ND/NF Discovery: Mads Matthiesen’s “Teddy Bear” (Denmark)

Teddy Bear

In her roundup of the second half of New Directors/New Films, New York Times critic Manohla Dargis singled out Mads Matthiesen's Teddy Bear as a "high point" of the festival, describing it as a "low-wattage, unexpected Danish charmer, which forgivably commits the often unpardonable sin of sentimentality." See what Matthiesen has to say about his film below and don't miss the screenings on March 29 and March 31. [buy tickets]

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Mads Matthiesen

Describe your film Teddy Bear to someone who hasn't seen it.
Teddy Bear is about the 38 year old Dennis and his trouble with finding love. Dennis is a bodybuilder, 6’7 feet tall, 308 pounds of raw muscle power. But despite Dennis' rough appearance he is a very shy and insecure man. He lives with his mother, in a closed and unhealthy relationship. The film deals with Dennis and his attempt to break free from his mother and make it on his own. When Dennis’ uncle returns from Thailand with a Thai wife, Dennis decides to travel to Thailand on a quest for love. Maybe in Thailand far away from his mother he can find the courage to begin a relationship with another woman.

What was the most memorable day of shooting like?
It was quiet an adventure shooting in Thailand. I would say that every day in Thailand was quite memorable.

If you could work with any artist alive, who would it be and why?
Writing a script together with Michael Haneke. Because he is the master! Or maybe I wouldn’t dare actually…

What are you most excited to do while you're in NYC?
I love NYC and have been here many times. So basically I’m just going to hang out and enjoy the city. The most exciting thing would probably be the two screenings of my film.

Describe your very first experience with filmmaking.
Back in 1997 I made my first film with a good friend of mine. I was the main actor. Haha.. The film ended up really bad but it got me started on filmmaking.

What would you be doing if you weren't making films?
Playing rock music.

What is your favorite (and/or least favorite) movie and why?
It’s impossible to pick one film as my favorite. But one film that has always been close to my heart is Buffalo 66 by Vincent Gallo. I love this film. It is a slow and weird and so poetic. I love the performances by Vincent Gallo and Christina Ricci and it is beautifully shoot. It deals with a main character that has a hard time expressing love. I kind of like that conflict.

From what types of art, other than film, do you draw inspiration?
Almost all other art forms inspire me. No exceptions. From novels to paintings to architecture and so on…

What is your favorite food to eat on set?
Most of all the food on set has to be full of energy and keep me a steady blood sugar. It shouldn’t be too exotic or weird cause I don’t want to be to challenged by the food. There are plenty of challenges on set so the food should not be too special.

Do you have any rituals or rules for yourself while you're working on a film?
No, not really. I have an important one-hour “alone time” in the evening preparing next day shoot. This hour is very important to me. Otherwise, I don’t have any rules or rituals.

Which parts of the filmmaking process do you enjoy the most? The least?
On set shooting the film is probably the most challenging and hardest. I don’t know how much I enjoy that actually. I enjoy looking back at it, but the time on set is really hard work.

The point I love the most is in the beginning when the idea comes to form (early script phase) and in the end when everything is coming together and you get the real picture of how the film will end up.

What was the biggest surprise you had while making your film?
Every time I kind of get surprised of how much it takes to do a film. This time was no exception. But a lot of fun it was!

Teddy Bear screens March 29 and March 31 - buy tickets now! Follow Teddy Bear on Facebook.

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