A Democratized Culture

It seems only fitting that a documentary about the unconventional digital and artistic revolution our world has seen come to fruition these last few years would be shot, directed and funded in a most untraditional way.

"We wanted to make a film that showed how technology not only had changed business models, but also had given people the possibility to create in new and different ways," explains David Dworsky, one half of the directing/editing duo that includes Victor Köhler, as well.

To avoid looking like a typical BBC documentary, DP Hannes Isaksson chose to shoot in the widescreen format.

With one-on-one interviews of digital and new-age creative notables like Moby, Lena Dunham and Sean Parker, the film attempts to understand the digi-cultural transformation of the last decade and how it has unleashed creativity, and sometimes talent, from people in an unprecedented way with unlimited creative opportunities. It poses the questions: "Does democratized culture mean better art, film, music and literature? Or is true talent instead flooded and drowned in the vast digital ocean of mass culture? Is it cultural democracy or mediocrity?"

"The interesting thing about this documentary is that we’re in the middle of this revolution right now," Dworsky adds. "It’s not like other documentaries where you ask your interviewees about something that happened 10 years ago, or ‘back then,’ and you’re able to assess results. These results are all up in the air right now, and that really dictated how the film formulated and the production evolved."

The idea for PressPausePlay came from this ongoing debate about media piracy, the evolution of business models and the general feeling among many in the creative industries that everything is going the wrong way.

"Yes, those are all valid issues," says Victor Köhler, "but there’s another side to it, and that’s where the first idea came from to make a film about the creative and digital revolution."

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Prepping A Revolution

After the initial idea, Köhler and Dworsky began the preproduction phase, including finding financiers. Because of their company out of Stockholm, House of Radon, which produces commercial work for various clients, they were able to fund half of their low-end budget. For the rest of the financial backing, they approached Ericsson, the telecommunications company with whom they had worked before.

"We pitched the project, asked them to sponsor us, and they accepted, fortunately for us," says Köhler.

After financing was in place, the duo set out to assemble their crew. Quite fitting for the documentary, they found their director of photography, Hannes Isaksson, through an Internet database for filmmakers in Sweden called Filmcafe.se.