Grannies Take Over The Film Industry
We found out about this fascinating film project through the lovely people at Bird’s Eye View Film Festival. Hanna Sköld is writer and director of a film called Granny’s Dancing on the Table, “a tale about predicting earthquakes and finding sex”. In fact, it’s not just a film, it’s a story universe: a Granniverse, which includes an iPad game, street events and an international Granny Day to celebrate grandmothers everywhere.
And something else that makes the project special is that it will be released with a Creative Commons licence at the cinema and online, at the same time. Sköld is calling for a film distribution revolution which will take the power of storytelling out of the hands of a few large corporations and put it back in the hands of the people. If anyone can do it, it sounds like Sköld can: her first feature, Nasty Old People, premiered in 2009 on the front page of The Pirate Bay. The movie was spread online in 113 countries, has been translated into 17 different languages by the audience, and was even screened on Swedish television.
We think it sounds rather splendid, so we got in touch with Hanna to find out more about the project.
Please tell us a bit about the ‘story universe’ of Granny’s Dancing On The Table.
“The story universe emerges from the story about Eini, a lonely girl who grows up outside society. She feels unconnected and she doesn’t belong anywhere. But she has a big imaginative world, and fantasizes about her granny. She runs away from home and goes on a journey to discover the world, but she also starts to discover herself, her sexuality; she finds some people where she can belong. All the time, her granny is some kind of spirit, watching over her.”
This is an obvious one – why grannies?
“We need them. I need them. They are invisible, in the history, in the culture of today, in my everyday life. If you don’t have a direct relation with your own granny, there are not many places you meet grannies.
In Granniverse, the Granny is a metaphor for some things that gets lost in our society. We all have Grannies, we all have stories and feelings about our Grannies, but still old women are made almost invisible in our society. What consequences will this have, which part of our history has been lost because of this? What would happen if that changed? Would life for young men and women of today, or tomorrow, be different?
By playing with the concept of Granny and the meanings we give it, we aim to inspire both the imagination and the reality of the possible answers to these questions.
Granniverse can be seen as an experiment to make always existing, but invisible parts of society visible!”
Did you have a good relationship with your own grandmothers?
“I hardly met them. And this is a big loss in my life. My grandmother on my fathers side died when I was 11, and I only met her a few times. My grandmother on my mother’s side, the same. I grew up very very isolated myself, that’s why I didn’t meet them. I think that’s why I tell this story.”
Elderly women are often stereotyped as crones or as sweet old biddies. Why do you think there are so few representations of old women as individuals?
“I think it’s because we don’t meet them naturally in our daily lives. Many old people are at homes for old people, and we have a way to separate people from each other – due to their age. And especially old women lose a lot of attention, they are not counted anymore, and I think this is because we have too few role models in the history. And also, many young women live all their lives as objects, and not as subjects.”
We heart grannies, but a lot of our heroes are elderly women without children (like Miss Marple and Lolly Willowes). How much is your project specifically about the relationships of women with their grandchildren?
“It’s crucial. Because it’s about young people’s need of older people, but also the cool, unmarried woman has already some kind of status, in a way that the granny doesn’t. But it doesn’t have to be the biological granny. I could maybe borrow someone’s granny, ’cause in the end this project is about how we are all connected, through history, through time, through biological bonds, and just because we are humans.”
We also love the sound of Granny Day! What are your hopes for the day and what it will mean to people?
“I hope that people will get a closer relationship to their grannies all days of the year. Granny Day is all the time!! But it’s also great to have one day when people can celebrate and think of their grannies, and the grannies of the world – the backbone of humanity – a little bit more!!”
Why did you decide to include a game in the mix? What’s it like?
“I wanted us to make a game with a deep meaning and where you challenge yourself creatively! The game will be a 2D, psychological adventure game where you go deep into the subconscious minds of your game characters to find the solution to their problems, ’cause this project is a lot about the deepest places in us. And since we want to make this project as interactive as possible, a game was the obvious thing to do!”
We reckon this is an exciting project with a noble aim. Plus: Grannies! :D But in order to get off the ground, Sköld needs to raise $50,000 by the first of June. She’s already got over $13,000 pledged, but she needs your help – please back Granniverse on Kickstarter now. As Team Granny says:
We invite the audience to take part in Granniverse, economically by crowdfunding, creatively by telling their own stories about their own Grannies, uploading filmclips, sound, pictures and music and socially by collective distribution. By creating, financing and distributing in collaboration with the audience we want to change the landscape of film production and film distribution.