Shock Interview: Thale’s Aleksander Nordaas

ON caught up with director Aleksander Nordaas about his newest film Thale (photos & trailer here).  He clued us in on the three year process that was getting the film from the script phase to ready for theaters, which genres he classifies the film under, and his involvement with every aspect of the film-from writer/director to editor and cinematographer. 

Thale concerns two crime-scene cleaners who discover a mythical, tailed female creature in a concealed cellar. She never utters a word, unable to tell her story, but the pieces of the puzzle soon come together: she’s been held captive for decades for reasons soon to surface.

Thale is now available via VOD and hits select theaters tomorrow, April 5th. 

Shock Till You Drop: The script is based on a Norwegian fairy tale. Is the story on which the film was based a violent one, or did you add the horror elements when you were writing the script?

Aleksander Nordaas: We based the film on a character form Norwegian folklore. We added our own story and folklore to the story of Thale. I borrowed the character and put her in to a modern context. 

Shock: I have read where you said that the production process was fairly tumultuous. What were some of the challenges you faced along the way?

Nordaas: There were numerous challenges, shooting the film this way. The biggest challenge we were faced with was dealing with the uncertainty of getting the film done. We didn’t have a distributor on board when we started out, so we didn’t know if this was a film that was going to be shown anywhere. There were many, many factors that went in to getting the film completed. Luckily, we did it. It took about three years. 

Shock: How long did the actual filming process take?

Nordaas: We tried calculating the actual shooting time and we ended up somewhere around 25 days. That’s a rough estimate. It was very much an on again, off again production. 

Shock: What made you want to make a horror film?

Nordaas: I am not sure. We knew we had to take a horror approach to the story, as we were dealing with the Norwegian mythology. In my opinion, the film is kind of a horror-ish film that also has a lot of different elements. It has drama and comedy. I don’t know that I would specifically call it a horror film. I like the approach that we took. I think that if we had taken a different approach it would have been less challenging and less fun.

Shock: You were the writer, director, producer, editor, and cinematographer on Thale. Did you find that afforded you full creative control?

Nordaas: Well, I wasn’t the main producer on the film. But, creatively, I had a lot of responsibility. That was mainly because of the low budget of the film. At the same time, I worked a lot of years in the business, prior to this. But, the whole time we were shooting, we kept thinking that this wasn’t going to look right. I may have made it a little hard on myself while we were shooting, by doing everything from directing to producing. But, at the same time, you have a lot of creative control and you don’t have a lot of pressure to finish the film. The way we made the film takes a lot of time and effort. I don’t know if I am going to do the same thing with the next film. But, it’s a very powerful thing to have done. 

Shock: The film is very short by conventional standards. Did you cut any scenes from the final version of the film?

Nordaas: We cut out about 13 minutes from the final version. We cut it down to the bone. That was what we needed to do to have it work the way we wanted it to. It was an amazing job figuring out where we needed to tighten the story. There are a lot of different approaches to doing that. It was a complicated but fun process. I learned a lot from it. 

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