Interview – Pelle Mellqvist

Interview – Pelle Mellqvist

Me and Bengan Widell in Lagos, Nigeria, music video for Dr Alban one week shoot

Pelle Mellqvist

How many years in the film industry?
I started around November 1987, so about 27 years.

How and why did you start with film?
In some way it just happend! I was not looking for a job in the film business, but Stickan Olsson and I had worked together at Roslagstulls Hospital. In 1986 he started to work with Alexandersson & De Geer which made a lot of strange films. In the fall of 1987 they where looking for a hospital location to shoot a TV-series (NOA). At that time Stickan and I had a lab in a building on the hospital premises that was not in use anymore. Carl Johan De Geer liked this location and as I already worked at the hospital and knew all people it became easier for them to have me on set. This is how I stated with DOP Christer Strandell, gaffer Kenta Högberg, sound Janne Alvemark and of course Stickan.
It was fun and they came back and wanted me to join on other productions. I started in the grip department. Later Mekano Film contacted me to help them out with the many commercials they produced at that time. This is how I started to roll in the film industry.

Best / worst production / job memory, story? In Sweden and abroad.
Always hard at 5 in the morning when you know that the next shoot starts at 8 am. I can’t say I have any worst, or have I forgotten all the bad ones? Weather of course can be hard, -41 degrees Celsius below in Jukkasjärvi or wind and rain straight into the camera. It’s tough but you do your job.
Best I think it is when you go travelling. Some nice shoots have been in Cuba, islands etc.

Which job made the biggest personal impression on you?
I don’t get impressed, but it has been nice to work with some bigger productions on music videos with big artists during the nineties.

Differences between production handling today vs the old days.
When I opened Kameraten I might have started spoiling productions . As I had some experience of my own working as a production manager and producer for some years I got the idea to offer all inclusive camera packages. This to help production out, making their job easier and saving them time. – Just give me a camera that I can work with! And so I did.
In those days working as a production manager you needed to have more knowledge about the equipment.
The industry has grown, those days when everybody knew each other are gone. Now there are more people and we do not specialize only in film and commercials, as television today has become more for the same crew and equipment.

Your views on analog vs digital?
When you shoot on film you know what you get, the digital continues to change with new formats all the time. Celluloid film is still the best.

What’s the most expensive blunder you ever done on set?
I have done some jobs that I’m not satisfied with for sure, but haven’t made any big and costly mistakes for any productions. At least that I know of!?
But sometimes as a production manager you can’t control all costs but in the end I always kept it within budget.

What´s it like to let go of your own started company and start working for someone else?
I thought it would be a bigger difference, but it looks like I’m working as I used to at Kameraten and it is nice to be in a bigger context and able to deliver not only cameras.
About to let Kameraten go, that was not what I wanted to happen, but sometimes you get to a point when you’re not the only one that make the decisions. I would maybe still have Kameraten if I had gone to the bank for a loan but in that case I would have been evicted from the office space we had.

Pros and cons with being self employed vs. employed in a company?
I can’t see the diffrences yet. I think I will act as a self employed and belive that Dasgljus finds this good.

What’s your role going to be at Dagsljus?
I have a coffee with the rest of the gang…..

How does it feel to be back where it all started? What has changed?
Yes actually Kameraten AB was started by Dagsljus, Passeriet and Me 17 years ago at Bolidenplan. I was running it the first year, then we couldn’t agree on all things and it ended 2000 when I bought the rest out but today there are no hard feelings between us all, Ocki RIP.

Did you think it would go like this 10 years back? (What was your vision for the future at that time?)
Ten years back, for a couple of years, I thought I would not be owned by the bank so much. Then the digital era came and I had to start investing again, today this is a never ending story.
Then I thought I just would invest in some more goodie equipment and increase the level of service employing some more skilled crew.

What do you wish for the future?
That celluloid film comes back, gets a revival and finds a place to stay. It still gives you something extra.
In many cases it’s not more expensive than shooting on Alexa or Red. You just need to know what you’re doing and it may save money and win you a Guldbagge. (Jallo you are still the real winner)

We all know about your knowledge regarding cameras and production but how experienced are you in PingPong?
I know it’s harder than it seems.

Do you have any tips for young people that want to get in the industry?
You have to show yourself on set, big ears, listening, try to be one step ahead and you will be the right one, later on you can decide which way you want to go. You can aim to work as DOP, AC, Sound, Art department, or stay in craft service and do the best catering, the most important thing is not to hurry. I’m one of the few that did not start out as a PA making coffee on set but I still want to taste yours.

Jallo Faber and me in Tallin, cellphone commercial

Sognefjorden in Norway, making a film for the Norwegian soccer union and playing up on a glacier.

Stickan Olsson and Me, Jukkasjärvi 42 celcius below when we arrived to the ice hotel, video for Van Halen 2, 35 cameras running fine despite the cold.

We brought plastic rails from Joson and had to build with sleepers at the hotel for it to work on location.

Tallin, Calle Tersmeden och Musse Hasselwall, Same job as Jallo och me.

Arlanda, TV-show and videos för Marie Fredriksson, Den ständiga resan, stand behind the engine was prohibited apart from me.

Erik Broms and me, could be a shoot for Åhlens

Tulip Crane and me

Music video, Hagalund marshalling yards

Production ” Den ständiga resan” Production: Mekano , DOP Mattias Edwall , DIR Jonas Åkerlund, Producer Lasse Pettersson. Team pic in Tylösand with my Olympus OM-1

Me and Bengan Widell in Lagos, Nigeria, music video for Dr Alban one week shoot

Video for E-Type, this is his mark in the middle of Bromma airport.

Made two music videos in Turkey with DOP:Dir Jocke Sandström, this is at Pamukele, a really cool place.

Wasa crispbread at Riksgränsen, safe with Ocki at the helm.

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