• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

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

13 Sep 2012, 09:53

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?

Story continues below…

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
Sweden advised to bring conscription back in 2018
Bringing back the draft could help a stretched military, a government inquiry says. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Young men and women could be made to fill in questionnaires for recruitment to the Armed Forces as early as next year, according to a new proposal.

Nationalists suspend aide after Russia propaganda claim
The suspended aide is a political secretary to SD member of parliament Kent Ekeroth. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

His suspension comes only days after another of the party's political secretaries resigned amid controversy over a property deal in Russia.

Presented by Lernia
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Photo: Lernia

Struggling to learn Swedish? There are a few ways to make it easier. Here are seven tips from the experts.

Here's how much Sweden's highest-earning authors make
It was a good year for the likes of Jonas Jonasson (left) and Camilla Läckberg (right). Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT & Henrik Montgomery/TT

From Nordic Noir to a hundred-year-old man (and one called Ove), Sweden's authors had a good year in 2015.

Sweden named world's sixth most competitive country
The good news also came with some caveats. Photo: Izabelle Nordfjell/TT

The country moved up three places in the top ten of the latest edition of the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index.

The Swedish celebs you really should not google
'Oh no, don't tell me I just clicked on THAT link.' Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

These are the world's most dangerous viral Swedish celebrities, according to a new report.

Furious elk mum attacks Swede, breaks his arm
You talkin' to me? Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT

It came back and attacked him not once, but twice.

Report: Stockholm is at risk of a housing bubble
Apartments in Stockholm. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Stockholmers are the third most likely to experience a housing bubble in their city, according to an international ranking.

The Local List
Reverse culture shock: the troubles of leaving Sweden
Does it get more Swedish than this? Photo: Emelie Asplund/imagebank.sweden.se

Why is that stranger talking to me in the elevator?!

Police close Facebook thread after call for help derails
A file photo of police cars on Gotland not related to the article. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

The Gotland Police Facebook post asking the public for information about an unprovoked attack on two boys had to be closed because the comments section spiraled out of control.

Sponsored Article
Expat finances in Sweden: the Common Reporting Standard
National
Aliens' sex lives? Why Swedes want Nasa to send a condom into space
Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
Analysis & Opinion
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape on migration'
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
Blog updates

27 September

Cutting your nose …. (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Last week, Jeremy Browne, the Special Representative for the City of London, visited Sweden. Jeremy was…" READ »

 

7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
National
Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Gallery
People-watching: September 23rd-25th
Politics
Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
National
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
Travel
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Gallery
People-watching: September 21st
National
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Gallery
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Gallery
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Culture
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
Gallery
People-watching: September 14th
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Politics
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
Society
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
Features
INTERVIEW: How Arthur the jungle dog opened hearts and minds
Gallery
Property of the week: Smögen, Västra Götaland
Society
Sweden's ancient forest tongue Elfdalian fights for survival
National
Where Sweden's foreigners are from
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
The Local Voices
Is Swedish bosses' ignorance keeping refugees out of jobs?
2,960
jobs available