Whistler Film Festival 2018 Interview: STOCKHOLM director Robert Budreau

“Based on the absurd but true 1973 bank heist and hostage crisis in Stockholm that was documented in the New Yorker as the origins of the psychological phenomenon, the ‘Stockholm Syndrome’. The story focuses on a female bank employees (Noomi Rapace) who falls for her captor, an unhinged American outlaw (Ethan Hawke) as they turn against the police and try to escape.” Director Robert Budreau on STOCKHOLM which screens at the 2018 edition of Whistler Film Festival. 

You’re BACK at WFF! Tell me about what you have had here in the past!

I had BORN TO BE BLUE, a Chet Baker biopic starring Ethan Hawke played in 2016, but I was unable to attend. I lived in Vancouver way back when though and look forward to attending Whistler this year!

When was the moment you said to yourself “I want to get into the movie business” and what have you worked on in the past?

I loved movies since I was a kid, but I never knew that a person could actually do that for a living. It wasn’t until I was much older into my twenties that I realized that movies are a business and you can make a living being an artist. Since attending Vancouver Film School, I have made three features, tons of shorts and numerous other film-related projects.

So how did STOCKHOLM come together?

A producer named Scott Aversano had been developing Stockholm with sales agent Sierra Affinity based on a great article by Daniel Lange in the New Yorker called ‘The Bank Drama’. They liked my past film BORN TO BE BLUE, and they brought me onto the project. I brought it to Ethan as we wanted to work together again, and he responded to the material. Once Ethan came aboard, things progressed quickly in terms of bringing the financing together as a Canadian-EU co-production and in finding our other key cast, namely Noomi Rapace, Mark Strong and Christopher Heyerdahl.

What keeps you going while making a movie? What is your drive?

The burning need to tell the particular story at hand keeps me going during filming the most. I also look forward to getting into the edit room with all the material, so that’s a driving force. But most of all, I try to enjoy the collaborative process at it happens, since working with actors to find new ways to tell the story is always the most exciting part of the journey.

So if you were to pick one moment that you would consider the biggest challenge of making the movie, along with the “a-ha, we GOT it” moment, what would each of those be?

Some of the challenges in making STOCKHOLM included finding creative ways to shoot the film in Hamilton, but make it feel like Stockholm; finding ways to make the contained location inside a bank feel free and new; and balancing the black comedy/drama tone in the edit room.

Could we get technical for a second? For my tech-savvy and filmmaking readers, I would love to know about the visual design of the movie and how it was photographed?

Stockholm was shot on Arri Alexa. Film grain was added in the digital intermediate stage to help the 70s look, as well as some filters were used up front. We went for a limited color palette which captured the 70s without it feeling cliche and too kitschy.

After your WFF screening, where is the movie going to go next? Theatrical? Online? Any dream screenings or exact theatre in mind?

After Whistler, Entertainment One will be theatrically releasing the film across Canada in March 2019. Smith Global Media will be launching the film theatrically across the US at the same time.

We do have a lot of people out there looking to be inspired and work in the industry in one way or another. What is a piece of advice that you would give to anyone looking to get into the motion picture business?

My advice would be to remain incredibly patient and believe in your ideas enough to survive until they see the light of day.

And finally, what is the single greatest movie you have ever seen?


STOCKHOLM is one of the many films playing at this year’s Whistler Film Festival. For more information on this film and more, visit www.whistlerfilmfestival.com, and be sure to hit the hashtag for more interviews throughout WFF 2018!

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