One-on-one with Filmmaker René Odgaard on his debut feature doc 'Nobody Knows Casper', and more
René Odgaard has a degree in multi media design and a BA in visual communication and philosophy from The University of Southern Denmark. René has worked for many years on short films and TV-projects as director, photographer end editor. His latest short documentary film ROLLER GIRLS BEIRUT (2020) was shown at Liverpool Film Festival, Rotterdam Independent Film Festival, Around International Film Festival, Marbella international film festival. His debut feature documentary NOBODY KNOWS CASPER is about the blurred distinctions between our online and offline presence, where René has followed one of Denmark's biggest YouTuber's for more than eight years.
iFilmFestival: Tell us a bit about your most important film so far.
RO: “My most important film would have to be Ingen Kender Casper (“Nobody Knows Casper”), because it is my first feature film. The whole process of applying for money, getting rejected, applying again and succeeding in it and then actually developing on the film, going into post-production and collaborating with editors, producers, composers, sound, grading etcetera has been very educational and for me is probably my film education.”
iFilmFestival: What were the key challenges making it?
RO: “The challenge for the film was probably to formulate what kind of film I wanted to make and to get support for it. It can be a challenge for me to have to say in advance what film I want to make, as my way of working is more to be in a process and finding the film through working with my material. In other words, shooting is a process where I know little by little which film I want to make, without it being completely settled. The next step is collaborating with the producer (Maria Stürup in this case), where things will again become a little more clarified. After this I work with the editor (Andreas Bøggild Monies), and only here does the film truly become clear. You could say my process is similar to developing a photograph. First take the picture, then lower it into the liquid and then the picture comes out clearly for the first time. The problem with working this way is that if I am to get support for my film, I have to be able to explain what kind of film it will be before it is made - and that is a big challenge for me.”
iFilmFestival: What’s one aspect that you’re particularly proud of?
RO: “I am proud that I was able to make a film that dares to tackle a difficult subject and at the same time tells a very personal story. But also to have made a film that was very complicated and needed coordination with many teams, but which still turned out to tell a clear story.”
Trailer "Nobody Knows Casper" (2022)
iFilmFestival: How did you get involved in filmmaking?
RO: “I studied film at university and my final exam was to make a documentary film where I filmed a rock band on tour around Europe. Since then, I haven't been able to think about anything else but making documentaries!”
iFilmFestival: What new projects are you working on or are you hoping to work on in the future?
RO: “I am currently working on several new films. One film is about two new circus performers who struggle to get a new circus house up and running. It is about the challenges of making this a success and all the hurdles that come with it.”
iFilmFestival: What role do film festivals play?
RO: “Film festivals give me the opportunity to show my film in cinemas around the world and to go out and visit them. It is important to be able to talk to your audience but also to watch new films and meet the other filmmakers.”
iFilmFestival: Which filmmaker do you admire and why?
RO: “I am inspired by several different filmmakers such as Werner Herzog, Vincent Moon, but also Lea Glob who has just made the film Apolonia Apolonia. I am inspired by her approach to making films, where the contact between the director and the main character is decisive for a true and intense film. I admire the way she dares to be part of the film and talk about very personal things.”
iFilmFestival: What film have you recently seen that you have admired in one way or another?
RO: “Again, Lea Glob's film Apolonia Apolonia. It is such an important film where her approach to her main character is absolutely fantastic. But also vice versa, with the main character's approach to the director. It all goes both ways. Such a personal, touching and important film about art, women, friendship and much, much more.”
iFilmFestival: Thank you René for answering our questions!
Interview by iFilmFestival on 13/04/2023