Following her stint in Berlinale Series’ competition with “The Architect,” a Norwegian Viaplay limited series set in the near future, Kerren Lumer-Klabbers will focus on a feature film next, which has the working title of “School of Women.”
The project, produced by Søs Thøstesen, will be inspired by her own life, admits the filmmaker. Or rather, the lives of her two mothers.
“They met thanks to the Women’s Liberation Movement in Denmark. One of my mothers grew up in a conservative family, where a woman was supposed to be seen, not heard. The word ‘lesbian’ wasn’t even a part of the vocabulary. She spent her whole life trying to liberate herself from that upbringing,” she said.
Lumer-Klabbers has been busy interviewing women who were a part of the Movement. Including her mothers.
“I told them they can’t say anything wrong and that it’s not about ‘entertaining’ me. I want them to tell their story. I think people don’t know enough about their parents. It’s a great way to change that.”
While she sees “School of Women” as an “important, personal movie,” she also intends to keep things humorous.
“I always bring humor into my projects. Preferably, the awkward kind. I can relate to awkward characters. Most people can,” she stated.
That includes “The Architect” too, in which thirtysomething Julie lives in a car-free Oslo. With the housing market in disarray and unable to pay her rent, she must find another place to stay: In a parking garage.
The four-episode show, written by Nora Landsrød and Kristian Kilde, was one of the winners at the Viaplay Original Talent Awards. It’s produced by Øyvind Lierhagen Eriksen and Caroline Hitland for Nordisk Film Production and set to air later this spring.
“There is some hope [in the show]. You need it in order to make people think and maybe do something about the future. Because some of these tendencies are already here,” she said.
Including the worsening housing crisis, which inspired the writers.
“When Nora was looking for an apartment in Oslo, the only thing she and her boyfriend could afford was a parking lot. They could buy that. It’s a very relatable issue to everyone I know, myself included. I have friends who still live at their parents’ place, while having a full-time job, trying to save money for a down payment.”
Executive producer Isak Eymundsson added: “‘The Architect’ stood out among several great ideas that were submitted for the Viaplay Talent Award. We were captivated by its sharp satirical view on the housing market that has gone completely off the rails.”
“We got lucky with this project. We could do things differently, because you don’t normally have that much creative freedom. I am so glad that Viaplay trusted us,” notes Lumer-Klabbers. She wouldn’t be opposed to continuing the story, she said.
“It could be fun. My graduation film [“Papapa”] was also a futuristic sci-fi. The future is interesting: It’s a way to exaggerate what you see today.”
Julie – played by Eili Harboe, also spotted in Joachim Trier’s “Thelma” – needs to make some questionable choices in the show, in order to advance her career and improve her living conditions. But that only makes her more interesting, stated the director.
“I really relate to her. I am very career-oriented and I have sacrificed a lot to be able to do this. I like to see female characters, or characters in general, who are flawed and have weaknesses. And make selfish choices, like we all do,” she said
“All these protagonists, in ‘The Architect’ and in the [upcoming] film, are products of their society. It can be hard to free yourself from it, but my mothers also reminded me that it’s possible to make an impact. It’s necessary, actually – otherwise we will all end up like the people in ‘The Architect.’”