August 2, 2019 Interview – Andréa Winter
Fiercely talented, Andréa Winter is a one-woman tour de force: actress, screenwriter, producer, composer, and the mastermind behind the Electro-Pop music of Baby Yaga. With an acting resume that spans the past seven years, multiple singles to her credit, and a passion for creativity, Winter is building a stellar name for herself both at home in Europe and now across the giant pond in America.
Cementing all of her talents in one, her debut feature-length film offering, the Horror-Comedy Blood Paradise, arrived to DVD and Blu-ray on July 16th. Winter stars in the flick, which she co-wrote alongside Director Patrick von Barkenberg, as well as serving as the producer and composing the film’s score. One might easily say that this was a labor of love for this gifted Swede. In fact, Winter recently sat down to discuss the exceptional film, its inspiration, and much, much more.
Cryptic Rock – Andréa, you are a musician, composer, actress, producer, screenwriter, and so much more. So, tell us, what is there that you cannot do?
Andréa Winter – I wish I could, but I just can’t.
Cryptic Rock – (Laughs) To be serious, what initially inspired you to pursue a career in entertainment?
Andréa Winter – My parents and grandparents would tell me stories about the past, ghosts, and Swedish folklore to entertain the family when I grew up. One of my favorite things to do was to tell these stories to my classmates. My film-making comes from a need to share and entertain people—there’s nothing like hearing an audience laugh or scream while they’re watching your film. I’ve realized that entertaining other people entertains my own soul; it makes me feel like I have a purpose in life.
Cryptic Rock – So, you are a born storyteller—which makes sense as, besides being a talented vocalist, you’ve been acting for roughly seven years now. Do you have a favorite genre to work in or a favorite ‘type’ of character to portray?
Andréa Winter – When it comes to genre, I love both Comedy as well as Horror and I love to mix them. I don’t think I have a favorite type or character. Sometimes I joke with my friends that I have like 17 different personalities living inside me, and I never know how I’m going to be next week. So, I’m excited to explore some new characters that live inside me this coming year.
Cryptic Rock – (Laughs) A creative and very split personality. That actually makes a lot of sense, as you are not just a woman who is talented on-screen, but someone who works behind-the-scenes as well—as a writer and producer. What does your behind-the-scenes work bring to your arsenal as an actress?
Andréa Winter – It’s wonderful to create the character as it’s being written knowing that you’re going to play it. I love that I can take a little piece of me and make a character out of it. I also love that I already know the world so well that I don’t have to do much character development.
Cryptic Rock – So, one facet of your talent feeds the other, leading to even stronger stories. That said, let’s discuss your new film, Blood Paradise. You co-wrote the screenplay, which has a wonderfully ironic sense of humor but still gets gory and goes dark. What inspired the tale?
Andréa Winter – I think life in the north of Sweden inspired it. There is a wonderful sense of humor and mystery there, but sometimes it’s hard for an outsider to understand it. I wanted the audience to experience the dark humor through the perspective of somebody coming there for the first time. Patrick von Barkenberg, the Director, and I were dreaming of making a film in my hometown. One day we woke up and decided it was time: Blood Paradise is the result.
Cryptic Rock – It’s a superb film! Your character Robin is quite the sassy woman: a best-selling author, a stylish fashionista, but never afraid to get herself dirty. When you wrote the screenplay, was it always your intention to portray her in the film? If so, how much of Andréa Winter is present in Robin Richards?
Andréa Winter – It was always my intention to portray her and there’s definitely a little bit of Robin in me, but she’s just one of my 17 different personalities. I never really let “Robin” take charge in my real life and I’m usually much more relaxed than she is—but it all depends on the situation. After we finished shooting Blood Paradise, I dressed like Robin for half a year until I realized it. I had to throw away all her clothes so that I could return to my old self. Now most of her is tucked away deep down in my subconscious.
Cryptic Rock – That’s very intriguing that she lingered in your subconscious for all that time, though. Now, it feels important to note that Robin is a beautiful woman who, in many films, might have been reduced to beauty above substance. Instead, you’ve made her a well-rounded character who is sexy yet still intelligent and powerful. How important was it to establish that distinction?
Andréa Winter – We didn’t even think about that is was important to establish it, we just did. That’s just how we wrote the character: she’s a modern woman with modern problems entering a strange and bizarre world she has to survive.
Cryptic Rock – Indeed, she very much is. To move onto other aspects of the film, your casting is phenomenal. Christer Cavallius is genius in his role and handles the nuances of Hans Bubi’s character perfectly, and having Director Patrick von Barkenberg as Robin’s somewhat fumbling boytoy was quite a humorous choice—and he is hysterical in the role. So, with all of this said, how did you go about assembling your cast?
Andréa Winter – Christer was already cast as the role of Hans Bubi before we even started writing. We just knew he’d do a great job with that role. He has a natural sense of comedy and we knew that he was going to be able to bring what we needed for the role. The funny thing is that when it comes to Patrick, we didn’t write the role for him at all. But we had a hard time finding a character who could play Robin’s “boytoy.” I really wanted that character to have long hair, so I pushed really hard for Patrick to play the character. Finally he gave in.
Cryptic Rock – It’s good that you won, because Patrick is brilliant in the role. Now, you make a very interesting choice in the film to forego subtitles, though there are several scenes that are entirely in Swedish. Obviously, even those of us who do not speak the language can understand the gist of what is happening, but why did you opt to simply not utilize subtitles? Was this more of an artistic choice or merely to avoid the stigma that some close-minded individuals place on films with subtitles?
Andréa Winter – The film can be seen with or without subtitles. We didn’t want to burn them into the film because we wanted the audience to have to choose to see it with or without. Sometimes I believe it’s even scarier not to understand what the character of Rolf is saying, because that’s how it would have felt like if you are in that situation and can’t speak English.
Cryptic Rock – That is a great point, actually. It adds more mystery to the film-going experience. So, it also seems like we should discuss the amazingly beautiful and artistically-shot ending to the film. Whose idea was it to include that final sequence with the flock of sheep and the sunset, and how long did it take you to get that shot just right?
Andréa Winter – I think me and Patrick spent around seven days on the fields to get that shot. The whole crew had left by then, so the funny thing is that it was actually me who captured it. Patrick walked away to get his backpack down the hill, and while I was waiting for him I put the camera in position towards the sun, laid out the page in the grass, pressed play to see how it would look, and suddenly, like magic, the sheep came into the shot. I couldn’t believe that it was so perfectly framed. Sometimes in life there are miracles, this was one of them.
Cryptic Rock – That’s amazing and what luck you have! Besides being entertained, what do you hope audiences take away from the experience?
Andréa Winter – I hope that it inspires them to create art and make movies in their own way. Blood Paradise is made with love: we made this movie exactly the way we wanted to make it.
Cryptic Rock – It’s a wonderful film and very inspiring. That said, would you allow art to imitate art and make an actual “Return to Blood Paradise”?
Andréa Winter – You never know. Me and Patrick joke about it sometimes. We just went location scouting in Italy for our next film and started to make jokes about “Return to Blood Paradise starring Robin Richards.” But I think we are ready to let her go and create something new.
Cryptic Rock – That is perfectly understandable, though she is a great character. Now, not to overlook this fact, with Blood Paradise you are also the composer of the film’s score. What was it like for you, as an artist, to be able to combine your music with your film-making?
Andréa Winter – That was one of the most fantastic experiences: to be able to compose music to your own story is like telling the story again through music. I’d happily do it again.
Cryptic Rock – What’s next from you, artistically speaking?
Andréa Winter – We are working on a couple of different things right now. One project that we have in development is a TV show about witches and folklore, another is a Horror film set in Berlin and Italy. I’m super excited about that one because it’ll be our next feature film and we are planning on shooting it in the fall of 2019 or in the spring 2020.
Cryptic Rock – Well, we already can’t wait to see the results. Last question. At Cryptic Rock, we cover music as well as films, particularly Horror and Sci-Fi. It would seem that you are a fan of Horror, but are you also a fan of Science Fiction? If so, what are some of your favorite Horror and/or Sci-Fi films?
Andréa Winter – I am a huge Stanley Kubrick fan, so The Shining (1980) is my absolute favorite Horror film and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is my favorite Sci-Fi. Some of my other favorite Horror and Sci-Fi movies include Alien (1979), Blade Runner (1982), Mad Max (1979), Dressed to Kill (1980), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), Suspiria (1977), Psycho (1960), The Exorcist (1973), The Devils (1971), The Lair of the White Worm (1988). I know, I’m a little bit of a vintage film fanatic. (Laughs)
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