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The 2021 Sundance Film Festival runs from Jan. 28 - Feb.3, in Park City, Utah

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Knocking at Sundance: Interview with cast and crew

KNOCKING @ SUNDANCE 2021 Director Frida Kempff and lead actress Cecilia Milocco

Interviewed by Emmanuel Itier

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10928086

 

Following a nervous breakdown and a discharge from a psychiatric ward, “Molly”, played by the mesmerizing actress Cecilia Milocco, is going to start hearing strange knocking sounds in her apartment. This is the beginning of a surreal “rabbit hole” crisis for a woman of the edge of her mental abyss. We were lucky to have a live conversation before the Premiere of their film, “Knocking”, in Sundance with Cecilia Milocco and her director Frida Kempff, both based in Sweden.

 

Q: Tell me about the inspiration for this movie and what were you trying to achieve?

 

Frida: It’s actually based on a short novel called “Knocks”, but it had so many interesting topics to explore in a feature. For me it’s, especially, about a woman not being trusted. And as a woman this was an interesting subject matter. I was interested also with the idea of grief, trauma and loneliness. Finally, I was intrigued by a story taking place in so few locations and through the sounds that our lead character hears. Being mainly with one character the whole movie is quite a unique experience as well.

 

Cecilia: For me I was very much attracted and intrigued by this character, Molly, and her inner world. There aren’t too many dialogues in this film, so this was a special challenge as an actress. It was interesting to understand where she is in life, her inner struggle. She is in the “after” of her trauma and in the “beginning” of something else for her life. She is finding new grounds. And she becomes obsessed about saving another person. She is convinced this person exist and needs to be saved. It really was a beautiful part for me to create.

 

Q: What are the themes explored in “Knocking” and how does it resonate with what we’re going through with this pandemic?

Frida: We completed this film before the pandemic, but, indeed, since she doesn’t meet anyone the movie could take place during the pandemic. A lot of people, I’m sure, can relate to her being locked insider her home and in a way, her mind. Someone the other day told me the movie felt so claustrophobic. For me, another important topic was the notion of “civil courage”. And I think this is more important than ever. I think it’s important to raise your voice if you think that something is going on and is wrong. Especially during the Trump era, I feel this was an important issue in the States. But also, here in Sweden, we have lots of issues with extreme political groups. In Sweden we are so afraid of interfering, even if something is wrong. We don’t get involved. I wanted to give an hint to the Swedish audience to stand up and get involved.

 

Cecilia: I agree with Frida about the topic of “civil courage”. You really have to stick to your guns more than ever. I like that Frida has approached this “big story”, this big topic, in this “little story”. I really like the courage of my character who stays focused and keep fighting for what she thinks is going wrong. And she is right about it. Her inner strength is beautiful.

 

Q: What was the biggest challenge making this beautiful film?

 

Frida: For me it was the lack of shooting days. It was a low budget movie and we only had 18 days to film it. This was quite intense and stressful. The first act of the movie was tricky to put together. This was a balance of holding back and not telling too much, and not reacting too much.

 

Cecilia: It was challenging to perform a story that takes place in 5 or 6 days in real life but that was filmed over a period of 18 days. It was a difficult performance in order to keep the intensity of what “Molly” is going through. What an emotional ride this was.

 

Q: Does the pandemic change how you promote the film and what are your expectations?

 

Frida: Of course, I would have loved to go to Sundance in person. But I hope this way, through the digital experience, that maybe more people watch our movie. In any case I’m so thankful that Festivals keep programming movies and keep going. The show must go on!

 

Q: Have you ever experienced in real life a similar nightmare of hearing weird noises, unexplained “knocking” sounds?

 

Cecilia: After this movie it happens all the time! Haha!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ambiance from Park City Sundance film Festival January 19-29, 2012.

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