved on.

Nevertheless, I am definitely going to inject 10 percent extra brain for the next one.

[PREMIERE SCREENING: Monday, Jan. 21, 11:30 am — Racquet Club, Park City]

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