Look At Me Now: Catching Up With Petter Onstad Løkke

Petter Onstad Løkke produced "Deathcrush: Lesson #16 for Beatmaster V / Fun," an ATLFF '14 Official Selection that emerged victorious with the Jury Award. In 2015, his short film "Polaroid" screened in our Other Worlds shorts block. We caught up with him about his ATLFF submissions experience, his transition from music videos to short films, and his current projects. 

"As a first time submitter from Europe, it's always difficult to know which festival we should use our submission money on. We chose ATLFF because of its great reputation. The submission process with both Deathcrush: Lesson #16 for Beatmaster V / Fun and Polaroid went quite smoothly. The first times I submitted via Withoutabox, but this time I'm using FilmFreeway, as I prefer the latter. All dates were held as promised and when accepted, the festival coordinated all the practical stuff really well. The digital solutions make the deliverance of the material easy.

While winning the music video Jury Award was undoubtedly the most rewarding, I haven't been able to visit the festival yet. It's a shame, but hopefully more opporturnities will turn up as I'm submitting two short films this fall.

Making music videos is a great way to test visual and narrative ideas and concepts. We've worked with artists that've given us full creative freedom, which is important for me and the directors I work with. But while the creative process of making music videos has been rewarding, the lack of funding limits how much time I can spend doing that. 

The most obvious, but also the most important, transition from music videos to short films is the narrative process. In music videos, you can disguise your story with visuals, rhythm and performance, as well as the song itself. When making short films, the overall process takes a lot more time in every stage of the project, especially in script development, the editing, and of course the sound design. The latter is obviously a big deal, since the sound designer can be so essential to the narrative. For instance, in Polaroid it really is our sound designer Inger Elise Holm who is the hidden star of the show, as she added crucial elements to the story.

Making music videos has definitely been important. Today's audience certainly has a lack of patience to be entertained, even in three minute long music videos. As filmmakers we must know how to hold the audience's attention constantly. Since this is even more difficult in short films, music videos are a great way to practice. It also is a great way to get to know different people and test relations with different directors.

In addition to Polaroid, I'm launching two more short films: Love Me More by Kristoffer Carlin and Taxfree by Christian K. Norvalls. Since completing the shorts, my focus has turned to developing feature films. Several very different and exciting projects are in the making and hopefully, some of them will be realized in the following years. 

Together with several producers around Europe, we are working on developing relations and networks with an overall goal to do international productions. There are a lot of opportunities to fund films as long as you know how and where to look. This is my focus right now besides the film projects. I believe international co-productions will become even more important in the years to come."

We are now accepting submissions for the Music Video category, the Oscar-qualifying Narrative Short category, and all other categories for the 2016 Atlanta Film Festival. The Regular Deadline is September 18.