My motivation is to produce films that will encourage people and help them see new possibilities. We need positive messages in a world where the media has, unfortunately, become pessimistic and violent.
You know that children are fascinated by anything crawling on the ground: worms, beetles, and all kinds of animals. I was the same way growing up. Wherever there were bugs, I would be there digging them up. I grew up near fields and woods. My father, who didn’t really share my interest for wildlife and things that crawled on the ground, told me often, “Be careful in the woods, son, and never go close to the stone walls because there are snakes there.”
Snakes? Well, at four or five years old, I just had to find out what was so dangerous about those creepy, crawly creatures. I had no choice but to crawl on and around the stone walls looking for the things I was supposed to look out for. So that’s what I did and my interest in wildlife and nature was sparked.
When I was 15 years old I worked after school, evenings and weekends as a photographer and journalist for the local newspaper. It was rewarding to tell stories with words and pictures. But I was soon introduced to something even more exciting and rewarding, filmmaking! When I was 17, my friends and I produced a film that got a lot of attention. We didn’t really have a name for our film until after we held a press conference. On the front page of the local newspaper was a picture from the film under the headline, “Tarzan – Son of Moose.” We thought that sounded pretty good. Later, I sent the film to Swedish Television and they called the very next day and asked if they could purchase the film. I’ve never sold a film that quickly to a television station since then.
When the film had been aired all over Sweden the verdict was in. The Daily News (Dagens Nyheter) wrote the next day:
”There are many talented and ambitions wildlife and documentary filmmakers in this country. But the film that took up the majority of the last episode should have stayed within the confines of the closest friends, to be shown only after consuming the sixth or seventh cocktail of moonshine and Coca-Cola. That anything so embarrassing and asinine could be shown on Swedish Public Service Television is disgusting. Is this what our license money pays for? If I worked for that organization and had been responsible for choosing that film for public viewing, I would go underground and not emerge again until the trumpets sounded on judgment day.”
Well, he certainly didn’t spare our feelings but, can you believe it, the Daily News’ critic had suffered through our entire film and written about it!?! It didn’t matter to us at all if he liked the film or not. That was my first film to be aired in every house all over the country. The door to a world of filmmaking stood wide open.