Horror-on-Sea interview with Vidar The Vampire co-writer, director and actor Thomas Aske Berg
Vidar The Vampire (2017)
Directors: Thomas Aske Berg, Fredrik Waldeland
Writers: Thomas Aske Berg, Fredrik Waldeland
Stars: Thomas Aske Berg, Brigt Skrettingland, Kim Sønderholm, Henrik Rafaelsen, Marit Sanden
A Christian farmer searching for a higher purpose to life, falls into sin and wakes up as the Prince of Darkness in the city of Stavanger, Norway.
Date & Venue: 18th January 2019 at 17:30pm
Park Inn by Radisson Palace Southend-on-, Church Rd, Southend-on-Sea SS1 2AL, UK
Vidar The Vampire is a new horror film from directors Thomas Aske Berg and Fredrik Waldeland, which has been selected to play at the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival. I got a chance to ask Thomas Aske Berg a few questions about what we can expect from the film.
Q. Vidar the Vampire has been selected to play at the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival what can we expect from the film?
Hopefully the unexpected. When Fredrik and I wrote Vidar the Vampire, our main goal was to try to create something original within the vampire genre. Whether or not we succeeded, is up for the audience to decide.
Q. You co-wrote and directed the film with Fredrik Waldeland, where did the original idea for the film come from?
The concept came to life in 2010, in a period when I was obsessed with vampire films. At the time I was a struggling actor searching for interesting roles to play, and I thought it would be really cool to star in a vampire movie. However, there is no tradition for making such films in Norway, so the only way this could materialise was if I picked up the pen myself.
Q. Why did you decide to mix religion into the themes of the film?
It seemed natural. A lot of the texts in the Bible are up for interpretation, and when you have a line like: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life”. Well, it doesn’t get more vampire than that. Also, our main character hails from the outskirts of South-Western Norway, a place where religion (Christianity) still has a somewhat strong foothold. It was only a matter of connecting the dots.
Q. What were your influences for the style and look of the film?
Originally, Vidar the Vampire was meant to be a mockumentary, but fortunately – seeing the release of What We Do in the Shadows in 2014 – we steered away from this idea, but still decided to keep the documentary cinematography style in order to emphasise to the audience that this is, or rather could be a “true story”. A film that influenced me a lot when we were still working in the mockumentary-territory was I’m Still Here (2010) starring Joaquin Phoenix. Another film that influenced the style of Vidar the Vampire was Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010). This is a film where you have no idea what will happen next, and this is exactly what Fredrik and I tried to accomplish with Vidar. And then there are all the vampire films: Interview with the Vampire (1994), Near Dark (1987), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), Nosferatu (1922), Vampire’s Kiss (1988), 30 Days of Night (2007) to name a few. Vidar the Vampire is very much an homage to the vampire genre.
Q. Are there any elements of the finished film which are different to the original script?
Fredrik and I are very fond of improvisation and we always tell our actors to make the dialogue their own, if the written text feels unnatural. Other than that, we cut quite a few scenes in the edit that seemed redundant. The rest is pretty much as scripted.
Q. What makes Vidar the Vampire stand out in the horror genre?
The films we have made so far are a mix of genres, and ‘Vidar the Vampire’ follows this recipe. Vidar is first and foremost a dark comedy with elements of horror, but we have added drama, art-house and music video elements to the mix. This combined with the fresh approach to the vampire theme is hopefully what makes Vidar the Vampire stand out in the genre
Q. You also appear in the film as the title characters Vidar Hårr. Although the film was co-directed did you still find it difficult juggling between the two roles on set?
Not really. Having also written the script, the character of Vidar was already a part of me when we started shooting, so switching between directing and being the character was almost like pressing the autopilot-button.
Q. What was one of your favourite moment during filming?
There are so many, but one that stands out was doing the fire-stunt. I have never done a stunt like this before and it was quite exhilarating.
Q. Do you have any other projects which you are working on?
I am currently working on my next feature film script, but it is too early to say much about it. It’s going to be a horror and it will be based on Norwegian folklore.
Q. What advice would you give to someone who is looking to write and direct their own movie?
Two words: Love and dedication. You must love what you do (more than anything in the world) and you must persist! It’s going to be an uphill battle.
You can find out more about the feature films playing at Horror-on-Sea Film Festival and details of tickets on the website.