Feb 21, 2016

The portrait of an entrepreneurial life

We are there! It’s a bit hard to take in, but we are really there!

I first met Krister Olsson in 2004 when I pitched a film to him, the story about a city design project his company Balticgruppen and the City of Umeå had launched together. Staden mellan broarna, The City Between the Bridges, a dramatic change of the waterfront scene at the Umeå River. We were about to get a new front porch!

Krister Olsson didn’t know me and I’m sure he had never seen anything I had produced, but his response was positive! The result was a 25 minutes long documentary about an extremely exciting project involving the most prestigious Nordic architects… that never happened. The City didn’t do it’s part of the job. Or, according to my footage I can be very blunt here, claiming our most powerful politician Lennart Holmlund didn’t step up to his responsibility. Coming to that man, it’s hard to say if it was strategy or if he was just plain stupid.

Back then, in 2004, Krister Olsson and I also decided on a film portrait about him. Telling the story about his life as an entrepreneur. About the boy who wanted to become a pilot, but chose not to when his father, a pilot himself, died in a plane crash, taking off in the Swedish mountains. Krister was 19 years old. Instead his choice became taking care of the family business, a small plumbing firm which he over the coming 50 years developed into a business- construction- and developing company worth of today around 3 billion Swedish crowns - I am trying converting into US dollar but getting different numbers, and since me and math isn’t to trust I am staying out of it. Krister Olsson’s total focus today is developing Umeå.

Anyway, the years passed. He didn’t have the time, or didn’t make the story of his life a priority. Until summer 2013. For me, as a storyteller, the timing was great. The collapsed city design project was to some degree replaced with the creation of a new cultural center down at the waterfront, and one of the architects from 2004, Norwegian Snöhetta, was hired for the design. The name of the building is Väven, The Weave - or The Fabric.

My idea was to tell the story of Väven parallel with the story of Krister. About twenty people around Krister and Krister himself are weaving his tale meanwhile Väven grows to change the Umeå skyline as well as the waterfront.

It’s been 2,5 interesting and tremendously fun years. And the reason I have been able to follow it through although I’ve mostly been tied to my couch is my wonderful and competent crew. I can totally trust them on doing a creative and professional job and I am always confident they will bring home the material I need. The two cinema photographers Tomas Olsson and Martin Gärdemalm, sound engineers Johannes Oscarsson and Linda Iro Näsström, Trouble 2 in charge of the post production, Fay the graphic designer, and Trouble 1 as composer of the original music. I am blessed to be working with these people: my children and their friends.

The result is a film, just shy of two hours. A portrait of the boy who wanted to fly, but instead came to make Umeå take off for a different level. On Wednesday Trouble 2 and I executed the solemn hand over to Krister Olsson. 2016 a two hour film is delivered on a tiny shiny USB-memory engraved with the film title. And in this case packaged in a custom made blue box, crafted by the bookbinder Åsa Bergqvist - my ex sister in law by the way.

The review came the day after. The portrait was well received. Our work is done and I can allow myself feeling proud and happy. But most of all I am incredibly grateful for the trust Krister Olsson gave me, laying the story of his life in my hands.

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