Speaking at the Reykjavik International Film Festival, Scherifg also talks about why she’s drawn to characters unlike herself.
Danish director Lone Scherfig, who most recently directed One Day for Focus Features, says she is eager to try other styles of filmmaking with some of her future projects.
“I’d love to do something more genre oriented. I feel like my craft is now good enough, I should just go for it,” Scherfig said this weekend at a masterclass at the Reykjavik International Film Festival.
“I want to stop and see if I can move in a different direction. Of course I am proud of the films I’ve done, but I should use this chance to try to explore things I haven’t done yet,” she said. She expressed admiration for a filmmaker like Stanley Kubrick who never made the same kind of film twice.
Nothing firm is lined up for her to shoot next. “I haven’t decided on the next project, or the next project hasn’t decided on me,” she said.
As previously announced, one project that she is attached to is Mob Girl, based on the book by Teresa Carpenter about Mafia figure turned informant Arlyne Brickman. Jessica Biel is attached to star and the script is still being revised.
She also said she is enjoying writing a screenplay with a friend now but that project is one she probably won’t direct.
Scherfig has made films at several different levels in her career. She started out making Danish features such as The Birthday Trip and On Our Own, followed by the low-budget Dogme film Italian For Beginners, then worked on Scotland-set Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself, and then made Oscar-nominated An Education, before moving on to One Day.
“I’ve made five films in Denmark, where there’s more of the European tradition of the auteur. In America it’s more of an industry. England is somewhere in between,” she noted. She reassured the aspiring Icelandic filmmakers in the audience that working with studio-level executives isn’t a bad thing — “sometimes they give you advice that’s precious,” she said, adding that One Day “had good parents.”
She also praised working with the film arms of the UK broadcasters, BBC Films (on An Education) and Film4 (on One Day). “That way one leg of the production group has this integrity; this politcal and artistic morality, that is helpful.”
Scherfig was asked about why there appear to be so many successful female filmmakers in Denmark now (including herself, Susanne Bier, and Pernille Fischer Christensen).
“One out of every ten features in Denmark are directed by women,” she said, adding that she didn’t have a concrete explanation for that. But she did note: “A couple of us have worked with Zentropa, and Lars [von Trier] really likes women and they let you bring your children to work, so maybe that is one explanation. Another one that there was a strong group of feminists working in Danish TV in the early ’80s and they gave us a couple of chances.”
She also talked about how she doesn’t always gravitate to central female characters in her films. “Most of the films I’ve done have a man in his mid-30s,” she said.
“It’s much easier to make films where peole can’t find me anwywhere,” she said, adding that the she was able to tackle the lead female character of Jenny in An Education because she had enough distance from Jenny’s stage in life.
“David [Nicholls, who wrote the novel and the screenplay] clearly loves Emma more and I love Dexter more. It’s hard on the female actors because they can tell I love the male characters more,” she said with a laugh.