After witnessing workplace violence, Carsten must defend a younger co-worker from their boss, Ronni, and find the energy to express himself through fine art.

Creative team

Writers: Glenn Diehl, Einar Siggi Bjarnason
Director: Glenn Diehl
Producer: Malthe Friis Glavind

Filmmaker’s statement

After high school I got a job on a high-rise construction site. Although the tower only rose 26 floors up – nothing compared to the skyscrapers next to it – you could still clearly see the rocky mountains to the west of the city sprawl.

But besides the view and the money, the job was a dead-end. I saw it on the faces around me. Most of the workers were the same: chain-smoking, middle-aged white males with a rather vulgar vocabulary. During breaks they would feverishly discuss women while flipping through truck accessory magazines.

But there were a few quieter characters that caught my interest. Tall and ghostly men who haunted the floors mindlessly, lifelessly moving up and down the floors adamant on their job, but looking for nothing. Dragging their feet and walking from their hips, you always heard them coming.

Years of service in the blue-collar industry had sucked out their souls and replaced them with hammers and nails. I tried to imagine where these men came from. Do they just give up? Or are they just unlucky? They must have some story; they must have once had something to believe in.

We used these men as references when building Carsten’s character, elaborating by adding some details and an ironic interest in fine art that directly conflicts with his job as a house painter. This ironic contrast was the central conflict that the actor and I explored through the shooting period: creation versus destruction, artistry versus industry.

Production totalled about four weeks, from the first draft to the final screening at the European Film College. I’m sure that many other filmmakers can agree that such strict parameters can make a much better film. We only had the equipment for 72 hours so the 12-page script had to be done in a hurry. The crew pulled their weight and dealt with my pickiness to the very end. I couldn’t have done it alone.

About Glenn Diehl

Glenn Diehl

As a new graduate of the European Film College, Canadian filmmaker Glenn Diehl is sure to develop a unique voice and style in the coming years.

Early influence from freeskiing films has refined his eye for beauty in the natural environment, but he is now adamant about telling stories that explore complex characters, present relative concepts and evoke poignant emotions.

Painterbrain is his narrative short-film debut. Glenn is based in Calgary.

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