Magnificent7 Workshop with the Swedes

… Malla Grapengiesser, Per Bifrost and Alexander Rynéus, the trio behind “Giants and the Morning After”, was what we in Danish call “hyggelig” with Zoran Popovic as “hyggeonkel” (uncle), asking questions about Ydre, the small society 300 km south of Stockholm towards Malmø. Malla, who is from Ydre, and who was the director and producer, with the two young men doing the camera, had in the beginning the idea to make a series, she showed the material shot to film consultant Cecilia Lidin at the Swedish Film Institute, who was not able to support a series. “We did a lot of interviews in the beginning but ended up not using them”, she said. “It was basically a wide and broad idea and we wanted to capture the mood of a place, where life goes on with all its contrasts”. “We were there to shoot 19 times and ended up with 200 hours of material”. “We aimed at creating a fairy tale atmosphere in the film”.

“Through Folkets Bio we had 30 screenings in different small places in Sweden and the screenings

were followed by good discussions in the small communities, who had the same challenges as we saw in Ydre”.

The characters, the main ones, even if the film luckily does not follow the international rules about “strong characters, strong story”, are wonderful. The mayor is this “hyggelige” old bearded man, who goes around with gifts to the families, who increase the size of the population and ask the families to get more babies… and the owner of the sawmill factory Bengt and his wife. The two has a sweet – and hilarious – scene where they have been asked to talk about if they should give up or continue the factory, which has been in the hands of Bengt’s family for decades. I thought immediately about Roy Andersson and his Swedish stories. Malla told me that they did the sound mix at Roy Andersson’s studio but they had not had the chance to show the film to him. Do so!

As one can see in the film Ydre is a pearl of beautiful nature;: woods, a valley, lakes and it was the intention of the filmmakers to catch all seasons. But there was no snow and a chase of snowflakes turned out to be unsuccessful… To come back to Andersson there is a wonderful bus trip scene of fine absurdity. where muslim women are being introduced to the wonders of Ydre. And they take part in the traditional Midsummer celebration that the Swedes are so good at. As Malla said the new people coming from war zones need the calmness that Ydre offers.

The photo shows from left: Zoran Popovic, Malla Grapengiesser, Alexander Rynéus and Per Bifrost.

Definition of “hygge”: the practice of creating cosy and congenial environments that promote emotional wellbeing. (Collins) 

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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