A talk with our visual director Emilie Thalund

After achieving a master in Art and Architecture Emilie Thalund entered the film industry as a director, taking on topics such as body image and female narratives. Besides working as a director and a visual artist, she is proudly DUSK's visual director. 

Who are your feminist muses? 
Aw, there are so many! Activists, artists and writers that I admire and it’s hard to pick one over another. I’m very much aware of all the people who walked and fought before me and my generation, and on whose shoulders we are standing today. I was brought up among strong, feminist women, so on a personal level I would say my mother, grandmother and my sister. They have showed me activism and everyday feminism in each their way and tought me early on about equal rights, how to be an ally and that the personal is politic

You're known for making films around female narratives - why is it important for you to make this gaze?
The importance of representation is indisputable - we all need narratives we can mirror ourselves in. Womxn’s issues and narratives are very important to me and I think in general - in film, art, the education system, the media etc. - there is much under-representation of women's lives and history and hence an exciting potential for creating versatile portraits of women's lives and voices. It’s a very powerful and exciting time to create.

What's the best advice you ever got from your mom?
Eat breakfast, make your own money and never make your self smaller than you are - meaning - you are allowed to take up space.

You made the famous short film about periods. Why making a film about periods in the first place?
I still clearly remember the first time I got my period. I was 12 years old and cried for 6 hours straight. I somehow knew everything would change. I grew up in a privileged part of the world, among progressive, wise women, including an older sister, who celebrated her period with a small party, and yet I was sure that this “thing” was something dirty, something I had to keep for myself. So on that special day, I didn’t feel empowered, curious or anything like that, I just felt like my world and my body as I knew it was crumbling. It resulted in me keeping it to myself, I tried to hide it and lie about it, which was quite lonely and made me feel detached and awkward towards my own body and in a sense also my femininity and sexuality.

I knew this might have had something to do with the friends I had at the time, the way our school nurse had taught us how to hide a tampon in our sleeve, so the boys wouldn’t notice, but maybe also that I never really saw periods anywhere else than in my own private space. Which is probably also where a lot of people would argue it belongs. But growing up never hearing people talking about it in public space, besides seeing commercials with women in white dresses running in flower fields, blue liquid as blood, and pink packaging saying “secret!”, “discrete!” or “delicate scent”, it didn’t really feel like something I could identify with and only confirmed me that periods were something to hide. So in a way, you could say this was a film to my 12-year-old self. 

2020 has been kinda of a crazy year. But if we put all the negative framing away - how did 2020 shaped the world in a good way?
What a year. In general, it feels like there’s been a greater sense of community, solidarity and taking care of each other. People have been more locally orientated, supporting smaller businesses, looking out for their neighbors. Our planet and climate got a minute to breathe. Racism, inequality and abuse of power was put on the global agenda, which, finally, forced people - including myself - to have a deeper look inside and to educate ourselves. 2020 made us more aware of what’s happening all over the world, including in our own communities and neighborhoods, and that we, especially the white and privileged, got a lot of work to do.

Your best self-care advice for 2021?
Sleep, reading and swimming work for me.