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“We Can’t Afford to Waste Half of the Talent in Our Industry” | Hanna Bergholm on Hatching

Siiri Solalinna in Hatching by Hanna BergholmSiiri Solalinna in Hatching by Hanna Bergholm. (Photo: IFC Midnight)

The last two years have prompted much contemplation and reconsideration of the reasons why we make our films as well as the ways in which we make them. What aspect of your filmmaking—whether in your creative process, the way you finance your films, your production methodology or the way you relate to your audience—did you have to reinvent in order to make and complete the film you are bringing to the festival this year?

We shot Hatching in summer-autumn 2019, so luckily we avoided the pandemic during our shoot. The pandemic affected our post-production in a way; we had to do more things online than we had planned. Also, our premiere was delayed one year because we were waiting for a good time to release the film.

The most important change for me that is happening in the film industry within the last few years, though, is not the pandemic but the raising of awareness of equality. I have always loved films but have found very few interesting and complex female characters in them. When our screenwriter Ilja Rautsi contacted me saying that he had an idea, “a boy hatches an evil doppelgänger out of an egg, I replied, Cool! But lets change the lead character into a girl.I wanted to make Hatching a story of mother and daughter, told from a female point of view. The MeToo movement has done a lot of good for the film industry. Personally, I feel that I can finally breathe when my frustration is spoken out loud: Why are the majority of the films told from the point of view of white men when they are actually the minority of the population of our world?

My own thoughts on equality were put to test when we made Hatching with the co-production of Sweden and I was facing the equality rules of the Swedish Film Foundation. To be able to get the fund from the Swedish Film Foundation, half of the film HODs must be female. I noticed myself thinking, Oh no, this is too hard! All the best cinematographers, sound designers and editors are men! Then I stopped and thought, ”wait a minute, why am I thinking like this? And I noticed that my thoughts werent based on any fact. It was because the HODs that were most talked about and praised in the media are men.

We are all brainwashed by this way of thinking: the genius and the leader is first of all masculine. From Sweden we got a wonderful editor, Linda Jildmalm, for our film. I learned that I have to actively remember the brilliant female filmmakers. We cant afford to waste half of the talent in our film industry.

See all responses to our annual Sundance Question here.

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