Gustav Ågerstrand: “It would have been a completely different film if we hadn’t been friends”

He has followed the artist Sara Parkman with the camera as she tried to understand love. The documentary portrait is coming soon As we have loved.

The year 2024 is the spring of Swedish music documentaries. After the first Swedish synth film Dusseldorf Scaniathe Empire depiction A heart is always red and southern Sweden’s response to Searching for SugarmanThe movie regarding Kal P Dal – it is now time for a documentary regarding the artist, activist and composer Sara Parkman. The world premiere of As we have loved opens this year’s Tempo documentary festival, which runs between March 4 and 10.

Behind the camera stands Sara’s friend Gustav Ågerstrand. He has tried to capture the person behind the stage persona Sara Parkman, during the recording of the album “Eros Agape Philia”, which focuses on a subject she has long wanted to avoid – love in all its forms.

How did the idea of ​​making a film regarding Sara arise?
— She has always fascinated me. Sara and her creative couple horse Hampus used to have a motto – “go where it feels”. And I really think they do. That I film and follow her during the first record she makes that is actually regarding something that is vulnerable to herself – that was not something I might have foreseen. But it coincided in a very nice way for the film.
Sara is my friend, and it feels like a favor to make a film regarding her. And to get so close to her with the camera.

Yes, it is a very intimate film. What were your conversations like regarding how close you were allowed to get and how much you were allowed to film?
— We talked regarding it a few times during the process. There are certain things that I was not allowed to film at all. For example, we initially talked regarding me filming Sara at the psychologist we have both been to. But then she felt it was too close, which I think was a good thing. Sara also has her own house in the country, which is an oasis for her, where I have been privately. There she also decided that I was not allowed to film. I think that kind of boundaries are healthy. It is primarily a film regarding her artistry. I didn’t need to have access to all the rooms.

How would you describe Sara Parkman? If you had to choose one song to describe her – what would it be?
— She is a real bundle of energy. Constant inventions. Always something new in sight. Very playful and profound. She is also noticeably caring and nice in the way she treats people. It’s nice to see how she is with friends, but also with people she meets on the street. I would choose different songs to describe her. She is a person of great scope. I think the movie does that pretty well. The film begins with Jag ropar, which expresses the dark and powerful…. “All my shit and my chafing” as Sara sings. The film then ends with Eros Agape Philia, which expresses various forms of longing and love. “As we have loved” comes from that song.

The exact words read: “On our grave shall it be written – that we have loved”. What should be written on Gustav Ågerstrand’s grave?
— I actually have a calligraphy on the wall at home, which my boyfriend made for me, where it says “I love you, we are all going to die.” Reminding oneself in everyday life that life is actually finite can make us see what is important.

Some memorable moments from the filming of As we have loved?
— The first thing that comes to mind is when we would record some of the dream sequences that are in the film. We are up at the Ställberg mine. It’s a few days before New Year’s Eve. It is freezing cold and snowy. And Sara will run around naked in the snow. All for art. I’m glad that these scenes became so important in the final version of the film.

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How has your relationship been affected by the film?
— Our friendship has really been an asset. Or. More like – it would have been a different kind of movie if we hadn’t been friends. Now it turned out that the film takes place in a period of life where both for me and Sara it’s a lot regarding becoming an adult – whatever that means. Should you just stop playing, or are there ways in which play can take other forms?

Sara Parkman is known as one of Sweden’s perhaps busiest people. Is it a myth?
— Haha.. She’s actually incredibly busy. I’m kind of the same. It might also be something that contributed to it working so well. It takes one to know one. But she is also good at being completely free sometimes. Disconnect and go away, so there is still a kind of balance around work.

You are a trained documentary filmmaker. What is the attraction of the documentary film language?
— I just love being able to tell documentary stories. Documentary films have special qualities. That it is something that really happens in front of the camera, in a context where we would otherwise never get to be part of. Being the cinematographer that I am, I really get going when there is a well-crafted visual narrative. That the camera somehow becomes invisible. It can be through long takes, or imperceptible camera movements. There is something in when documentary emulates feature film. These are real scenes that take place, but it is well told and we are let in, in a way that the experience ends up in a kind of uncanny valley – can this really happen? A kind of rapture arises.

Please tell us regarding your upcoming projects and cinematic dreams!
— Right now, at the same time as this film premieres, I’m producing the swt series Married at First Sight. I will work on it now for a year. I long to be able to continue with visual storytelling and film photography, to continue exploring the borderland between the fictional and the documentary. To start making a feature-length documentary once more, it only happens if I come across someone or something that feels urgent and attractive -– as it felt with Sara.

Which we have loved to inaugurate Tempo Documentary Festival on the 4th of March. The film has a Swedish cinema premiere on March 27.
Read also Tempo documentary festival celebrates 25 years

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