Saturday, May 2, 2009

Interview with Anders Bramsen

undated photo: Chelsea Hotel Production Crew

film stills

the artist immersed in his work

ponders inspiration

the filming of the magnificant "Chelsea Hotel" NY's Historical Stomping Ground

The Unique Creations by: Anders Bramsen

Anders Bramsen's films demonstrate an individual artist who sets himself apart and does his own thing. Like Diane Arbus, (visionary photography artist) he gives the outsider only a speck of what he sees and leaves the rest up to the critics to interpret in multiple ways. From viewing clips (from his editorial work) "Chelsea Hotel" directed by Abel Ferrara to (his own) Dennis Hopper (Retrospective) film collage, I became quite interested to learn more. I hope to see his completed film, "The Gold Fish Doesn't See The Bowl" soon at the Indie Film Festivals next year earn its rightful recognition.

What do you do?

I write, direct, edit and produce my own films.

Have you ever worked with any famous people?

Maybe, but I try not to namedrop.

What are you currently working on?

I’ve been focusing mostly on the writing of two screenplays THE GOLDFISH DOESN'T SEE THE BOWL and LAST BOAT TO AMERICA but I’m always editing film and video projects.

What is your genre?

Neo-Noir I suppose. With a hint of middle-class realism…I think…

Sounds like John Steinbeck, are you a John Steinbeck fan?

John Steinbeck? Is he a filmmaker?

No, a writer.

Oh, I love Ingmar Bergman, his focus is the psychology of man…it’s extremely fascinating. The human condition was his specialty.

Did you go to school for this (directing)?

I guess I did a little bit but I don’t feel like mentioning any names…you mean as far as schools I’ve gone to? That’s boring. I mean I’ve learned from all the teachers I’ve had but I've always learned much more by doing…making tons of mistakes, it’s the best way of learning I think.

Where are you originally from?

I’m from The Unified Field, as modern scientists would say!

How long were you here?

On and of since 2003...I go back several times a year. I love to go back for work or to visit everybody. I’m still very Danish. I love Denmark and my roots. of the only countries that tried to help the Jews during the Holocaust.

I don’t know if we were the only one. But it’s true the Danes did a lot to help. If you do the research…I think we saved 95% of the Jews there during the war - we got them over to Sweden on boats. It was quite extraordinary. We tried to save everyone! And it’s wonderful being in New York and being around so many Jewish people here…people actually thank me. We know about it in Denmark but it’s different when you’re here and Jewish people thank you. When you think about it… My grandparents helped these people survive. I have many Jewish friends in New York and I’m so glad about this…

Have you ever been to a Jewish museum there?

I know there is one in Israel…they have an actual boat that took people over. The boats weren’t that big. There is a Jewish comic who I think is a powerful example, he was the most famous Danish Holocaust survivor…Victor Borge…Why are we talking about the Holocaust?

As an artist, do you have a set schedule?

Not really. I guess my independence is the most important to me. I’m pretty much my own man…but I always work with certain people like Pacific Street Films.

Did you get grants to come here?

No I came here with only two hundred dollars and a film (Liden Tid- screened at the Brooklyn international film festival in 2004- it screened at the Brooklyn museum- Google LIDEN TID for more info) under my arm…it was pretty hard coming here to New York. Lately, I’ve matured in terms of being able to ask for help… I have been applying for grants. Now, I feel more entitled to ask for help because I know I’ve done a lot of the hard work myself. Now would be a good time to do it.

What about the recession, do you think it’s making it more difficult for
independent artists like yourself to survive?

You know what, I really don’t have an idea. But I think that maybe…I think there are still people out there with trust funds or, you know? I still don’t think it’s a bad card to play. I don’t know if it has any influence, good or bad.

Do you know that famous writer, Flannery O’Connor?

No, why?

She was in your situation and got a lot of grants and eventually made it as a writer, I just love her, she wrote the eerie short story, “Good County People.” Who are your influences?

I have so many hero’s……Bergman I guess or Terrence Malick's two films from the 70’s: Badlands and Days of Heaven. I think it’s important to project real life in film and the mysteries of our selves…whatever doesn’t make sense…film can be such a beautiful window. It’s a way of getting out of yourself and then gets back into the self. I think it’s a wonderful art form. If you have something on your mind and you want to express it through film, well then it’s just vast. It’s still a very new art form….it’s still early…only a hundred years old. Not like painting, which we’ve been practicing for 8000 years…don’t know where I’m going with this…

I never thought of it like that before. You’re right; it definitely is an art form. So, aside from film, are there other types of art you enjoy?

I have been doing fine art painting long before this.

What do you paint?

I want to say um…abstract expressionism…you can call it neo-neo expressionism. If there is such a thing? A few years ago I painted a series of paintings. It was so nice working with canvases again.

What’s the series about?

My new formats are very horizontal…it’s almost like they’re favoring plainness and because my earlier works were more action I’m now trying to strive away from that…I got tired of that, tired of the chaos and confusion.

That reminds me of what Picasso did.


You know at first he was very detailed and then he got so simple. Are they untitled?

Some are. Others have titles such as “Black Band on canvas" because there is a black band on the canvas. Most of my earlier canvases were all titled and it had to do with my mood or the mood of the painting, or something that inspired me. However, later when I became better at what I was doing, I began to simplify my titles while at other times, I don't title my work at all...sometimes I just don’t find it necessary.

Ever been to the Guggenheim here in NY?

Many times, I was first there in 1988 as a 14-year-old boy-it did a huge impression on me! Last year I played a museum visitor in Tom Tykwer’s movie The International. It starred Clive Owen, Naomi Watts and my fellow countryman Ulrich Thomsen as the bad guy-villain.

OMG! How cool.

I was only on set that one day but yeah it was cool.

What is your next project?

It’s a movie I call, “The Goldfish Doesn’t See The Bowl” which will include archival footage from when I was young. I am writing several grants to complete it at the moment. My project envisions is a film universe in which odd personalities operate in indefinable patterns; a world in which philosophical questions are displayed in a series of grotesque vignettes. The picture also strives for a unique visual aesthetic. My goal is to create small episodes questioning faith, doubt and the meaning of life.


My project envisions a film universe in which odd personalities operate in indefinable patterns; a world in which philosophical questions are posed to the viewer in a series of grotesque vignettes. The piece also strives for a unique visual aesthetic. I wish to build a bridge to the audience’s senses and spirits,thus melding the message (an exploration of the breadth of art in our time and culture) with the manner in which the story is told. THE GOLDFISH DOESN'T SEE THE BOWL is a barrier-breaking exploration of the human condition, merging performance art, painting, photography and film language.

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