May 31, 2015

Kung Fury is king!/2

As it is Mother’s Day in Sweden today, let’s just make one thing clear: there is a very important mother crucial for making this dream come true. I’ll get back to that later.
So, I don’t think anyone is surprised really. That the trailer who set off the kick starter campaign which made it possible to make a short that premiered in Cannes last week and on Swedish National Television SVT and released on the web this week has gone viral and is nothing but an incredible success.
It was Christmas Day 2013 when 28-year old Umeå animator and filmmaker David Sandberg launched his trailer on Youtube simultaneously with the Kickstarter crowd funding campaign. The goal was set on 200 000 $ to make a 30 minute film; a free release for the web, but when the one month campaign closed the amount was more than 600 000 $!

David had an idea about a playful martial arts police action comedy breathing the eighties. The plot is the Kung Fu cop Kung Fury who’s friend is killed by the most dangerous Kung Fu crook ever; Adolf Hitler aka Kung Fürher. To take revenge Kung Fury is traveling back in time, but those time machines aren’t perfectly reliable and he ends up among dinosaurs, Vikings, Nazis and mutants. Yeah, the plot is as crazy as the 1,5 years that followed!

David, who looks a lot like a young Johnny Depp, is starring as Kung Fury, and friends from the young film scene in Umeå (mostly) fills in as the characters Kung Fury meets on his voyage. The plot is set in Miami, but the 30 minute film is shot in front of a green screen and most of the locations and environments created in computerized post production, an incredibly time consuming work, made by David.

I have followed the project since a lot of the people involved are friends of my children, the cinematographer Martin Gärdemalm practically grew up in my house since he and Trouble 2 spent all of their school years from kinder garten through the film program in high school together. Plenty of films previous to the grown up professional carrier are shot running around on my front yard with Trouble & Trouble’s 2000 Christmas present, the JVC video camera that lasted through snow storms, sand pits and jumping in the lake, incredible gear!

Therefore, it is such a treat looking at the photos from the Cannes festival, handsome young men in tuxedos and bow ties! And I watched the SVT broadcast sipping a glas of white, knowing that the most important opening was taking place simultaneously here in Umeå, where it all started, among crew, friends and supporters. And directly after the premiere in Umeå on Thursday, these guys flew to New York for a screening the short at Rooftop Films! 

Kung Fury was of course also released in cyber space, and did it go viral (6 000 000 viewings yesterday!) and did it make it all the way to the top of the IMDb! The international movie ranking list goes from 1-10. Kung Fury has reached 8,5, in company with Amelie from Montmartre (8,4) and Star Wars (8,7), to name a few! This is crazy! Huffington Post, Variety, The Verge, as well as media in France, Brazil, Russia, Australia, China, the list just goes on…

Trailer, music video (did I mention the video where David Hasselhoff performs the lead track True Survivor…), and then the 30 minute short. What’s next? Well, a full length might very well be in the makings.

So, how is all this possible. A great idea, talent, hard work, persistence, friends/colleagues, communication skills, and, a mother. 

Because of Mother’s Day, the Umeå local news paper Västerbottens Kuriren yesterday chose to draw attention to mothers behind successful young people from the area. One of them was Kristina Bergwall Sandberg. She is David Sandberg’s mother as well as project manager for Kung Fury. She is also the one who has supported David’s personal life economically and practically during the last few years. Her son simply moved in with her here in Umeå to be able to fulfill his dream, and she was on board. She admits it wasn’t always easy, but what she wanted and absolutely worth while. 

For me, there is one personal draw back from this world success from Umeå. The cinematographer Martin Gärdemalm was supposed to shot some footage for me last week. The magic pre summer light is here, the virgin greenery that changes from one day to the other, and I needed to capture it for a film I am producing. I am not sure that happened. And now he is off to New York. And I am watching the days and evenings pass knowing they are not on my B-roll. Damned Kung Fury!

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