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Director Frank Mosvold

by Werner Borkes in Films & Books , 16 januari 2004


During the Roze Filmdagen (Dutch gay film festival) goes NordiQ there will be special attention for the work of Frank Mosvold. At this moment this 38 years young director, scriptwriter and producer is one of the most productive moviemakers of Scandinavia, especially in the category short gay movies.

Mosvold was raised in Norway’s Kristiansand, where his family worked in merchant service for generations. After finishing his studies in economy in Boston, he worked as a shipbroker in New-York and London for four years. He decided to sail another route and became a producer.

What was the reason for this radical career move?
“It was a decision not made within a day. It wasn’t that heaven opened and I could hear God say: ‘Frank , now we’re all going to change it completely’ It was a slow process. In those days I wasn’t happy as a shipbroker; I was completely in the closet and denied I had feelings for boys or men. I was working in a macho culture, visited go-go bars with clients and made indecent jokes about women. In one way it was funny but on the other hand it was tiring. It’s sad when you deny your own feelings and sexuality, it makes you lonely. To avoid my private life I worked harder and harder. After a while I asked myself: ‘Is this all there is?’ I made enough money, but was that what’s it all about? I was thinking back of times when I was happy. As a kid I used to love filming, so maybe that could be fun again, but it was not a burning desire. I took some time off, visited every film academy in New-York and Los Angeles and realised this was something I really wanted to try.
A week after I quitted my job I ordered the IRA to blow up the building where I used to work (That was back in 1992 when they used to blow up a lot) A bizarre and strange experience, but afterwards I considered it to be an omen from God: You see this was not how you were meant to be.”

So once you were at the film academy, did you feel the need to produce gay movies?
“No, I don’t consider myself to be a gay politician. I don’t make any political statements in my movies; don’t think a movie should be about politics. But I don’t object when people watch my movies with a political view, which is often the case at film festivals. It must contain a forced message; it has to come from the inside. That’s why I always say, I’m producing personal movies. I make movies that are important to me. I came from a commercial work branch where everybody told me what to think and how to act. It was a relief to out myself and tell my stories by making movies. And of course (It may sound like a cliché) I used filming as a therapy, to understand myself more. It wasn’t a problem at all to be gay in L.A., nobody knew me so I could explore myself as a gay producer.
It was a good excuse to discover my sexual identity, far away from everything and anybody I knew.

My coming-out was no problem; it was difficult to inform my family and my business friends. That’s why it was special to tell it by Forsaken.

My parents and I were the only ones in the theatre; afterwards no word was spoken about it. At dinner that night my mother asked me: ‘Frank, are you a homosexual?’

And that was all they wanted to know, and that was the only the only thing I wanted to tell them. And now it’s their favourite movie; no, it’s the only movie they can appreciate.




At first I wasn’t that happy, being gay. It felt like God had left me; that’s why it’s the title of the movie. I was crucified at the cross that’s called homosexuality. Fortunately, it changed afterwards; being brought up very religiously, I had some things to deal with.”

Festivals

Do you still believe that God has left you?
“No, I’m almost sure Jesus was a gay who was thrown together a lot with twelve other guys, but besides this; I still believe in God. I believe he understands he had no problems with homosexuals. And even Jesus said the bible was not interoperated correct by humanity; it was the word they followed not the spirit. If he would be around now; he would announce constantly to the read the bible with your hart and not from the intellect. My homosexuality and faith are going together just fine and I feel ok with it.”

Did it changed you’re way of working?
“With C-L-O-S-E-R I changed my way of working, it’s completely done in hand held style, because I wanted to be closer to the actors, like on their skin, actually I wanted to crawl into their skin. I use more close-ups to feel the pain of the lead person.
The original script was different, but because you’re working with a deadline you sometimes have to make drastic changes. I ripped some pages off my diary and edited it into the script.


This is very personal, but I’m the only one to know where in the movie we used the original script and where the diary came in.
After twelve years I returned to Norway to make movies.
First Kiss in the snow came out.

The last years I had been living in L.A., so it was great to make a movie in the snow, in an area I was brought up. In spite of the fact it was the coldest week of the year. You only have enough light for two hours a day, a kiss scene in de snow at -18 degrees Celsius is no fun the actors.

After that movie I made Waves also based on a short story, but this was also my story.

Here and there I edited something more to make it more personal. I intended to produce a movie for myself; I didn’t expect that it became such a success at the film festivals.”

So you are always telling “your” story?
“You always have to look for the right balance, you like it to be personal but not too private; that’s often very difficult. When you achieve to produce a personal movie, a lot of people will be able to find them selves in the characters; it’s because we all feel the same. There’s not so much difference in people, whether you’re gay, straight or whatever. If you’re able to show real emotions, everybody can find him/herself in them. The biggest compliment I ever had came from an old straight woman, after seeing Waves. She told me the movie was beautiful because she could find herself in the lead person. And the lead persons are two boys.”

Gay/Straight

Waves, and your last movie Summer Blues are mainly dealing about you being in love with your best (straight) friend; how did he feel about this?
“He considered Waves to be beautiful. We even recorded the movie at his family’s summerhouse, where some things happened in the past. We’re still good friends, I was best man at his wedding. He had more problems with Summer Blues, which is easy to understand; because it’s a more intimate sexual movie.”

Is it difficult to find young actors to play those intimate scenes?
“It’s always difficult to fid good actors. Good actors have no problem to play any role, because they’re more open without restrictions. It’s actually easier for a straight actor to play a gay person then it is for a gay actor to play a gay part; because there’s more a distance, it’s only acting.






I like to work with young people. I think they’re interesting because they still believe in love, they believe they can achieve what they like to achieve, they can change the world. You can see if they’re happy or not, they haven’t learned yet how to hide everything. The older you get the more you’re able to control it which makes you look shallow.
But also very old people interest me; in their face you can read what kind of live they have been living. The group in between is not so interesting, there are caught up in their marriages, they have kids, boring jobs. Even in gay clubs you see people in that category with cold dead eyes.
That’s the reason I like to produce movies with young boys and girls (Home before Christmas) and older people. Like the projects I’m working on now (some short movies but also a gay movie) have young and old people as main characters. It’s not easy to get your projects financed, but I hope to remain making movies in the next years to come.

Forsaken, C-L-O-S-E-R, a kiss in the snow, Waves, Summer Bleus and Home before Christmas will be shown at Roze filmdagen goes NordiQ between 18 and 21 December at Cinema De Balie and at Het Filmmuseum in Amsterdam. More information at: www.rozefilmdagen.nl



 







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