You might be wondering what it means to get sweded. Or, more accurately, what is a “sweded film?”
The Sweded Film is Born
It all started with a quirky and fantastic comedy, Be Kind Rewind, that spawned a whole new genre of short filmmaking. As a former Blockbuster employee, this film holds a special place in my heart. In the movie, [SPOILERS!!] Mos Def’s character is left in charge of an ailing video rental store, and accidentally erases all of the films in the movie store. He and his friend (played by Jack Black) hatch a plan to recreate all of the ruined videotapes, and in the process create a cult following for the remakes that may just save the store after all! These “remakes” that Mos Def and Jack Black create are very low budget, with the two of them (and limited additional actors) playing the different roles in films like Ghostbusters, Rush Hour, and King Kong, with highly impressive and inventive practical effects, and no post-production. To explain these kooky remakes, the characters claimed the movies were from Sweden, and thus, the “sweded film” genre was born.
What makes a film sweded?
Browse YouTube for sweded films of your favorite movies, and you will see a wide array of short films by filmmakers and fans from around the world. Though varied, they all share similar qualities, which makes them “sweded.”
First and foremost, the movies are amateur remakes of popular movies. This means no renting period piece costumes or giant spaceships. Instead, you create costumes and props and sets out of what you have. So, for us, when we needed a police officer in our film, we didn’t rent a cop costume, but instead used what we had to convey that the character was a cop. In this case, a Slytherin Head Girl badge (hey, it’s at least official looking).
Along the same lines, practical effects are used in place of post-production special effects. In other words, no CGI. This has lead to some seriously creative and artistically genius sweded films for movies like Jurassic Park and Pacific Rim.
The sound effects are similarly practical (foot stomping or “bang bang” for gunshots), and the music is hummed in a very distinct way by the actors off screen. This was by far my favorite part of creating our swede of John Wick.
Fourth, the sweded film will be much much shorter than the original. So the epic three hour King Kong gets parsed down to roughly five minutes as a sweded film. This means you don’t always get a full complete narrative, but instead hit the high points and important moments (or memorable quotes and scenes) from the movie. It plays more like a trailer than a short film because it can feel disjointed if you have to move through several different scenes quickly.
Finally, and while it may not necessarily be a requirement, given the above recipe for a sweded film, they tend to be just a bit ridiculous, and generally pretty freaking funny.
See Pittsburgh Sweded Films
On March 17, 2017, Row House Cinema is showing Be Kind Rewind. To commemorate the cult of sweded films that erupted from Be Kind Rewind, Row House is hosting a Pittsburgh Sweded Short Film Festival. Filmmakers grabbed a camera, made a sweded film, and submitted it to Row House Cinema. Before the showing of Be Kind Rewind, Row House will be showing the local sweded films. Naturally, we had to get in on this. So if you want to grab some popcorn, a tasty beer from Bierport, and watch some homegrown sweded awesomeness, check out the Pittsburgh Sweded Short Film Festival at Row House on March 17, 2017. You’ll even see yours truly on the screen (and behind the camera).
Cinebard Films, LLC. is a Pittsburgh-based videography company that loves to tell stories: big stories, small stories, funny stories, and ridiculous creative stories. We’re passionate and dedicated to our craft, and no matter what story you want to tell, we can help you bring it to life. Contact us to tell your story!