©Ralf Uhler-EFP

Karin Franz Körlof

Prior to graduating from Stockholm’s Academy of Dramatic Arts in 2015, Karin Franz Körlof had already acted in various films, TV productions and theater plays including the lead role in critically acclaimed TV series “Blue Eyes” and a supporting role in “Wallander: The Betrayal”. Franz Körlof became a householed name with her portrayal of Lydia in Pernilla August’s “A Serious Game” and was recently nominated for a Swedish Gulbagge Award for Best Leading Actress. She will soon be seen in the lead role in Olof Spaak’s debut film, “Garden Lane” and has recently finished shooting “The Wife”, directed by Björn Runge.

Tara Karajica spoke to her about her acting career, being a Shooting Star, her work with Pernilla August, Scandinavian Film and women in the film industry as well as her upcoming projects.


How did you get into acting?

Karin Franz Körlof: I was actually joining a friend for an audition for a part in a film – as company for her. When I came there, they asked me if I wanted to audition and I said: “No, I don’t want to do that.” But, they kind of persuaded me. Then, I got a call back and, eventually, I got the part. It was fun working with them on the film. I got a great response from the people who saw it and they were like: “Yeah! You should definitely continue acting.” I didn’t really think about it. I was just like: “OK, maybe…” and it went the way it went…

Can you talk about A Serious Game and how it was working with Pernilla August who is also an actress?

K.F.K.: It was lovely working with Pernilla. She’s an actor herself and you can really tell that she works in a different way than most directors do because, for her, acting is an essential part of filmmaking. If the acting doesn’t work, the whole thing is going to fall apart. And, you can also tell by the way she chooses her cinematographers because Erik Molberg Hansen, the D.o.P on A Serious Game, was always following you – he didn’t give you a mark or said: “Walk to this mark and then turn left, look that way” because he was like: “I don’t know what is happening; I don’t know what the actors are doing, so we’ll see…” It’s an adventure. Every take is different and I think that’s the way Pernilla wants to work because she knows what it is like to be on the other side of the camera and how easy it is to strangle that sort of creative side. If someone gives you too much direction, you can lose the whole feel of the scene because you think about pleasing the director instead of acting the scene and being with your fellow actor. It was a wonderful experience.

What do you think Shooting Stars means for your career and how do you think it will affect it?

K.F.K.: It’s so hard to say if it will affect my career! But, hopefully… We met a lot of casting directors yesterday. Obviously, it’s a platform, because it’s a lot about that: getting people to know who you are. I think that there are probably billions of actors out there who are ten times better than me – than all of us – and, if you’re not shown, people don’t know who you are. It’s impossible to hire you, to give you a part. So, that’s a lot what it is about, getting a platform and letting people know who you are. So, I’m very grateful for that. I think I have better opportunities thanks to Shooting Stars. But, then again, you never know…

You’re also on TV. How different it is for you? Can we also talk about the TV boom in Scandinavia, especially the Nordic Noir that is extremely popular nowadays?

K.F.K.: Yes, I know! Well, what can I say? I just hope that the film industry won’t die because of TV. There’s a whole other way of telling stories through films and through television. But, I’m a pro-film person…

It’s not just about gender, it’s about storytelling too and not making films in a very conventional way.

The Scandinavian film industry is so strong today. How do you see the Swedish input and where do you position yourself in it?

K.F.K.: That’s a hard question. I don’t take anything for granted. Sweden is quite a small country and it’s a very hard industry. Obviously, you have to make a living and money to be able to pay your rent, but you can only play so many roles. You have to look outside your own country to be able to have a long lasting career. I do theater as well so it’s about combining work. And, I am also a director.

I know! I wanted to ask you about your short films…

K.F.K.: I don’t really get creatively stimulated just being an actor, so I’ve always been writing since I was very small. I’m writing scripts, poems and a diary and all kinds of different stuff.

What is your take on women in the film industry? There is a lot of talk about that now, especially in the U.S., but in Sweden, there is the 50-50 initiative…

K.F.K.: The Swedish Film Institute has a 50-50 goal and wants to fund 50% female and 50% male films, so it’s a great goal! But, I also think it’s very important to widen that aspect. It’s not just about gender, it’s about storytelling too and not making films in a very conventional way. We need to be creative in all different kinds of ways but, obviously, there’s been a lack of women in the film industry in Sweden and all over the world. Let’s hope it turns out as a creative side of the film industry instead of having only female directors – that we actually see new stories, new ways of telling them; maybe not even a story, maybe something poetic, something completely different. I think that’s what culture and art are about.

You’ve done The Wife by Björn Runge and Olof Spaak’s Garden Lane. What are your next projects?

K.F.K.: Well, these are films that are going to premiere in 2017. Apart from that, I’m working on my own feature film.

Are you going to also direct it or you are just writing it?

K.F.K.: I’m writing and directing it. Not acting in it!


This interview was conducted at the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival. 

Tara Karajica

Tara Karajica is a Belgrade-based film critic and journalist. Her writings have appeared in "Indiewire," "Screen International," "Variety," "Little White Lies" and "Film New Europe," among many other media outlets, including the European Film Academy’s online magazine, "Close-up" and Eurimages. She is a member of the European Film Academy, the Online Film Critics Society and the Alliance of Women Film Journalists as well as the recipient of the 2014 Best Critic Award at the Altcine Action! Film Festival. In September 2016, she founded "Yellow Bread," a magazine dedicated entirely to short films, ranked among the 25 Top Short Film Blogs and Websites on the Planet in 2017. In February 2018, she launched "Fade to Her," a magazine about successful women working in Film and TV and in 2019, she was a member of the Jury of the European Shooting Stars (European Film Promotion). She is currently a programmer for live action shorts at PÖFF Shorts, Head of the Short Film Program and Live Action Shorts programmer at SEEFest and Narrative Features Programmer at the Durban International Film Festival. Tara is a regular at film festivals as a film critic, moderator and/or jury member.

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