Five Years of Film Production at KANPer and Sebastian tell you about how it all started

Half a decade has passed since the production company CR Film, with cinematographer Per Slagbrand and director Sebastian Brännström, joined us. Since then, they have successfully built up a team of film production experts, perfecting our full-service offering in digital communication and marketing. We sat down and talked to Per and Sebastian about how it all began, what life is like at KAN, and the future.

When Per and Sebastian sit down in the Cherry meeting room, they come straight from the film team’s weekly meeting. “We usually start by just hearing how everyone is doing and how their weekend was. Then we look at what’s happening this upcoming week, which projects we’re working on, and if there’s anything everyone needs to know,” says Per.

And coordination is needed – since the guys, who met when they were students at Malmö University, were recruited to KAN to drive the development of the film team, seven new colleagues have joined. Today, the team consists of eleven people.

“KAN came to us and said they saw an increased demand for film and moving images. We already knew Anna and Helen (the People & Culture managers at KAN) a little already, so they knew who we were and thought we would be a good fit for KAN,” says Sebastian.

Completely New, but Not Really

Back then, five years ago, Per and Sebastian felt they were in a good place with CR Film. But becoming part of something bigger would offer more opportunities to, in addition to more time for creative filmmaking, further develop concepts in other formats, like social media and photography, thereby getting more out of film production with strategic support.

But what was this bigger context, KAN?

“We didn’t actually know much about KAN. We had a beer there at some event once, but that was about it. So, since we were so happy doing our own thing, it was important that the next step felt right if we were going to become part of something else. Our experience was that the agency world isn’t always the kindest, with a lot of elbowing and unnecessary internal prestige,’ says Per.

Per and Sebastian asked around about the agency and also talked a lot with KAN before making the decision. But almost right away, it felt just as right as it needed to for them to take the step. And indeed, their feeling was confirmed again when they walked through the door at Stortorget in Malmö.

“The idea of ‘Working With Friends’ was already well-established in the organization five years ago, and our impression from our first day at the office was that everyone embodied it. No one seemed to need to beat their chest or elbow their way through. We could identify with that and really liked it,” says Sebastian. “At the same time,” Per adds, “we have always worked hard to take CR Film where we wanted, and to come into a context with equally ambitious colleagues felt great.”

Social Overload and Liberated Filmmaking

When asked about the most significant adjustment they needed to make when going from operating as their own company to becoming part of KAN, both Per and Sebastian repeatedly mention the difference in size, people-wise. “The social aspect was quite a big adjustment. When we went from being just a few to many, there was naturally a significant increase in socializing. The first period took a lot of energy, partly because we were getting to know everyone and partly because we obviously wanted to prove that we could contribute something to the company,” says Sebastian.

“But as we mentioned earlier,” Per continues, “the context was so supportive and the atmosphere so welcoming that we quickly felt like a natural part of KAN.”

Being part of a larger context also meant a new level of planning, which Per and Sebastian say tended to be a bit ad-hoc as entrepreneurs. That transition took a while, but now they see great value in it.

“When you are a smaller company, it can be very stressful, and you can dread getting sick. Here, we can spread out the responsibility and find solutions. And I have actually started to see planning as a bit of a lifesaver, allowing me not to work much more than I should,” says Per.

When asked if Per or Sebastian have experienced anything at KAN that divides time into a before and after, something particularly memorable, it’s not a specific event or situation they settle on. “A big thing for me is that KAN really gives us the conditions we need to give 100%. We have the technical support, but also colleagues from other teams who can help with storytelling and concepts. Having access to good technology and competent people to bounce ideas off of, I dare say, is something most people working with film dream about,” says Sebastian. “Yes, it has become a type of liberation within our area of work. Gone are the things that worked against us, and instead, we have all the support we need to make great films, like production managers who organize projects so that it doesn’t all fall on the creators,” says Per.”

Well-being, Efficiency, and Trend Sensitivity

Moving forward, Per and Sebastian aim to make the structure and processes they have set up for the film team even more efficient. But they also want to ensure that the team is well and cares for each other.

“It’s so easy to just keep going and feel that you can handle everything, only to really just take the hit later. We want to focus even more on aspects concerning health and well-being, both for our own sake and to be able to deliver really good productions in our customer collaborations,” says Per.

They also emphasize the importance of continuing to be responsive to trends to find new ways forward. “Even though we are quite large and have the capacity to do advanced productions, we see that there can be great value in doing the simple stuff. Like just throwing the camera on your shoulder and start filming. We believe that content that feels real, and not so directed, will become more and more popular,” says Sebastian.

After we have talked for a while, the conversation naturally comes to an end: on the table, their phones light up and start to vibrate. The first order of business discussed in the weekly meeting seems to have arrived. Thanks for the chat and the years, guys! Looking forward to many more.

Are you curious to see what a film project can look like?
Read our case about how we created film and cinemagraphs for Orrefors and KostaBoda here.

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