• Sweden's news in English
 

US filmmaker aims to 'capture the essence of Swedish summer'

Published: 12 Sep 2012 17:18 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Sep 2012 09:53 GMT+02:00

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Johnson studied film in California. But after a few visits to Sweden in recent years, Johnson found himself wanting to come back on a more permanent basis.

After ten years in Los Angeles, Johnson last year vowed to move to Sweden, finally making the jump earlier this year.

He found himself drawn to Sweden's west coast, and aspects of it that reminded him of the west coast of the United States.

Related photo gallery: Summer on Smögen

Johnson was particularly enchanted with the town of Smögen, a fishing-village turned summer tourist destination popular with Swedes as well as foreign visitors, and serves as a gateway to Sweden's stunning west coast archipelago.

His time there inspired him to create a film, "Summer on Smögen", which had its premiere in Gothenburg this summer.

The Local: What is your film about?

Meng Johnson: It is a film that captures the essence of the Swedish summer on the island of Smögen. The story is a portrait, a collection of moments from the lifestyle on Smögen told in a five minute film.

TL: What inspired you to make a film like this?

MJ: I began research about the culture on the west coast of Sweden, and I was particularly interested in how Swedes passionately yearn for summer. Since they experience such long winters, I made this film with them in mind. I hoped that the film could give a sense of the summer feeling they love.

TL: Who are the actors in the film?

MJ: The people in the film were discovered in Smögen, locals from the west coast, or visiting the island. I lived on the island, shared in the experiences, and presented the film idea as an opportunity to capture a few of their summer moments and lifestyle.

TL: Like making a documentary?

MJ: There is a hint of documentary style, but it’s more about capturing a feeling. Swedes have a passion for summer like I have rarely seen. I felt that it was important to capture the ephemeral beauty of the setting, such as the Nordic sunset, along with the personal moments that people share.

TL: Is this a filmmaking technique you use a lot?

MJ: For me, a fundamental goal in filmmaking is to capture and convey moments of truth. As a director, I make a great effort to make the person in front of the camera feel completely comfortable. This creates an atmosphere where genuine moments, beautiful moments, can happen. And those moments I love.

Summer On Smögen from Meng Johnson on Vimeo.

TL: How did you end up in Smögen?

MJ: My friends have a summer home there, and for years they have been encouraging me to visit.

TL: And what drove you to come to Sweden in the first place?

MJ: Swedish culture and Norse mythology have always fascinated me. I really enjoy the people, the history, and the epic nature. When I am in Sweden, I am always inspired creatively.

TL: What sort of films have you done in the past?

MJ: After earning my masters in film at the University of Southern California, I made a documentary on American high school football, cinematic commercials, and other projects.

TL: How would you describe what you do?

MJ: I am a storyteller. As a director and screenwriter, film is the medium that I use to tell stories. I also direct and create commercials. I think the best commercials, the most powerful, are those that are made like films, such as Ridley Scott’s epic Apple 1984 ad.

TL: What is it about film that you like?

MJ: I love how film can touch deep human emotions, inspire, and make a powerful impact on the viewer that can last a lifetime.

TL: What is your goal with the film and what are you doing now?

MJ: The initial screening went very well, and next it will be launched online this fall. It would be great if Swedish people find some value in it, or look at this film and say "That is MY summer." I hope it gives them a good feeling through the dark winter months, and that it will be enjoyed for years to come.

Salomon Rogberg

Related links:

Your comments about this article

12:34 September 13, 2012 by Svensksmith
Be a short film.
10:29 September 14, 2012 by Marc the Texan
Ten years in Los Angeles. Well at least you got out. Some folks aren't so lucky.
19:50 September 15, 2012 by DAVID T
They should film it in Rinkeby
09:57 September 18, 2012 by EP
Essence of Swedish summer - rain and sh*te weather ... interesting film ...

Hope they include the fact that you can't get anything done either during vacation period in Sweeeden.
18:55 September 18, 2012 by Heebz
The word "balmy" should not be associated with the summer of 2012. Ever!
Today's headlines
'Ugly' Swedes offered total makeover
Swedes in need of a total makeover? Photo: Carolina Romare/imagebank.sweden.se

'Ugly' Swedes offered total makeover

Sweden's least attractive people live in Motala, according to a dating website, but that is soon to change. READ  

Sweden set for brief burst of spring sunshine
Photo: TT

Sweden set for brief burst of spring sunshine

April is a notoriously whimsical weather month and is set to take a turn for the better in Sweden as spring sunshine is set to make a return to many parts of the country . READ  

Swedish teens in hurry to leave home
A housing queue protest in Stockholm in April 2015. Photo: TT

Swedish teens in hurry to leave home

Swedish youngsters leave home earlier their European counterparts, surprising housing researchers. READ  

Swedish study explains coffee cancer link
Cutting cancer, one cup at a time. Photo: TT

Swedish study explains coffee cancer link

Swedish researchers have explained why drinking coffee is thought to lower the risk of contracting breast and other cancers. READ  

Zlatan's French rant ban reduced to three matches
Sweden's star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Zlatan's French rant ban reduced to three matches

Controversial Swedish footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic's ban for his foul-mouthed rant at a referee in which he blasted France as a “shit country” has been reduced from four matches to three, French newspaper Le Parisien reported on Friday. READ  

Syria: ‘most dangerous’ Isis leaders Scandinavian
President Assad. Photo: TT

Syria: ‘most dangerous’ Isis leaders Scandinavian

President Bashar al-Assad has thanked Sweden for taking in record numbers of refugees during the war, but warned about a growing danger from ‘Scandinavian’ Islamist extremists in his country. READ  

New Swedes picked for airport Hall of Fame
Fashion blogger Kenza Zouiten is one of the new faces. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

New Swedes picked for airport Hall of Fame

The new faces that are going to represent Sweden at the Stockholm Hall of Fame at Arlanda airport have been revealed. The gallery of famous Swedes is meant to reflect the country's contemporary icons, but this is its first update in almost nine years. READ  

Swedish Robocop star in Wikileaks email scandal
Joel Kinnaman, left, and his co-star Abblie Cornish in Robocop. Photo: AP Photo/Sony/Columbia Pictures/Kerry Hayes

Swedish Robocop star in Wikileaks email scandal

Sweden's hottest Hollywood star Joel Kinnaman is the latest name to emerge from a Wikileaks' publication of over 170,000 internal Sony Pictures emails stolen in a massive hacker attack last year, alongside one of the Pirate Bay founders and information about the fourth book in the famous Swedish Millennium series. READ  

Feminist leader to take sick leave for exhaustion
Sissela Nordling Blanco at Stockholm's City Hall. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT

Feminist leader to take sick leave for exhaustion

One of the leaders of the feminist party which came close to entering parliament in last year's Swedish election is set to take a break from politics following exhaustion symptoms, a spokesperson announced on Friday. But party figurehead Gudrun Schyman has told The Local that she will stay on. READ  

First 'city warehouse' in Scandinavia for Ikea
What the new store will look like. Photo: Ikea

First 'city warehouse' in Scandinavia for Ikea

Swedish furniture giant has announced plans to open its first 'city warehouse' in Scandinavia, with a massive new store set to be built in the centre of Copenhagen, as plans for a similar project in Stockholm remain in doubt. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
What you can buy in Sweden for the price of a London shed
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
"You may only do something once, but do it 100%"
National
What's on in Sweden this week
Swedish Hasbeens
Sponsored Article
Is the world wrong to connect Sweden with sexiness?
National
Swedes launch first donut into space
Blog updates

17 April

Editor’s blog, April 17th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, After several days of social media buzz about an upcoming announcement from Abba’s Björn Ulvaeus,..." READ »

 

15 April

Gång, timme, tid & dags (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! In this article I will talk about “gång”, “timmar”, “dags” and “tid”, because they all translate..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
Is Sweden returning to 1990s social democratic welfare politics?
National
Mamma Mia! Abba entertainment venue set to open in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: April 15th
National
Why Sweden is top place in the world for expats to raise children
National
Swedish 'submarine' was civilian boat
Sponsored Article
Want to study in Sweden? Read why Stockholm is the best choice
National
Why has a US town got pulled into a Swedish spelling row?
Gallery
Property of the week: Hovås, Gothenburg
National
What does Zlatan think of his ban?
Sponsored Article
Does far-north Sweden have to punch above its weight?
National
Swedish teenagers help rebuild Breivik massacre island
National
Would you live in a steel box?
National
How an act of kindness by one Syrian immigrant went viral
Gallery
People-watching: April 8th
National
Swedish bids for Billboard fame
National
Swedish monkeys denied Saudi visas
National
Sunny spring weather predicted
Sponsored Article
'Impossible' to run Skanska without Bromma Airport
National
Half of Swedes want begging ban
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
National
Why are expats less likely to settle down with Swedes?
Sport
What does Sweden think of Zlatan's recent outburst?
Society
Get to grips with Sweden's most bizarre Easter traditions
Gallery
People-watching: April 1st
National
The Local's best April Fools' gags
National
US spy agency to feature in new 'Stieg Larsson' book sequel
National
Beaver bite at Swedish bus stop
Gallery
Property of the week: Åreda
National
How this Syrian travelled to Sweden
Was Swedish TV host too harsh on nationalist leader Åkesson?
Sponsored Article
'Sweden must embrace openness and diversity'
Scandinavian airlines change cockpit rules after Germanwings crash
National
Sweden remembers Nobel laureate Tomas Tranströmer
Politics
Why petrol prices are going up
Gallery
People-watching: March 28th
Stieg Larsson's partner blasts Millennium trilogy sequel
Society
How to never miss your favourite weekly features on The Local
Gallery
People-watching: March 25th
National
Which words are changing in Sweden's latest dictionary?
National
Is this house 'un-Swedish'?
National
Sweden pays tribute to victims of Germanwings Alps crash
National
Neo-Nazi activity rising in Sweden
National
How to make Swedish Waffles
Gallery
Property of the week: Torslanda - Hjuvik
Sponsored Article
Ten tips for succeeding as a start-up in Sweden
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

3,342
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se