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Interview with Felix Swahn

Felix Swahn was born in Karlskrona 1993. He studied experiemental film and animation at AnimationsAkademien 2014-2016. He studied comics at Skarpnäck Folkhögskola 2016-2017. His illustrations and texts are published in magazines such as: 8-sidor, Intra, Ögonblick, Special Pedagogik. He has had 3 personal exhibitions and he has illustrated different books poetry, novels and children books. 2018-2020 He worked as an animator for two Architecture offices doing animation film for project presentations. Felix has studied Advanced 2D-animation at CG-Spectrum. Felix was born with Autism, he started to talk when he was five but he started to draw when he was two years old. He has many stories he wants to tell the world that needs to be told.

Felix Swahn

What inspired you to make this project?

I wanted to tell a story about how it is to be different from my perspective, how it is to be a human being from my point of view and that alienation can be overcome. Many says that the dog is human beings’ best friend but I want people to think that autistic people are the human beings` best friend instead of seeing autism as a problem. What are your biggest influences in filmmaking?

I grew up with 2D animated Disney classics and then Hayao Miyazaki of course. Tim Burton is my polar star and I am fascinated by Stanley Kubrick. What are the biggest challenges you have faced as a filmmaker in your country?

Sweden is a small country. The entertainment industry is very attractive and the competition huge. It´s hard to get a job.

As a filmmaker, I need to do a lot of really good stuff to prove myself and it takes much time. One has to have a lot of patience and discipline, it’s challenging.

Being A Dog

What references did you use for the writing and production of your film?

I wanted to make “Being a dog” look a bit like Alan Moore’s ”The Killing Joke”, Frank Miller’s ”Sin City”, Eeichiro Odas Manga series ”One Piece” and Tim Burtons artwork.

Do you have new projects planned to be produced and/or released soon?

I’m working on different commissions.

I´ve just finished a music video about that fear can be overcome. This video will be released in September.

I did a commission about communication for a habilitation company. Currently I´m developing that animation into a short movie. It´s about two cats, one is extrovert and the other one is introvert, together they are facing obstacles and help each other in order to solve their short comings.

I have written an autobiography about my first 20 years. It`s a work-in-progress and maybe I´ll make a feature movie out of it. It’s about how difficult a life can be and how difficult growing up is but there is always hope for a good life in the future.

Being A Dog

How do you see the current situation of animation?

Many are using 3D animation. Very much of the gaming and film industry are using 3D animation more than 2D animation. It’s a growing market.

When it comes to 2D animation, streaming sites such as Netflix are starting to produce shows in 2D more and more. I guess this is for economical reasons. I find 2D animation more charming than 3D animation so I´m happy.

When did you get the desire to animate your drawings?

I have always drawn and I`ve been telling comic strip stories forever. In Sweden You´re supposed to make a thesis project the last year in high school. I did a short movie with cut out technique. I didn´t have software for anything else.

From that point on my drawings started to move.

We see art as very present in your life, can you tell us about the importance of artistic expression for you?

Well I was born with a neuropsychiatric diagnosis Autism. I started to talk when I was five years old but I started to draw when I was two. Drawing is my mother language and for me the moving images are the strongest communication, even bigger than the verbal language. It went faster for other people to understand me when I express myself with pictures than words. Many of my early comic strips had different super heros that were my alter egos. Drawing is my identity. It defines me.

Felix Swahn

Like Tim, many of us feel out of place in society, what would you say to these people?

It is hard to live and it is painful to grow up for everybody, I think.

One cannot change the past. If there is something you want to change, something you wish could have been better while growing up. Tell your story! Maybe your story will change the world, maybe things can get better for anybody else right now or in the future.

Even if you feel sad right now, there is always hope to live a better life in the future. Think of something that makes you happy.

I want to give hope. There is a meaning for everyone. What are the necessary steps that need to be taken for the greater inclusion of neuroatypical people?

That more people believe in the inclusion of neuroatypical people in the society. Respectful treatment, a lot of patience and tolerance among people is needed as well.

I think the neuroatypical person needs to have a fighting spirit in order to live a good life. To be able to develop that fighting spirit we need help from the neurotypicals. Inclusion is an invitation to a shared life.

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