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H. Solveig


Swedish Journalist/Actress working in Europe and Los Angeles!

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“Stay Down!” What is the human price of violence?

“Fuck Violence!”

The screening of “Stay Down!” at Göteborg Film Festival is over, and the silent audience contemplates the last words of dialogue. We have just seen a very realistic story of violence as a part of everyday life for many teenagers – boys as well as girls. The film very intimately shows the medical consequences of something as ‘simple’ as a single kick in the stomach.

A shot of the cast and crew

Questions are raised: who is to blame? Why fight?

“I was raised to always help, to go in between if I saw a fight. I have seen and experienced consequences of violence even though I’ve never initiated a fight myself,” says director Richard Jarnhed.

“Finally, when I was 28, I was hurt really bad when I tried to stop a fight. It really scared me,” he continues. “That was my motivation to start researching the consequences of violence and do this film.”

Together with Erik Bolin and Sebastian Ylvenius – both actors and writers – Jarnhed started researching the medical effects of violence. Ylvenius wrote a first version of a screenplay that the three of them developed into “Stay Down!” Bolin and Ylvenius also act in the film.

“Stay Down!” is part of an educational program called “Watch your Head” (“Akta Huvudet” in Swedish) that serves to educate young people– primarily junior high and high school students – about the consequences of violence on the head. Producer is Lars Pettersson of Fundament Film.

“It was a fantastic group effort,” says Pettersson. “And the casting was extremely well done.”

Many of the actors had no prior experience of acting – something that in this case served the film well. 

“We needed strong characters and had a very long audition process,” says Bolin. “Then, Sebastian and I worked as acting coaches. We held master classes where we taught basic acting techniques. Everybody was extremely well prepared before we started filming. We developed an amazing feeling of togetherness – and we learned a lot from the first-time actors!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ylvenius comments:

“Many of these young people had dreamed of being part of a film. They really wanted to act and brought lots of positive energy. This is one of the best experiences I’ve had!”

Next, “Stay Down!” will be shown and discussed on Swedish television, at Graduation time in June.

Before I leave, I ask Jarnhed for a word of advise to anyone who sees a fight.

“Together we are stronger,” he says. “Don’t intervene by yourself – ask others for help.”

True words. I thank the team for a very informative film and decide to end with a statement from the film:

“Violence is lack of knowledge.”

Solveig Haugen

Correspondent, filmfestivals.com

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