Shooting from the Hip

ONE TO WATCH. Kaspar Astrup Schröder has had two films shown at IDFA, "My Playground" and "The Invention of Dr Nakamats". Both reflect a few truths about their creator: Schröder has the explosive energy of a parkour runner and the creative ingenuity of the Japanese patent holder Dr Nakamats. Meet a multi-talent who is finishing a new film from Japan and whose work ethic seems to be: Just go ahead and do it!

artist, photographer, composer, designer, filmmaker – take your pick. Kaspar Astrup Schröder is happy to wear many hats. Audiences at international festivals will know the 32-year-old multi-talented director for his first two films, which were both selected for IDFA: "The Invention of Dr Nakamats", about the eccentric Japanese inventor who is the father of the floppy disk and holds at least 3,500 other patents, and "My Playground", which chronicles the urban pheno-menon of parkour.

"It's awesome when people like what you do. Thats why i do it."

"It's awesome when people like what you do. Thats why i do it."

"My method is very 'shoot from the hip,'" Schröder says. "When I get an idea, I just want to go ahead and do it. The research and financing can be worked out later. The worst thing that can happen is losing your drive and talking and thinking things to death. Perhaps that's why I do so many things myself. I produce, direct, shoot, do the graphics, colour grade and co-edit most of my own films. It’s not that I think someone else couldn't do it just as well. It's just that some things are fun to do yourself."

Kaspar Astrup Schröder

Born 1979, Denmark. Self-taught visual artist, photographer, composer, designer and director. His first two films, "The Invention of Dr Nakamats" (2009) and "My Playground" (2010), were both selected for IDFA. Releases in 2012 include the children's documentary "Mine Mine and I Want to Cheer You Up Ltd.", produced by Mette Heide for Plus Pictures.


"Dr Nakamats" grew out of Schröder's longstanding fascination with Japan, where he has travelled widely. His next film, which was selected for IDFA Forum last year, feeds on the same fascination. 

"The film is called 'I Want to Cheer You Up Ltd' and is about a company that rents out family members. In Japan, it's a big deal to have an equal number of people from both families attend a wedding. In the film a woman is about to be married but has never told her soon-to-be husband that she has no family, so she hires every actor at the company to play her family. Many hilarious situations ensue, of course. In fact, it's really difficult to make a film that's about keeping secrets."

"'I Want to Cheer You Up Ltd' was supposed to have been finished this year but had to be postponed because of the tsunami and the earthquake. But we – my producer Mette Heide and I – will have it done by summer. We're considering turning it into a fiction film as well, because the whole setup has so much built-in drama and comedy."

One-man Crew 

Earlier this year, the director became a father for the second time. His short film "Mine Mine" is a documentary for the youngest audiences about becoming a big brother and having to share the world with a newcomer. The protagonist is his own son Storm. Acting as his favourite own one-man crew, Schröder enjoyed being able to do it all himself. "It was great to be able to roll when I got a good scene. So I didn't have to call up a photographer in the middle of the night and say, Storm is crying, can you be here in one second?"

Schröder has a record coming out in December and a show of his paintings in Japan. Still, the director says, he doesn't have time for so many different things anymore now that he has children.

"Before, I could work evenings and nights. People used to ask me, how many hours do you have in a day?" 

Schröder likes to keep a ball or two in the air, so he always has something new for his audience. "It's awesome when people like what you do. That's why I do it."