I was always a writer first and foremost, but never found the process easy. In particular when starting to study journalism, I needed to shackle myself to the desk in order to get anything written. Ambition bites the nails of success, as they say.

Film was like starting with a clean slate. A refreshingly free medium where anything was possible and where creativity could take so many forms. From preparing to shooting and editing it was also, almost always, a collective process, which means you never have the option of getting stuck inside your own head. Truly liberating.

These three documentaries were all broadcast on Swedish national television within the space of just over one very busy and very very rewarding year. The top one came out of spending almost a decade working with people from the Balkans and travelling through the region, which left me feeling there were many stories waiting to be told. I now think the same is true of what’s happening in Ukraine, in Syria and in all the other war torn hot spots of our time. Death and destruction catches all the headlines but underneath that tragedy, there’s always going to be free spirits who in some wondrous way manage to stay creative.

The Balkan wars in the 90’s were defining historical events for me. When eventually I got to go there, first as a peace activist and then as a journalist, I realised there was so much more to the story than what had reached me through the news. In spite of all the killing and devastation, there was always also so much hope and creativity. This film is a tribute to three extraordinary people who kept from going insane in the midst of mayhem, by keep doing what they loved most.
Karosta is an abandoned Soviet navy base at the coast of Latvia. The people who still live here do so because they have nowhere else to go, their passport says Nation: Alien. In the middle of a harsh winter, Lotte van den Berg arrives here to set up a 24 hour play with street kids. Lotte just finished her performing arts studies in the Netherlands and has no means to communicate verbally with her troupe, but nevertheless tries everything to get the show on the road.
This reportage was made oh so long ago. It was before my friend Ali, whom you’ll see in front of the camera, became a recognised tv-personality. It was also before democracy came to an end in Russia, so Belarus can no longer be said to be “Europe’s last dictatorship”. Other than that, sadly not much has changed in Belarus, at least not for the better. For me, this short was my last serious forage in film making. I experimented a lot on this trip in mixing DV footage with super-8, and really like the resulting look.