In the world of Fredrik Bond, people are always moving — dancing, falling, running — through time and space, with energy and panache.
From his skillfully orchestrated ad spots for Adidas and Heineken to this year’s Super Bowl ad for Budweiser, the Swedish-born director has proven to be a master of the kinetic mini-movie. Now Bond has brought his distinctly lively vision to his feature directorial debut, “The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman,” which premieres at the Sundance Film Festival.
“It’s a wild ride, and that’s what was so fun about it,” Bond says of the film. “There are very few scripts I read where it’s a real bouncy, dynamic ride. That’s why I feel my commercials were a very good training ground for me.”
In the film, produced by Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa (“Little Miss Sunshine”) and backed by Voltage Pictures, Shia LaBeouf plays a young man traveling abroad who falls in love with a Romanian woman, and then finds himself ensnared in Bucharest’s underworld.
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Bond studied filmmaking briefly at NYU’s School of Continuing Education, and got his start in the Swedish entertainment industry, working as an editor and creative assistant. Swedish actor-director Felix Herngren became his most valuable mentor. “One of the things I learned from him was to trust in other’s peoples skills,” says Bond, who now lives in Venice, Calif. “If you hire the right people, you can have a much better overview of the entire project and be more creative.”
Bond’s colleagues praise his creative vision and unifying spirit. “Fredrik is a generous collaborator who skillfully blends humor with distinct imagery and spontaneous energy,” Berger says.
Indeed, whatever form Bond’s next project takes, he says he wants to keep humanity and humor at the forefront, citing inspirations such as the films of Hal Ashby, Martin Scorsese’s “After Hours,” and Tony Bill’s 1980 comic drama “My Bodyguard.”
Bond has been attached to a number of high-profile FX-driven projects over the past few years, including a remake of the South Korean monster movie “The Host,” but he abandoned them for “Charlie.”
“I’ve never really been interested in making a movie just for the visuals,” Bond admits. “As soon as I don’t feel the human drama is coming through enough, or the heart isn’t there in a movie, I fall asleep.”