Copenhagen-based filmmaker Julie Lindhardt’s narrative short SIS portrays a divorce experienced through the eyes of the child. In the film, we follow the young girl, Vigga, in her fight to save her beloved
dog, Sis, in the middle of her parents’ ugly divorce. The short film takes place over a single hour while they are moving from Vigga’s childhood home.
SIS screened at the Paris Lift-Off Film Festival. We interviewed director Julie Lindhardt to hear a little more about how this film came to be, and her path as a filmmaker.
SIS has been short-listed for Best Short Film for the 2023 Lift-Off Season Awards.
Interview by Natalie Daniels
What is your film about? And why did you want to make it?
“In short, my film is about a young girl in the midst of her parent’s divorce and her fight to keep her dog, Sis, which she’s losing in this divorce. It’s a girl’s fight to keep her dog, but the bigger picture is that it’s a girl in the midst of the biggest crisis of her life because her parents are getting divorced.”
“She’s just a kid, so she doesn’t have anything to say in that circumstance, and she’s a victim of the divorce and her parents who think more about themselves than their kid. She’s also an only child, so her only sister or sibling is her dog, and it is her everything. It’s the only part of her family that is totally on her side, and the dog is the last bit of normality that she can cling to.”
“As a kid you can’t do much, you can’t decide, this is what I want to show because your parents decide in the end. She’s fighting with all she’s got, but it’s not enough because she’s just a kid in a grown-up world.”
How did you come up with the concept for this film, and why specifically did you want to make it?
“Specifically, I wanted to make this film because I am a child of divorce. So I have been in situations where I feel like, as a child, you’re the big loser no matter what, even though you get extra birthday gifts or Christmas gifts or whatever stuff people try to tell divorced kids to be happy. It’s not a great circumstance because, as a kid, all you ever want is for your parents to be together and have one big family.”
“Of all the films I’ve watched, I have never seen a film about divorce be about the kids; it’s always about the parents, and the kids are anonymous B-characters. And I feel that was something infuriating me when I was a kid because I was like, ‘I’m the big loser here, why isn’t it about the kids like me, we can’t do anything, and it affects our whole life. This is turning upside down everything we know. And we stand here and can’t do anything.’ Why aren’t people talking about this?”
Who are your biggest filmmaker inspirations and why?
“That’s a really good question; I would, for one, say Greta Gerwig because, as a female filmmaker, I truly love and support all female filmmakers out there, and I think she’s an absolute badass. I think she has a very diverse skillset; she can take on any kind of story, we see in Little Women, we see in Lady Bird, we see it in Barbie. It’s different genres and categories and she just nails it every time and I think that’s cool because I feel like a lot of directors sort of find their niche and just do that forever; I just respect that she’s daring and cool and open-minded towards different stuff.”
“I am inspired by tons of filmmakers! Personally, as a Dane, Thomas Vinterberg is also a great inspiration. I think he has been making some great movies and I think the international scene really has seen him now with Another Round. He won the Oscar, two years ago for Best Foreign Language Film. This is cool because Denmark isn’t that big of a country and it’s something we were all hyped about. But I also just think he’s crazy talented and he really gets creating characters so deep and so complex, that they’re both good and bad in so many ways they have so many faults and they have so many bonuses, I think he’s really, really good at creating in-depth characters and that’s something I aspire to also.”
Are there any new projects on the horizon that you can tell us about?
“Yes! The next stop will definitely be another short film. I am currently working on several ideas, but they’re all up in the idea stage, I only have a few pages of script for each of the ideas so I don’t know which one exactly it’s gonna be yet.”
Don’t forget to view the complete Winners and Special Mentions and Shortlisted Season Awards Filmmakers list from Paris Lift-Off Film Festival.