Director Fredrik Gertten unveiled his FOCUS FORWARD short film, The Invisible Bicycle Helmet, last month at the Melbourne International Film Festival for the city’s festival going audiences, and online at this website shortly after its world premiere. Within days, it had received over 1 million views at VIMEO, spurring thousands of comments, shout-outs, and editorials, and has since crossed the 2 million mark.
The film introduces two young female entrepreneurs from Sweden who wanted to change the world by creating a revolution in 21st century design for everyday cyclists. They were told their idea would be impossible to execute, not just due to the improbability of the project, but because it was unlikely that two women could successfully engineer something so technical. (See the film yourself here to see where the story goes.)
Since going viral, Gertten’s film has garnered coverage by major media outlets such as ABC News, CNN, Tech Crunch, Forbes, Mother Jones, and Adweek, and was one of the top links at ReddIt for nearly a week.
We sat down with Mr. Gertten to learn more about about how this Internet sensation came to be.
FF: You’ve had an exciting couple of weeks with your film going viral. Did you expect such a great response from the film? What do you think it was that made it such a success?
Fredrik Gertten: How can you ever expect success? That would be arrogant. I think the film travels because it presents two amazing designers who proved to the world that they could think outside the box.
FF: How did you find Hövding, the invisible helmet?
FG: I live in Malmö, Sweden–like the designers–so people here have heard of their invention. And quite soon I found out that we had mutual friends. It helped when I was trying to convince them to take part in my film. First they were really hesitant–they saw me as someone who was taking on corporations.
FF: Do you ride a bicycle?
FG: I ride a bicycle every day, all year round. Rain, snow, hot summers, storms, tornados, too much beer–nothing stops me from moving around on my bike. Malmö is a great bike city, it’s had city planning for bikes for the last 60 years. My bike is like a musical instrument, I express myself with it. Without it I am not really myself.
FF: Using three words: express how you felt when your video hit a million views.
FG: Happy, proud, curious (I wondered if we would actually hit a million views).
FF: Please name three things that inspire you.
FG: Bicycles, free speech, independent minds.
Have your own short film or big idea? Submit to our Filmmaker Competition (extended deadline is Oct. 7th) here.
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