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Maja Fernqvist | SHOOT New Directors Showcase Event
Maja Fernqvist

Falling In Love

Maja Fernqvist

goodstory films

1) What was your first professionally directed work and when was it?
In Spring 2015, I was one of 8 directors selected to create a short film featuring the characters of The Twilight Saga sponsored by Lionsgate, Women In Film, Facebook and author of the Twilight series, Stephenie Meyer. It was a really great first professional project and experience.

2) How did you get into directing? 
Directing was a natural next step for me after working as a creative director in advertising for many years. Telling impactful stories, in visually arresting ways has always been a passion of mine. This is what most intrigued me when working as a creative director. I learned so much about filmmaking over the years, collaborating, observing and working with some of the most talented filmmakers around the world.

3) What is your most recent project? 
I am currently working on a short film project and on a feature screenplay.

4) What is the best part of being a director? 
The best part is that each film project involves so many different aspects of my greatest passions; The concept/script, working with actors and artists, creating characters and their worlds, the music, and finally putting it all together to convey an arresting story. It truly is a fantastic process, where every single decision along the way affects the end result.

5) What is the worst part of being a director? 
The worst part is that film making is so expensive. It’s hard to build a reel that reflects your vision and talent before you are an established director, before you have the opportunity to touch the projects that will show the world who you are as a director. You get the great opportunities when you can share great work, but it’s hard to share great work before you get the proper opportunities.

6) What is your current career focus: commercials and branded content, TV movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre—comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.? 
I am intrigued by the many unique opportunities that exist to create branded content – everything from an arresting narrative, a beautiful artistic piece to an inspiring documentary. It feels as though this is where the advertising industry is heading, and branded content has such an impactful creative play field. With my strong conceptual background, I believe there is a very interesting space for me as a filmmaker, having the opportunity to create a project from the idea/concept to the finished piece. Getting in to the world of features is also one of my director goals.

7) Have you a mentor and if so, who is that person (or persons) and what has been the lesson learned from that mentoring which resonates with you? 
I don’t really have a mentor at the moment, but I had many mentors and teachers along the way, especially while working closely with the directors and DPs when I was an agency creative director. I had the opportunity to collaborate, observe, learn, and work with some of the most talented and awarded film makers around the world. One thing I learned from all of them was to embrace and figure out ways to turn unexpected production challenges into creative opportunities. Every production will have its own set of challenges somewhere along the way – it’s just the nature of filmmaking. The challenges can, in fact, be great for the end result, if approached in the right way.

8) Who is your favorite director and why? 
It’s hard to just mention one. I really like Guillermo del Toro because I’m a big fan of the way he merges real life with twisted dark fantasy to convey important stories. I adore Martin Scorsese’s filmmaking from his characters to dialogues. Christopher Nolan’s films are just always so solid from an entertaining perspective. And of course, Mr. Bergman’s filmmaking – the intensity, the performance and the emotions are just so brilliant. There are so many…

9) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content? 
To mention a few of the movies I particularly like: Pan’s Labyrinth – I love the twisted, fantastical dark combination, and the beauty of this film. I really like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon because it has such a great combination of saga, action, and romance packaged so poetic and beautifully. The Godfather films are, of course, amazing – fantastic acting, screenplay, storytelling. I absolutely admire the beauty of the films Hero, Revenant, and Tree of Life. I think Birdman was an insightful, fresh and interesting film. Also, Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny & Alexander

10) Tell us about your background (i.e., where did you grow up? Past jobs?) 
I grew up in Stockholm, Sweden and moved to NYC about 14 years ago. I have always had a vivid fantasy and imagination. Creating worlds, characters and interesting stories have been a passion and a part of my life for as long as I can remember. 
My professional path started as an art director/creative director in advertising, tasked with creating big creative concept ideas and brand stories expressed through film, written format, photography, art, etc. I was quickly recognized with multiple major recognitions and have worked for the top agencies around the world. I collaborated with Academy Awarded DPs, directors, A-list actors, photographers and editors around the world, and gained so much film experience over the years. I learned how to successfully tell stories in different formats and in a commercial and target specific way. After having the opportunity to work as a PA on Scorsese’s The Departed, I was totally hooked on the world of film.


Paula Cohen, goodstory films

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