Interview With Kim Magnusson and Anders Walter: Rising ‘Helium’ to The Oscars

With the Oscars are looming ahead, and we got the amazing opportunity to chat with Oscar-nominated director Anders Walter and producer Kim Magnusson for their incredible short film, ‘Helium’.

Watch the trailer

The film, built on dreams and emotions will melt your heart from beginning to end. Alfred, young boy, is dying, but through the stories about ‘Helium’ – a magical fantasy world, told by the hospital’s eccentric janitor Enzo, Alfred regain the joy and happiness of his life, and finds a safe haven away from daily life.

The film is directed by Anders Walter, which his previous film 9 Meters has been shortlisted for an Academy in 2013. We’re thrilled have Anders answer our few questions about himself and the film!

You’re living many young filmmaker’s dreams right now, tell us how you got there, what inspired you to become a filmmaker?

Anders: My background is illustration and comic books. I’ve worked professionally since I was 16 doing storyboards, posters, book covers, etc. I always dreamt about making films also. But it took me a while to do the final jump. Now after 3 short films I’m really enjoying the process and will definitely be doing this for many years to come. Hopefully a feature will be next. My inspiration is all the great ones like, Scorsese, Leone, Spielberg, The Coen brothers. Growing up in Denmark in the 80 ties I was also very inspired by Danish director Bille August first films, like Twist ‘n’ shout and Pelle the Conquer. I still think these two films a masterpieces.

Your film ‘9 Meter’, another unbelievably touching film, was shortlisted for an Academy Award in 2013. What more does ‘Helium’ have to offer in comparison to enter the top 5 with an Oscar Nomination this year?

Anders: I think Helium is a very universal story. Everybody can recognize the premise. This is a film celebrating fantasy showing the beauty of a child’s free ways of thinking and believing and hopefully this will also remind adults to keep in close contact with this imaginary side with in them selfs.

You have a sweet spot for heart-warming stories, Helium is no different. Where did your melting inspirations for Helium come from?

Anders: A book called The Brother’s Lion heart written by Swedish children’s author Astrid Lingren made a big impression on me when I was young. That story also deals with a child dying in a very poetic way. The story stock with me and I always new that one day I would do my own version of this tale.

We usually hear nightmarish stories about shooting with children. What was your experience in shooting a dreamyfilm with young Pelle, who did such a magnificent job?

Anders: All great. We had 6 days of shooting and Pelle was just this fantastic child who would do everything so perfect. I felt every day that I got more than I hoped for with all the amazing actors. Pure pleasure. Pelle would in no time and with very few words get the meaning and the feel of the scene. I kind of stole him from a Danish feature were he had just acted in. So I guess I was lucky that he was around at that exact time when we needed him for Helium. But with children in general cast the child you want them to be. Don’t expect them to act so much. Pelle got the job because he himself had the personality I wanted for Alfred in the film.

What’s the next step for you? Will an Oscar win influence your next move, or is your near future already planned out?

Anders: I’m not sure what kind of an effect the win will have. I’m developing to films in Denmark. A new short and a feature project.

Your Best Picture prediction?

Dallas Buyers Club or Gravity:))

Still from Helium

We are also lucky enough to have a few words with producer of the film Kim Magnusson from M&M Productions. Kim has 5 Oscar Nominations with a win for ‘Election Night (1999)‘, he also has 2 more Oscars through his production company for ‘This Charming Man (2003)‘ and ‘The New Tenants (2011)‘.

Not enough production companies spend time creating short films. What are your inspirations for investing time and resources on shorts?

Kim: Talent – we love to find new talent – we like the format – it’s great to tell stories with no commercial pressure, but for us it’s all about finding talent – nurturing it, seeing if we work well together and seeing if the filmmaker can direct, before we move on to feature film projects.

Once you read the script for Helium, what were your thoughts? Did the film end up as you imagined it?

Kim: Yes – and better – because we never knew if we could create the perfect world of Helium, but i think we did it…

You’re obviously doing something right here, what is your secret recipe to a successful short film?

Kim: Maybe i should write a cookbook – haha lol – no there is no recipe – i’ve often been asked that question, and my answer is always – a good film – otherwise you can’t do it ! – there is no hidden ways into the oscars® – if you have something good – then it stands a chance. That said we tend to like the kind of stories that thankfully also seems to be the taste of the academy.

Helium is your 5th personal Oscar Nomination, if your other 4 nominations would be this year’s competitors, which would take the Oscar?

Kim: That’s a hard one – can i say a tie ???

Your Best Picture prediction?

Kim: Gravity or 12 Year a Slave – down to the wire, but it’s so unfair, because i really like most of the films this year – it’s such a strong year.

Kim, Anders, thank you so much for taking a few minutes of your precious time to speak to us about your film. We truly hope the entire world gets to see this astonishing short film, and of course we will be routing for you on Oscar night!