Sweding is a new genre of fan parodies of popular blockbusters (or trailers). Here everyone can try their hand at being a film director and get millions of views: you don’t need a big budget or a high-profile promotional campaign. Creators are free to use every means they have from cardboard scenery to handmade costumes – it is a real feast of imagination. In this article, we bring you the story of how low-budget parodies of famous movies found their own niche.
It all started with a not-very-successful Hollywood film. In 2008, the French director Michel Gondry, best known as the creator of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, released Be Kind Rewind. The film is centered around two friends: Mike (Mos Def), who works in a seedy video rental store, and Jerry (Jack Black), who does odd jobs at a nearby junkyard. Jerry is also obsessed with the idea that the local power plant is melting his brain. After failing to get the power plant closed down, Jerry gets his brain magnetized – and accidentally erases all the VHS tapes in the rental store. To save the business, the friends come up with the radical idea of reshooting the movies. Over time, the reshot movies gain a more enthusiastic following from the audience than the originals.
The term sweding originated in this movie. To buy the time needed for shooting their versions of the lost films, Mike and Jerry would assure their customers that they were ordering tapes from Sweden. So sweded movies is a play on Swedish movies.
The promotion campaign for Be Kind Rewind involved the creation of a YouTube channel, which used the slogan “If You Love It, Swede It!” The channel features DIY versions of films Boyz n the Hood, RoboCop and Ghostbusters.
Despite the fact that the film’s box office revenues in the United States amounted to just 11 million dollars, which didn’t even cover the budget, it was a raving success on the internet. Sweded versions of movies created by fans began to appear, attracting hundreds of thousands of views. They even gave rise to swede fests, which popped up in almost every US state.
All sweded films have to meet the following requirements:
In reality, the creators of Be Kind Rewind were not true pioneers of the amateur parody. Gondry was even accused of plagiarism for allegedly stealing the idea from The Amanda Show TV series, which ran from 1999 to 2002. The show included an episode with a similar plot. Another earlier example dates back to 2003, when teenagers Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala and Jayson Lab made a frame-by-frame reshoot of Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark, which took them seven years. Nevertheless, the wide popularity of sweding and waves of fan-made remakes still owes much to Michel Gondry’s comedy.
Creators of YouTube channel CineFix have been making budget trailers for quite a long time – and we have to admit, they have mastered their skills! They also release a detailed behind-the-scenes videos and shot-by-shot comparisons with original trailers. A sweded trailer of “Deadpool” is just as good as its original and already gained a million and a half of views!
This amazing trailer for the seventh film in the world-famous series was shot by user Dumb Brum, a regular member of Sweded Fest (a major festival that takes place in the US). The amateur video features large, colorful scenery, and one cannot help but smile at the sight of cardboard planet Jakku or Finn’s first appearance. There’s no doubt that the filmmaker deserves to be called a real professional in the genre of amateur films.
A VFX-heavy box-office hit can be sweded as well – all you need is thinking outside the box (leave boxes for decorations). A dinosaur-sock is our all-time favourite!
The Terminator is played by a blond curly-haired guy with gently eyes, while the role of John Connor went to a girl in a black wig. The video was created in the best tradition of sweded films and features absurd fights, tin foil costumes, and plastic guns. Iconic “Hasta la vista, baby” line included.
One more remake from CineFix. This one features the famous slow motion scene where Neo is dodging bullets. All the visual effects really impressed back when The Matrix was released – and this video impresses how they were recreated in a no-budget way. Fascinating and hilarious at the same time!