Øivind Klungseth Zahlsen is a Norwegian filmmaker, he was born in Norvik, the north of Norway has a great passion for filmmaking, literature, and music as well.
Would you like to share your profile details with our readers? such as your educational background, birth city, and country, etc?
I’m a Norwegian, born in Narvik. After living for 10 years abroad, I’m presently back in Norway finishing a Ph.D. I’m also enrolled at the institute for film science and art history at NTNU in Trondheim. From my twenties, I have a master’s in acoustics and music technology, and for a long I combined my interest in literature, music, and films with an academic career, being a university college lecturer. It wasn’t before I moved to Indonesia in 2011 that I started working professionally with film, first together with a Belgium film team and later also as a producer of politically aimed human rights-oriented propaganda movies for an Asian company.
How’s your experience so far with your film Mimetic Desires?
I believe my film can be challenging for several reasons, so I’m really happy about the attention it has received. So far Mimetic Desires has been selected for several festivals and it has even received a prize for best experimental short. As far as I know, its theatrical premiere will be at the KinoDrome festival in Cleveland, Ohio on September 26.
Tell us about your inspiration as a filmmaker?
If the question is about influence, I guess all directors, writers, or composers have their personal story which is an urge for them to tell. For me, the theme is very much connected to my childhood and how it was like to grow up almost on the border to the Soviet Union during the cold war. We learned to adjust ourselves to some absurdities that they called “the reality”, a process which again turned everything into perverted fetishes for me. I guess this partly explains “Mimetic Desires”. Another circumstance that has been pivotal for my creative processes, is the passing of my parents in my late teens. It made me write a requiem for them a few years later, that finally was recorded in Manhattan with orchestra and soloists (under the project name Strapfkernerator consisting of Aksel Tjora and me). Literature, film, and music were equally present in my consciousness as a young man, I consider it a coincidence that my creative career started in music. I guess my early love for the films of Tarkovsky also can be explained by their formal musicality. I simply love movies that look like music. My fascination for Bunuel, on the contrary, is probably caused by the cynical disrespect for the reality that grew on me for reasons I mentioned.
When and how did you begin your filmmaking career?
The first film displayed at a festival is called “Tuba Mirum”. I did it with Aksel Tjora, and it was selected for the Minimalen festival in Trondheim in 1995. It was surely an off-spring from the Strapkernerators Requiem project I have already mentioned.
How many films have you made, and which one is your own favorite?
I think Mimetic Desires probably is leading up to something.
Tell us something about your experience with your 1st ever film project, isn’t it a very special thing to remember forever?
In 2013 I accidentally teamed up with a small film team in Indonesia that was in need of a steady-cam operator. That’s how I ended up doing a significant part of the footage for both the film “A Punk Daydream” and “Making Memories for the Future” by Hendrickx and Van der Heyden (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3737030/ ), and also writing the musical score for the latter of these. Being part of something that is receiving international recognition is surely a boost. It started reminding me of the thrill I felt 15 years earlier when Aksel and I got our requiem project recorded on Manhattan with soloists and orchestra.
How would you describe work as an independent filmmaker, isn’t it more challenging?
I somehow consider it the only way of making a film for me. Being a brick in a wall of production is not an alternative for me.
What’s the most exciting thing for you in filmmaking?
When in the edit the pictures suddenly flow like music.
What projects are you currently working on? And what are your future plans in the industry?
I’m presently working on a few similar films that have been shot in Indonesia. One of them, “The Man who Survived in Sweden”, is actually a story about Scandinavia. I’m also facelifting an old film, “Micro Sapiens”