Instapocalypse Director Martin Sofiedal “Our obsession with putting our lives up on display is just fascinating”

We got the chance to talk to Martin Sofiedal about his innovative new film Instapocalypse.

Oslo born director Martin Sofiedal’s award winning short will play at Cinequest Film & VR Festival in San José. This fun short asks “how important is Instagram when the world has gone to hell?”

Two friends find a working iPhone during the zombie apocalypse, but their longing to post pictures on Instagram soon turns them against each other.

Watch the film here:

Instapocalypse (A WALKING DEAD / INSTAGRAM Sketch) from Martin Sofiedal on Vimeo.

Director Martin Sofiedal achieved his international breakthrough in 2014 with the fan film Uncharted: Ambushed, based on the Playstation game with the same name. It garnered attention from film and game magazines from all around the world, including The Hollywood Reporter. His short film Selfie Standoff won an award at the One-Reeler Short Film Competition (LA) and was part of the official selection at Los Angeles Lift-Off Film Festival and Chicago Comedy Film Festival in 2016. His latest short film Instapocalypse, was recently awarded “Video of the week” by Awardeo.tv. Benjamin Falck & The Ghost Dagger will be Sofiedal’s feature film debut, for which he also wrote the script.  He is also the in-house director at Go Electra, a production company in Oslo.

The film stars Cecilie Svendsen, Patrick Finzi who also will feature in Martin Sofiedal’s upcoming feature film Benjamin Falck & the Ghost Dagger. The cinematography is by Magnus Owe whose work includes shooting and editing the popular Norwegian talk show Karl Johan, as well as several other high profile projects. 

This is not the first time you used social media as an inspiration for a [short] film, what about social media intrigues you so much? I believe it first came from me wanting to say something with my short films. I work mostly with comedy and I had done some films that were just random funny stories (not that there is anything wrong with that), but to reach a bigger audience you have to talk about something relatable, and social media is such a huge part of our lives now that it’s kind of endless. I’m intrigued by the absurdness of it all, our obsession with putting our lives up on display is just fascinating. I just love to play around in that world. And what I find most funny is that no matter how far-fetched the settings are in the films I’ve done, someone always relates.

Why did you choose Instagram, from all the social media platforms? It was mainly because it was a platform I hadn’t handled yet, and it was just too much fun having the actors say stuff like “perpetua” very very dramatic.

How did you come to work with Patrick Finzi, Asbjørn Røen Halsten and Cecilie Svendsen? And what as a director attracted you to choose them for your film? Cecilie is my girlfriend and a very talented actress, so it just started with us wanting to do something together. After the idea came about we decided it would work best in English, since we wanted it to be more international. Patrick is a good friend of Cecilie, and I had worked with him earlier on my feature film, and he has a fluent American accent, as well as being a really good actor, so it worked out really great, no casting process needed. As for Abjørn, we go back a good few years and worked on several short films and commercials together. The awesome thing about Asbjørn is he is up for anything, and he attacked the zombie role full on.

What is your personal opinion on social media and the hype around it? I feel social media brings out the best and the worst of us, at the same time. The irony is that it’s actually a very anti social thing, considering people are more occupied with documenting their social life than actually just living it, I include myself in that as well. I guess that is also a reason why I want to make films that comment and satirizes this, to make people wake up a bit and see how ridiculous it all actually is.

How do you feel about Instapocalypse being selected for the Cinequest film festival? It’s really awesome! It’s the first festival for the film, so I couldn’t be a better start. It’s such an honor, I hadn’t read to much about it when I sent the film to them, but when it got accepted I realized how big the festival actually is, and being here now I can see why. So many great people, so many amazing films and events. I’d recommend it to any filmmaker.

What is the message you wanted to give to people when they watch Instapocalypse? Going back to my previous thoughts about social media, I want people to relate, and maybe wake up a bit, see the absurdity of being obsessed with taking photos of food, followers, likes and hashtags. We have turned into zombies, time to tilt our heads up again. But at the same time I don’t want people to feel bad, I want people to laugh and be entertained, it’s a fine line.

What is it about the comedy genre that you like so much? I just feel like there is so much serious stuff going on in the world, people need a break, they need to laugh, feel good. I have always looked to entertainment and comedy when I’ve been through tough times, and the feeling of being transported to a different place for a while is really the best feeling, and I hope to be able to give that to other people as well.

You’ve been making [short] films for quite a while, what got you into making films? I believe it’s the storytelling aspect, and as I mentioned earlier, creating worlds and characters that entertain. It kind of just occurred to me that I actually have been making stories my whole life, since I was a child. It wasn’t only until I actually bought a camera during high school that it dawned on me that I wanted to be a filmmaker, because I love the whole process, from the inception of an idea all the way to finish up post-production. And every project is different, the variation is something I love. I could never do an office job, doing the same thing every day, I would implode eventually.

What do you hope to be doing next? I’m doing post-production on my first feature film, a treasure hunter film called “Benjamin Falck & The Ghost dagger”, which we shoot on Mallorca, Spain. So the first priority is getting that released some time this year. After that I have a new feature film idea I’m working on, as well as a couple of other tv-series ideas, so yeah, I’m keeping busy.

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