Interview – Emil Hall (Key Grip)

Interview – Emil Hall (Key Grip)


Emil Hall




Skateboarder, Grip and Camera Operator.

How many years in the film business?

19 years

What is your current location?


Latest production?

It has been mostly commercials lately. Amongst  others a  Deichmann spot in Uruguay and Argentina. I love working on feature films, but it has been unfortunate circumstances lately as the last three productions I have been asked to work on have been cancelled or postponed. I do not know if it is me or just a strange trend within the film industry at the moment.

Best film production related memory?

That is so difficult to say as there are so many but I really enjoy when it is more of an adventure. I remember a shoot a long time a ago, I cannot remember when… Oh wait it must have been in 1999 because it was some American production for the millenium new years broadcast 1999-2000. Daniel Chantre was Key Grip, I was Grip and the location was Kemi, far up in Northern Finland. They had a three story ice house there (similar to the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi) and we filmed some figure skating on all the different floors inside the ice house.  Then an icebreaker transported us way out in the Baltic sea. As there was such a hurry to catch the boat, we only had time to bring the crane and left the rest of our gear behind. Out on the Baltic it was windy and cold. Out there on the ice they had built an ice rink for the figure skaters. Then after working 18-20 hours there was finally a break for lunch. By the time me and Chantre had secured the crane and got on the boat there was no food left for us.  There was not much to do about that as we were in the middle of the sea. But as you might know a Kexchoklad is full of energy! We finally got back to the ice house to find that all the gear had frozen in to the ice. All the cables that had been warm when plugged in were now frozen 10 cm into the ice. We ended up working for 52 hours outdoors in freezing cold, high winds and without food. I find these kind of jobs more exciting. They are more of an adventurous kind of fun!

Worst film production related memory?

I was hired as a B-camera operator for a feature film but production was put on hold one week before we was supposed start shooting and then the production company went bankrupt and many of the crew did not get paid.

What do you miss from the past?

Actually I think I miss making music videos. We learned so much and had the opportunity to be creative, and just do things that  looked good. All this without having to be super logical or having to sell a product. It was good to be younger then, as music video shoots tend to go on forever.

What do you wish of the future?

I would love to do more documentary and nature films.  I have always wanted to do a documentary about skateboarders. But there has been an explosion of those lately. So I sadly kind of scraped that idea. Instead I would like to do something about the Swedish Same history. I think most Swedish people (including me) know more about the unfairness and shity treatment the American indians have been, and are still going trough and not so much about our own history and the treatment the Same have been, and are still going trough.

The item you never leave at home when you go to work?


If you must choose, name the one most important thing for a good day on set?


What is your favourite format to work on?

When there is no storyboard or super picky client. Just to have an idea and go out find the most beautiful and creative shots. Just a small crew with minimal equipment.

Does anything scare you with your job? If so, what?

I have a fear of flying, especially helicopters. I almost crashed once in Southafrica.

Describe what you think is the difference between the film business in Sweden compared to other countries.

It all depends on which country of course, but most of the time the production side is more complete because they are more used to bigger productions. For example, when we did David Finchers ”The girl with the dragon tattoo” in Sweden. That one production almost occupied all people working within the filmindustry in Sweden. Other productions had trouble finding crew for their projects. When our grip department needed extra crew they had to be flown in from London. But on the other hand Sweden have produced a lot of skilled people over the years from DoPs to Directors. I think this partly comes from the individual sense of responsibility among Swedish film crew. If you film on a mountaintop, everyone have to help out to get everything there and back. It does not matter if you are a PA or a Producer. People know that there will not appear 20 extra hands to carry the equipment down. The best thing in Sweden is that the ”hierarchy” system does not exist.

Your view on analog vs. digital?

The biggest change I find with the digital format is that we have lost focus on set. When you shot on film and the camera was rolling, everyone was focused and everyone knew it costed money. Today people seem to think it is just digital, ones and zeroes. There is not much thought about that someone have to handle all these gigabytes and go through all the material. I used to be more old school and said ”This digital is crap” but now I kind of like it. Well, at least ARRI as they build their cameras with a more ‘work friendly’ way of thinking. RED on the other hand is more confusing.

Tell us your story about how you ended up in the film industry?

My family moved to Gotland when I was two years old and started a theatre there. I guess growing up in a theatre you are destined or doomed to follow a similar path. One summer we rented out the theatre building to a reality show called ”The real world” in 1996. I ended up helping out with the lights on that production. I met a lot of future colleagues on that job, Johan ”19” Lindström (INDIO), Magnus Theorin (Social Club) and Jonas Elmqvist (Founder of Dagsljus). Jonas said ”If you move to Stockholm, come work for us”. I moved to Stockholm and went straight from the boat to Dagsljus. I stayed for a few years before going freelance full-time in 1999. I learned allot when working at Dagsljus . A big thanks to Jonas,Thomas, Ebbe and Ocki!

Now you work as Key Grip was that your goal from day one?

No….I wanted to be a professional skateboarder but that did not go as planned. I have never had a proper plan for a career, it just happened this way.

Do you have any dream project you want to do?

I was asked by Hoyte to be on “Bröderna Lejonhjärta”. But it got pushed into the future. I really hope to be a part of ”Bröderna Lejonhjärta”. I think almost everyone in Sweden loves Astrid Lindgren and I would love to be able to say to my kids (and future grandkids, maybe?)that I have been part of making an Astrid Lindgren film.

What does the future look like, any new challanges big or small?

I am going to help a friend of mine out with some pro bono commercial films for his shoe company ”Servant Footwear” the first ever Swedish skate shoe. We will use the Phantom high speed camera to get classic stuff putting shoes on fire and so on.

Do you have any tip for young and aspiring people that want to get into the industry?  

Be prepared to meet people that are assholes, because it is a very egoistic industry sometimes and some people use their elbows to get themselves to wherever they want to get to. But you will, most likely, also meet a lot of future friends as the people that seek the film industry are very much like yourself.

Always remember Ocki… He was one of the legends..


Emil Hall

200 foot track. On The Girl with the dragon tattoo

Intersport reklamfilm i Malmö 2014

Reklamfilm i Uruguay 2014

Jakt scen i koridorer Hypnotisören

Klätra i palmer Diego Garcia 2014

Reklamfilm med Per M Ekberg Jonas Elmqvist Mattias Segnestam och dom där spring systrarna

Åkning ner för två våningar i ett trapphus. Hypnotisören

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