Master class by Johan Renck, director of HBO’s Chernobyl series Back
Date of publication
29.09.2020

Master class by Johan Renck, director of HBO’s Chernobyl series

  • Date:September 19
  • Number of viewers: 230

On September 19, PMHUB hosted a master class by Johan Renck, who directed music videos for global stars (Madonna, Beyoncé, David Bowie), commercials for international brands (Pepsi, H&M, Netflix), and author of TV series such as The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, and Vikings.

During his master class, Johan Renck spoke about his passion for music, the beginning of his career as a music video director, his experience working with commercials, and his first feature film.

WHEN YOU CREATE, IT’S IMPORTANT TO FOLLOW ONLY YOUR FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS. ONLY YOU KNOW WHAT YOU FEEL.

Johan Renck

The director also shared about the filming of "Chernobyl". According to him, the series could be filmed almost entirely in Ukraine if the country had a more favorable taxation system. Renck also noted that Kyiv is a great location for filming, praising local production teams, and locations. Here are the key takeaways from his presentation:

  • I love music more than anything. As a child, he dreamed of becoming a musician, and in the end, the dream came true. I am from Sweden, and our government helped us with money for rehearsals and equipment.
  • I think that music is the best way to express feelings. If you make a film about a person walking from the supermarket, it will turn out badly. But if you add music, you might get something special.
  • I made my first music video for my band, and the budget was about 500 euros. It became a hit on MTV.
  • Shooting ads is more challenging: in many cases, you get a lot of feedback and do-overs from the client, which leads to frustration. I find it hard to listen to other opinions, I tend to lose steam, and that's why I shoot around one ad per year.
  • In the case of Chernobyl, we would love to shoot more in Ukraine: when I arrived here, I found almost all the locations I wanted. But it all came down to high taxes.
  • Filmmaking is a collaborative process. Sometimes I’d like to work as a writer to spend more time alone. But at the same time, it’s a completely different, driving kind of feeling when collaboration propels you to create something noteworthy.
  • When I make my films, I get the most inspiration from books. I’m not inspired by other films, because I don’t want to shoot things that others have done before.

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