Tomorrow is the premiere of TPB AFK in Berlin at the Berlinale. I’m not going there (not my kind of scene) but lots of friends are.
I’ve seen the movie a couple of times. Lots of people are asking me for my opinion about it, and I’ve been kind of reluctant. The reason is that I’ve got a split view on it. On the one hand, the movie is great in terms of photography, editing, sound. The experience the viewer gets of the movie is kind of like a thriller. But on the other hand, it’s not my view of the things that actually happened during this period.
The film maker, Simon, who I consider a good friend, and I have different views of what the movie should be. It’s his film though so he makes all the shots. There are lots of scenes in the movie that are… well… edited to be something different than they are. This is all part of making a movie, drama is needed. I’m not happy with all of them, and I don’t like the dark and gloomy view that Simon has of the past years. The editor (whom I’ve never met, so he has no real idea of who I am, just what has been filmed of me) has cut the movie in a way that is very different from what I’ve experienced.
During the past years most of the things we’ve done has been fun. Even the court case(s) has to some extent been filled with humour and playfulness. Today I read some peoples reviews of the movie where one had the view that we went from being confident to being depressed and that we felt that noone cared. There’s no single truth to that. Working with TPB was always filled with enormous support and friendship. Even today, when I go to a place and someone recognises me, they are always happy and tell me stories of how TPB changed their lives to the better.
There are some scenes in the movie that I don’t like at all. One is a scene where I’m seriously sick with the flu, sweating like a pig, but the editing made it look like I’m nervous rather than physically sick. Another is a scene where Fredrik is joking about noone caring about us anymore because the new verdict is not on the frontpage of BBC and CNN. The scene is cut in a way that, combined with the tone of the rest of the movie, it feels like Fredrik really means that. If you know Fredrik you know it’s his way of joking – more actually feeling proud of how much people actually cared. A few minutes later, the verdict was actually on BBCs frontpage, which we were expecting. It’s just how big TPB is and how much people care about it.
I also don’t like what the movie focuses on. It’s focused on the trials, which for me is a really small part of everything. I know that Simon has huuuuuge amounts of film that I’d prefer to have in the movie instead – more focused on happy people, lots of support from people all over the world. But I understand that because of the enormous amount of footage, most has to be cut. And there has to be some focus. Simon and his editor chose the things that I personally would have cut out. It’s not really TPB AFK, it’s TPB – The boring trials.
It’s not that I’m super interesting. Fredrik and Gottfrid are the real stars. I’m way to politically correct (and I’m happy to be just that, I actually care about things and people) to be interesting. More scenes with them and more scenes that has nothing to do with trials and depressing stuff would be more honest (in my view) than the current movie.
Don’t get me wrong. The movie is good. I love the filming, I love some of the scenes in it, for instance when Fredrik says his honest view about me – and I do about him. We’re friends and support eachother, despite not agreeing on a lot of things. I’ve even been on vacations with him all over the world, fighting daily like an old couple. That’s kind of the true story for me, that I would have liked to see more of, if I was one of the viewers.
Of course a lot of people will be interested in the trial part of the thing. But for me, that’s the thing that most people already knew about. And I also do understand that this movie will be “the truth” in what people think about us in the end. And I don’t agree with the view of myself at all in the movie. That is something that is very personal to me, where I feel that either Simon doesn’t know me, or his art goes before portraying me in a way that I recognize. The same probably goes for Fredrik.
I would also like to address some of the recent “discoveries” by the media. A lot of newspapers has reported that they now know that “the founders is exposed in still running the site, even though they’ve said not to do so.” In some scenes, Fredrik is obviously working on some machines that he claims to be TPB. In another scene I explain how I came up with the smart move that TPB should be hosted by The Pirate Party. For me it’s kind of weird saying that I “still” run TPB just because I know the people that do so, and come with a suggestion. I do not control TPB nor The Pirate Party so how could I have made that happen? And Gottfrid really stopped working with TPB ages ago, and nothing in the movie suggests otherwise. The media really has no nuance in their claims. Or as it’s said in sweden, “de drar alla över en kam”.
As you can understand from my post, I have mixed feelings about the movie and the release of it. I still understand that it’s an important piece. If I wanted a movie that I directed, I would have had to make it myself. There’s just this feeling I have sometimes, that my friend Simon has a view of me and my friends that doesn’t fit reality. Is it art or did he misunderstand me? I want my friends to know who I am.