Amelia Trask and Sasha Hecht are introduced to defunct Swedish band Broder Daniel by friends from Gothenburg. Although Trask and Hecht do not understand anything about the cultural significance of the band, they immediately sense there is a bigger story beneath the surface. Contacts at Pitchfork agree. The two women begin research and building a contact list.
The initial concept for the film was for it to be a YouTube documentary with a limited theatrical release in collaboration with Pitchfork TV with a runtime of around 45 minutes, a long-form project for the publication's video outlet which, had until then, produced only short-form content.
Trask and Hecht enlist the help of their Swedish friends who had initially introduced them to the subject to begin navigating the unknown territory.
Trask and Hecht are immediately met with silence from the Swedish music industry and media reach outs, which is remarkable considering their initial introduction is representing Pitchfork, a globally-respected music publication. However, the band's former frontman Henrik Berggren's immediate enthusiasm towards the concept concretizes Trask and Hecht's pursuit of the project.
Once the filmmakers begin speaking with Berggren regularly, the ambition of the project widens dramatically. Trask and Hecht decide to part ways with Pitchfork and begin developing a feature-length documentary film concept called I'll Be Gone, with Berggren as the film's central figure.
In fall 2015, Trask and Hecht travel to Gothenburg and spend three days interviewing Berggren on-camera and capture b-roll of the city to cut together as a fundraising piece. Berggren, who had begun to work on new music for his first solo album, is in fragile health and has a history of being taken advantage of professionally. Trask and Hecht encourage him to seek a manager (something had never had previously) to protect his financial interests and aid him in the logistics of recording an album, as well as getting to and from the film set. Berggren agrees, and shortly after Trask and Hecht return to New York, he tells them a friend has agreed to manage him.
Back in New York, members of Trask and Hecht's professional network suggest they pursue fundraising in Sweden as the country has a reputation for granting funding to the arts and is already familiar with the subject matter. Trask and Hecht look into the matter and learn that they must partner with a Swedish production company in order to be eligible for Swedish grants and funding.
Trask and Hecht return to Sweden in early 2016 to take meetings with various production companies and continue their research and development. Early in the trip, they meet Paul Blomgren DoVan, owner of Gothenburg Film Studios, a local rental house and production services provider from whom they had rented equipment for their 2015 test shoot. Although Blomgren DoVan is not an experienced producer, he proposes coming onto the project as the film's Swedish partner to aid in fundraising and supply equipment in-kind. Trask and Hecht like the idea of partnering with a local film studio being that the documentary is a Gothenburg story. After some deliberation, the filmmakers accept Blomgren DoVan's offer and cancel their other meetings scheduled with production companies in Stockholm.
The issue of Håkan Hellström begins to arise with the addition of Gothenburg Film Studios to the team, as Blomgren DoVan is convinced the inclusion of Hellström in the project would guarantee Swedish funding. However, one of the first issues the filmmakers had become aware of at the inception of the project was the fact that Hellström is a huge pop star in Sweden who had built his 20 year career off of egregious plagiarism and copyright infringement of English-language artists. For reasons the filmmakers could not understand, this issue had never been litigated and no one in Sweden appeared to care about it; in fact, the filmmakers learned early on that the subject was a point of contention for many Swedes.
Not wanting to offend the Swedes, the filmmakers concede, and in April, shoot a bizarre two-day Hellström concert in New York. Hellström, who sings in Swedish and is unknown outside of Scandinavia, plays two sold-out shows at Gramercy Theater in Manhattan to an audience comprised entirely of Swedes who had flown to NYC for the event, many of whom attended both nights. The show is publicized in Sweden as though Hellström had sold-out the show to the local New York audience, however, this is not the case. During the weekend, Hellström avoids so much as acknowledging Trask and Hecht, who are among only a small handful of people present at the venue from pre-soundcheck to load-out. To make matters worse, on the second night of filming, Hecht is briefly cornered in the basement of the venue by Hellström's "A&R" Isse Samie, who is extremely drunk and inappropriate towards Hecht, who is over 20 years his junior. Blomgren DoVan appears unmoved by the events of the weekend, and Trask and Hecht drop the issue.
In spite of a few bumps in the road, Trask and Hecht complete pre-production and continue to receive positive feedback and encouragement in the US for their endeavor. In late spring, they officially quit their jobs and relocate to Gothenburg in June 2016 to pursue the film full-time.
As soon as they arrive in Sweden, stories begin to surface about widespread abuse by the people surrounding Hellström, who appear to control the majority share of the local music industry and infrastructure. Trask and Hecht decide to avoid covering the corruption in their documentary out of fear for their subjects' safety, but promise their sources that they will connect them with US journalists to help give a platform to the issues raised. However, by late July 2016, stories of rampant sexual abuse begin to come to the filmmakers' attention. Simultaneous to this, Berggren informs them that his management is considering signing him to the same label from which these accusations are stemming: Woah Dad.
Berggren, who is in poor health and overwhelmed with recording his record, is not capable of processing the amount of information the filmmakers begin to uncover. Therefore, the filmmakers decide to warn his management in an attempt to shield Berggren from further strife. Berggren's manager Ebba Lindqvist, however, has not been communicative with the filmmakers since her hiring in late 2015, and the filmmakers enter their first and only in-person meeting with her suspicious and armed with a voice recorder.
Trask and Hecht tell Lindqvist that they need her to sign a non-disclosure agreement before disclosing the sensitive information in their possession, explaining that they are journalists and need to protect their sources. Lindqvist declines and attempts to procure information from Trask and Hecht anyway; they refuse. Lindqvist passes the filmmakers to Anders Larsson, owner of United Stage, the management company with which Lindqvist is representing Berggren.
Larsson travels from Stockholm to Gothenburg and meets Trask and Hecht in a hotel atrium. The meeting feels clandestine and the filmmakers' unease about the situation intensifies. The filmmakers also tape this meeting for safety concerns. Larsson additionally declines to sign the NDA; therefore, the filmmakers do no disclose the information about sexual abuse. Larsson, like Lindqvist, continues to gossip to the foreign journalists anyway, and reveals he is in possession of similar knowledge, making statements like "Isse's biggest problem is women." Trask and Hecht ask Larsson to take care of Berggren as he is very sick and needs protection. They explain that they cannot ethically stand by while Berggren suffers the same fate he has in the past. Larsson assures the filmmakers that he will protect Berggren. Trask, Hecht, and Larsson agree to continue communicating in good faith.
Trask and Hecht complete the majority of their production, and in late September 2016, return to NYC. Immediately following their return, Hellström, through his representation, Joel Borg, definitively pulls out of the documentary. Blomgren DoVan expresses optimism that he can coax Hellström back, but this time, Trask and Hecht put their foot down, relieved that they do not have to deal with Hellström and his people further.
Blomgren DoVan, who to this point has been unsuccessful in securing financing for the project, is relieved of his fundraising duties, and Trask and Hecht turn to their US network for financing. The filmmakers are quickly connected with an agent at CAA interested in representing the film and are tasked with putting together a new reel made from the summer/fall 2016 shoot. Blomgren DoVan, however, begins to act erratically, disappearing for long spans of time and slow-walking the delivery of necessary assets for fundraising. In November 2016, the conflict escalates until Blomgren DoVan eventually reveals on a call that he does not want to be a part of the film any longer and implies that the filmmakers are up to something duplicitous with regards to the content of the film. He states that he would rather "burn [his] investment" than see the wrong film be made. Trask and Hecht are shocked by Blomgren DoVan's shift in attitude, as previous agreements regarding the trio's working relationship had clearly designated that Trask and Hecht retained creative control of the project. The filmmakers agree to buy out Blomgren DoVan's investment and part ways.
Trask and Hecht begin reaching out to contacts to build a new executive team and quickly connect with Adrian Grenier and his partner at Reckless Productions, Robin Garvick. Within weeks of their engagement, Garvick has engaged interested investors and encourages Trask and Hecht to return to Sweden to wrap production.
Blomgren DoVan continues to cause difficulties for the filmmakers, refusing to deliver an itemized budget of incurred expenses needed for the US investors to reimburse him. While in Sweden for their final production in late February, Hecht translates the Hellström appearance release for the 2016 NYC concert shoot and realizes that the agreement is not an appearance release, but rather, grants full ownership of the footage to Hellström's personal company, Tro och Tvivel, and is signed with Gothenburg Film Studios, not Trask and Hecht's company, The Monster Group. This rendered the footage in breach of the location release signed between Live Nation, the venue's owner, and The Monster Group. Hecht confronts Blomgren DoVan over email and informs him that the filmmakers refuse to pay for the shoot, as Blomgren DoVan had misrepresented the contract to them. The contract also breached the agreement between Gothenburg Film Studios and The Monster Group, as Blomgren DoVan had signed the agreement with Tro och Tvivel without Trask and Hecht's knowledge and against their advise. Blomgren DoVan tells the filmmakers he will not release any of their material or sign any documents for US investors unless they agree to pay for the Hellström shoot, which at that point, accounted for over half of the documentary's production budget. A legal battle ensues.
The filmmakers return to New York in early March with their film production complete but without their summer/fall 2016 footage, which is still physically in the possession of Blomgren DoVan in Gothenburg. Garvick and the filmmakers take a meeting with their potential investors, who want to see the Blomgren DoVan issue resolved, as well as the music licenses for Henrik Berggren's solo record Wolf's Heart, which had been included in the pitch package (which United Stage had previously agreed to pre-negotiate into any record deal Berggren signed). Shortly after, the filmmakers realize United Stage had not secured the Wolf's Heart license ahead of signing Berggren to Woah Dad; furthermore, through drawn-out email exchanges, the management refuses to confirm or deny that any such agreement was ever made with the filmmakers.
Berggren steps in and pleads with his management and label to signs the license, but the conflict continues in bizarre circles. Trask, Hecht, and their legal team cannot understand why the owners of these rights would obstruct Berggren from reaching a wider market, as the rights owners only stood to profit from the increased exposure. Unbeknownst to the filmmakers at the time, Berggren and former Broder Daniel bassist/additional I'll Be Gone film subject Theodor Jensen sign over the rights of the Broder Daniel catalogue to Telegram Studios (Woah Dad's parent company) in exchange for the Wolf's Heart license dispute to end.
In late April, the filmmakers finally receive the license for Wolf's Heart, but Blomgren DoVan continues a similarly circular conflict with Trask and Hecht's legal team regarding their footage. Berggren again steps in and offers to pay the cost demanded by Blomgren DoVan for the footage with the money Berggren earned from his summer tour. Blomgren DoVan cannot say no to Berggren and agrees. In the settlement, Trask and Hecht correct the chain-of-ownership releasing the Hellström footage legally to Tro och Tvivel, and Blomgren DoVan erases himself from the film. The legal conflict, however, is not resolved until late July 2016, and by the time Trask and Hecht return to the investors, they had already committed their funding to another project, and due to extraneous circumstances, Garvick cannot continue to work on the film.
Back to the drawing board once more, Trask and Hecht again reach out to their US network and connect with Max Joseph of MTV's Catfish. Over a meeting, Joseph advises the filmmakers to try and finish the film on their own since they had come this far by themselves.
Trask and Hecht decide to teach themselves how to edit and spend the next nine months constructing the film in their Brooklyn apartment.
Trask and Hecht spend the first half of 2018 editing I'll Be Gone, and they reach picture-lock by the summer. They interview various post-houses and find kindred spirits at Cut & Measure, a post-house in Red Hook, Brooklyn owned by Alex Laviola.
Still in need of funds for finishing, the filmmakers briefly attempt to fundraise but find themselves overstretched. On a chance run one Saturday morning, Trask bumps into Meredith Graves, an old friend whom she had not seen in the years since she had started working on the film project. Graves is moved hearing about the filmmakers' struggles and schedules a meeting with Trask and Hecht at Kickstarter, which Graves had recently joined as Director of Music.
Graves thinks highly of the film and what Trask and Hecht went through in order to make it and offers to help the filmmakers. In September, Trask and Hecht decide to run a Kickstarter to raise funds for finishing and help alleviate some of their legal fees. Graves helps Trask and Hecht plan a campaign and Trask and Hecht produce the necessary assets.
The campaign sees a soft launch on October 10th, with the official launch set for October 11th, with the intention of focusing on the US. However, Trask and Hecht wake up the morning after their soft launch to find that their Kickstarter announcement had been extensively covered by the Swedish media, even making the nightly news. Interview requests and confusion from Sweden force Trask and Hecht to refocus their efforts towards the Swedish audience. The Swedish response is overwhelming and wrought with confusion as Berggren had made his comeback the previous summer and purposely not mentioned the film in the press.
During this time, Oskar Sonn Lindell, a Swedish journalist who had been following the film since 2015 and had been granted full access to the behind-the-scenes of the production, tells the filmmakers that his publication, Magsinet FIlter, had a last-minute opening for their Dec/Jan issue and that he wanted to write his piece about the film now. The filmmakers agree but suggest that Lindell focus on Berggren and not the behind-the-scenes conflict as their understanding of what had happened to them was not yet clear and it was too much to process in just a few weeks.
Two weeks into their four-week Kickstarter campaign, Berggren's management continues to obstruct the filmmakers by refusing to post Swedish press coverage to Berggren's social media accounts, causing further confusion for the Swedish audience, who were wondering if the film was even authorized by Berggren. This conflict results in Berggren ultimately giving the logins to his social media directly to the filmmakers to do themselves.
On October 30th, Lindell beings to reach out to Berggren's management and label for comment. As a result, Berggren begins to receive threats. His booking agent and co-manager, Pontus Sillrèn, calls Berggren crying, pleading that the story will destroy his children's lives. Lindqvist's husband, Joel Alme, who is also a member of Berggren's live band, threatens Berggren to "silence those broads" or he will "spare no gun powder to lower them in the media." Berggren sends a barrage of hysterical messages to the filmmakers. The filmmakers tell Lindqvist to stop harassing Berggren.
In spite of the threats, Berggren refuses to retract his statements to Magasinet Filter, but caves slightly, by sending a "disclaimer" meant for the end of the piece that he believes will "sound too robotic to be believed."
The filmmakers and Berggren are sent a draft of the article on Friday, November 3rd. Trask and Hecht translate the article for fact-checking. Although the piece is a bit too personal and not how they would describe the making of the film, it is historically accurate and well-written, and return their few notes the following day.
On Monday, November 5th, the article is sent to be printed and Lindell sends Trask a message on Skype saying that some things were removed from the piece but that the story was the same and that he needed rest. Trask and Hecht assume the removed content had to do with rape allegations, which was understandable, and they never translate the final piece (as it is 12 pages).
A few days before the Kickstarter ends, which looks like it will fail, an investor steps in and saves the project. Shortly thereafter, Graves starts an enthusiastic chain with programmers at SXSW, and Göteborg International Film Festival officially invites I'll Be Gone to premiere in January.
In mid-January, Trask and Hecht officially complete I'll Be Gone. Two weeks later, the film premieres at the historic Draken Theater in Gothenburg to a sold-out crowd of over 700. All the subjects of the documentary are present at the premiere, however, the row reserved for "press" is completely empty.
The premiere is followed by an afterparty at which Agent blå plays and photography by Martin Norberg is displayed. The mood of the evening, however, is tense. Berggren, who is supposed to play a surprise set with Jensen, is sequestered upstairs in the party venue on a cot, heavily-medicated and unable to function. Throughout the night Trask and Hecht are verbally assaulted by multiple individuals and Trask is physically groped by an unknown male; as a result, the two women end up joining Berggren upstairs for remainder of the evening.
The following day, the film has its second sold-out screening at Captiol Theater. The audience at this screening is older and the atmosphere is welcoming.
Trask and Hecht depart Sweden ahead of two more sold-out screenings at Biopalatset and Roy. Although I'll Be Gone sold more tickets than any other film at the festival and the Swedish media coverage had been extensive and consistent since the announcement of the Kickstarter three months prior, en route to NYC, the filmmakers realize I'll Be Gone has been almost entirely blacked out in Swedish media, save for a sole one-star review in Göteborgs-Posten by a beat reporter with no other film reviews to his byline.
Trask and Hecht also begin to receive threats on their social media calling them "stupid cunts" who should "stay out of Sweden."
Realizing his own management played a role in the filmmakers' harassment and abuse while in Sweden, Berggren fires his management. Although his contract includes a two-year sunset clause, the retainer is reduced to six months due to Berggren being in possession of the threatening texts by Alme.
At this point, Trask and Hecht realize the issues facing the film are more complicated and wide-reaching than they had previously understood. Concerned for their subjects' safety in Sweden and that the film would continue to experience obstruction throughout the festival cycle, the filmmakers decide to get to the bottom of what exactly is going on and re-open their research files.
The filmmakers begin by revisiting their files on Anders Göthberg, the former guitarist of Broder Daniel who had committed suicide in 2008, resulting in Berggren ending the band. Since the inception of I'll Be Gone, Trask and Hecht had set the intention not to focus on the death as the spirit of the project was to avoid exploitation of sensational and scandalous topics. However, throughout the making of the film, information was brought to the filmmakers' attention that could not be ignored, compelling them to build a file on the case. In August 2016, the documentary production had pulled the official police reports on Göthberg's death but received the report heavily-redacted. Although the media coverage of the death had been vague and biased, Trask and Hecht are ultimately able to create a timeline of the night by triangulating media accounts with the police report and find that the inconsistencies appear to be in order to distract from two simple questions: Who was in attendance of the party that night? And what happened that prompted Göthberg to jump from Västerbron?
The filmmakers begin to track the ways and means the information about Göthberg's death was reported to the public. The filmmakers identify Swedish publications and journalists connected to a group who call themselves "Elit List," a group of people who hold influential positions in Swedish society and use blackmail and coordination to control various aspects of Swedish industry, culture, and economy.
Trask and Hecht spend the next few months compiling extensive research on the individuals and business entities involved in the harassment of their production, the business of Broder Daniel, and involvement in Elit List activities, with a focus on known members of the group working in the Swedish media.
Simultaneous to this research period, Berggren's living situation becomes tenuous. Berggren's health, which had been poor since the inception of the film, had been declining since the completion of his 2017 "comeback" tour and had never recovered. Due to an instability in interest rates in Sweden, his family is now in danger of losing the home in which Berggren resides. To make matters worse, his former management is making it impossible for him to generate income unless he agrees to play a show with Hellström, which Berggren repeatedly refuses.
Out of the blue, a man by the name of Oscar Wallblom comes into the picture offering to help Berggren with his money situation. Wallblom is best-known in Sweden as the long-time bassist in Hellström's live band. Wallblom's family is also independently wealthy, having founded the Mary Kay makeup network in Scandinavia. In 2017, Wallblom had founded Tamiami Records, a label through which he had released one record by this time. Wallblom offers Berggren money and suggests signing a "casual" record deal with Tamiami in return.
Trask, Hecht, and Berggren discuss the development and agree that, while Berggren is desperate for money, getting involved with Wallblom without throughly vetting him would be unwise. Berggren, frail and unable to defend himself, asks the filmmakers to make executive decisions regarding Wallblom until his new management can officially begin to work in August, following the conclusion of his United Stage contract. Trask and Hecht agree and begin vetting Wallblom.
On April 4th, Wallblom flies to New York and meets twice with the filmmakers. Wallblom insists his intentions towards Berggren are good and that he just wants to help stabilize him and facilitate the recording and release of Berggren's new music.
Trask and Hecht concoct a deal with Wallblom: if he finances the stabilization of Berggren's living situation, provides a small amount of money for weekly groceries, and helps him put together a new live band, Berggren will release a single with Tamiami Records, and Tamiami will be given an exclusive option to release Berggren's next full-length in Scandinavia.
Although all parties agree to the framing of the terms, Wallblom spends the summer traveling the world attending tennis tournaments and slowly chipping away at the spirit of the original agreement in a contract which, as it turns out, is being dictated by his family lawyers and advised by Isse Samie.
During this same time period, Trask's grandmother's health rapidly begins to decline and Trask must travel home to New Orleans. A few days later, her grandmother passes away. Trask spends July and August occupied flying back-and-forth between New York and Louisiana.
On August 15th, Berggren is officially released from his United Stage contract, with no deal reached with Wallblom, rendering the engagement with him moot. Berggren's physical and mental health have continued to decline and he has resorted to stealing food to survive.
Trask, Hecht, and Berggren slowly begin distancing themselves from Wallblom, who, for some reason, continues to believe that he is negotiating a record deal. Berggren's new management is now free to step in and begin to help him apply to grants and get his financials in order.
On September 14th, I'll Be Gone has its US premiere at Basilica Soundscape in Hudson, NY, a highly-curated festival which does not engage corporate sponsors and showcases a diverse cross-section of music and art from around the world.
Shortly after the filmmakers return from Basilica, Ludlow House in Manhattan invites them to screen the film. While putting together material for the Soho House marketing team, Hecht decides to translate the final Magasinet Filter piece so as to not give them incorrect pull quotes. Hecht realizes the printed piece is not the piece that had been given to the filmmakers to fact-check days before going to print, is highly defamatory, and shocking in its failure to uphold basic journalistic standards.
Trask and Hecht post public statements on their production company website and the film's social media, accompanied by side-by-side infographics of the two versions of the article, as well as the bizarre email exchanges between Trask and Magasinet Filter's Editor-in-chief Christopher Friman and Publisher Mattias Göransson, both of whom take responsibility for the defamatory and untrue edits.
Two weeks later, I'll Be Gone is screened at Ludlow House for an invite-only audience and the filmmakers dialogue with the attendees about their current extraordinary situation.
Following the Ludlow House screening, the filmmakers begin to prepare the film for distribution, but remain highly concerned about Berggren's health and safety. Although Trask, Hecht, and Berggren had remained in constant contact over the years, the heavy flow of information was often too much for Berggren to process, and he still appeared to not understand fully the situation he was in, making him critically vulnerable. Burdened with the Magasinet Filter realization and concerned for Berggren's wellbeing, Trask and Hecht decide to put their film sale preparations on hold and, in early November, fly Berggren to New York for two weeks in an effort to stabilize him both physically and mentally.
While in New York, Berggren is introduced to a cast of characters from Trask and Hecht's Brooklyn music community with whom Berggren feels a sense of camaraderie. After spending an evening with friends at the Kanine Records offices, Berggren remarks on the familiarity of the evening, and compares the experience to an episode of Star Trek concerning a rip in the space time continuum.
Early into his second week in New York, Berggren begins to reach some clarity. Trask, Hecht, and Berggren begin reviewing the research together, their first opportunity to do so in the five years they have been working on the project. Together, Berggren, Trask, and Hecht reach their final conclusions and Berggren returns to Sweden with full understanding of what has happened to him, armed with a plan.
Upon returning to Sweden, Berggren emails the members of Broder Daniel, Paola Bruna, and Klas Lunding with the Broder Daniel music license for the film and an explanation of the parameters of the contracts. Berggren asks them to sign it.
Johan Neckvall, Daniel Gilbert, and Paola Bruna sign the license shortly after the email from Berggren. Theodor Jensen, Lars Malmros, and Håkan Hellström say they will sign and Klas Lunding remains quiet.
While Berggren works on securing the music license, Trask and Hecht spend the next two weeks building the official website for their documentary. The intention of the site is to memorialize the conflict the filmmakers experienced while making the film in order to neutralize the disinformation which had hindered the film’s release process. For US stakeholders in the film, the ongoing behind-the-scenes conflict had become too dense to follow as it dealt with a labyrinth of foreign names, places, and relationships. Furthermore, Magsinet Filter’s defamatory and untrue article by Mattias Göransson and Christopher Friman had caused many issues for the filmmakers’ Swedish sources and the complex disinformation had rendered further communication with Swedish entities difficult. Therefore, the film’s website would serve to rectify these issues by clearly outlining the situation with full transparency. Berggren agrees.
On December 9th, Trask and Hecht launch illbegonefilm.com, the I'll Be Gone official website. Since the film had been prematurely exposed in the Swedish media, the filmmakers decide to host a free stream of the film for a limited time so that Swedes who had been waiting to see the film for over a year would not need to wait any longer. Trask and Hecht invite the Swedes to read the website and, in addition to the film stream and the behind-the-scenes conflict outline, the filmmakers include an “Action” page illustrating how the Broder Daniel catalogue was obtained by Telegram Studios and offer a petition to aid the members of Broder Daniel in regaining control over their catalogue by returning it to a proper auction as per the EU mandate.
Immediately after the website launch, Berggren’s management receives an anonymous email warning that someone had removed the redactions on one of the website’s documents regarding research about Anders Göthberg. Trask and Hecht promptly remove the document as the redactions on that particular document were meant to protect others’ identities and avoid publishing speculation about a sensitive topic. Although the film's website covers a wide selection of dense research and information, the filmmakers begin to almost exclusively receive emails focused on the research regarding Anders Göthberg and "Elit List." This is notable as neither of these topics are focal points of the website’s content and the Göthberg document in question had been removed the same day that the website was launched. The filmmakers continue to monitor and archive the activity in Sweden online. The Swedish media does not report on the content of the website.
By the end of December, signatures from Lunding, Malmros, and Jensen are still outstanding. Berggren sends another email to his former band members and Lunding outlining in detail Berggren’s own point-of-view on the situation. Shortly after Berggren sends his email, Lunding signs the license. Jensen and Malmros say they will sign pending legal counsel on the licensing contract.
While working on their new year plans to release I'll Be Gone in the US, Trask and Hecht continue to field feedback from Sweden on a daily basis. Since the launch of the film’s website on December 9th 2019, the filmmakers continue to receive a steady stream of support from Sweden as well as new disclosures from additional alleged victims of the people associated with Telegram Studios. The Swedish media, however, remains silent on the matter of the website. Trask and Hecht monitor the online activity in Sweden, which is a mixture of support, outrage, and confusion.
On January 8th, Berggren releases a public statement to his fans addressing some detractors of the website, clarifying that he supports the actions of the filmmakers. Berggren writes:
To the fans
There has been much discussion about Amelia Trask and Sasha Hecht’s website, illbegonefilm.com. I did not want to comment on this because I thought that the information contained there clearly describes what happened to them while working on the US documentary about me. But I hear that misinformation is distorting the picture of what happened. Therefore, I feel that I need to clear this up.
When Amelia Trask and Sasha Hecht did research for their film and talked to people connected to Gothenburg’s music scene, they were met unexpectedly by basically everyone they talked to telling about corruption, crime, and sexual abuse that they or someone close to them were subjected to by people involved with the record companies Telegram/Woah Dad. Those who spoke with A and S did not want to talk about this publicly for fear of retaliation. Instead, they hoped that Amelia and Sasha could make their voice heard and reveal this clique.
Amelia and Sasha told these people that they did not intend to make such a documentary. The film was to be about me and BD. But they still felt they had to do something in their capacity as journalists. They therefore decided to give all of the source material they had about this to Magasinet Filter, which they heard they could trust and which was alleged to be Sweden’s leading society and cultural magazine. Filter received this and wanted to work on it. Among other things, Filter hired two independent economic journalists who confirmed the financial crime found by A and S. A writer at Filter said that many have tried to go after this group and its crimes for many years but that no one could do anything.
Filter then made an article about the film that would not discuss these things in detail, but the work on the investigation would proceed separately from this article. Amelia and Sasha felt that their material was not satisfactorily investigated at that time. However, there was negative information about Telegram/Woah Dad and those who collaborated with them in the article that I, A, and S approved for publication.
However, Filter did not publish this article, but a revised version where this negative information was removed, and they distorted the events in a way that did not correspond with the information they had in their source material. When A and S realized this much later, they feared for the security of their sources. Because Filter’s journalistic integrity could be compromised, they could not know that those who talked about crime and abuse were safe.
Therefore, A and S went out on the internet with the article they approved along with an account of Filter’s actions. They sought no attention for this. They only wanted this to be publicly available information to protect their sources.
Earlier, A and S had tried to warn my management about signing a contract on my behalf with Telegram/Woah Dad, because they had received all of these stories. But my management decided to sign a contract with Woah Dad anyway.
Telegram/Woah Dad and my former management have tried in every way to stop and sabotage the film. In this, they have not spared any means, legal or illegal. They spread lies and misinformation. One such lie is that Amelia and Sasha manipulate me. They do not. What would be the motive for it? I have said from the first day we spoke that I am with them fully.
As a creative person or a musician, you notice very quickly what kinds of people you are dealing with. You notice if they talk about your music and what it says or not. You can tell if their soul is interested in and understand what your soul is trying to say. In short, you notice whether someone grasps one’s reason for being or not. After five minutes of talking to Amelia and Sasha, I knew they were my soul sisters and I have not had any reason to change that view. The others who have been involved in this story, I do not know who they are.
The film and Amelia and Sasha’s website are intended for an American audience. They have no interest in spreading awareness for themselves or the film here in Sweden. They do not want to have contact with the Swedish media or music industry anymore, given the horrors they have endured. A and S are completely satisfied with the end result of their film and they only get positive reactions to it in the US.
The information on the website was published by A and S so that no one can sabotage the film anymore, because it has been easy for those who want to destroy the film to create doubts in those who are interested in it. The website is thus not even intended for an American audience but is only there to protect against sabotage. In this way, A and S can refer interested parties to their website and therefore, these stakeholders know who is trying to sabotage and that they cannot be trusted.
The distorted and erroneous idea that all of this is a personal and petty vendetta from Amelia and Sasha’s side is only a distraction from the serious reality: that a major record label, a major management company, and a major magazine collaborated to smear two foreign and independent journalists in an attempt to conceal a domestic criminal network.
The next day, the Swedish media runs a brief news item announcing that Berggren is "working on new music" but does not report on any other details from Berggren's letter or the information outlined on the film’s website. In fact, the Swedish media does not so much as acknowledge the existence of the website or the conflict outlined in Berggren's statement.
On January 10th, Theodor Jensen signs the license with a small amendment request, which the filmmakers accommodate. As former Broder Daniel drummer Lars Malmros is now the only outstanding signature needed for license, Berggren begins communicating with Malmros directly.
Despite being censored by the Swedish media, Berggren’s public statement sparks a flurry of online activity in Sweden.
On January 11th, a 30-something-year-old woman called “Elin Mellbergstedt” posts a screenshot of a text conversation in Bede, the same private Facebook fan group where Paul Blomgren DoVan had attempted to slander the filmmakers in December. The conversation is between Mellbergstedt and an unidentified person to whom she refers as "dad" and "her father."
The text message reads [translated to English]:
Mellbergstedt: Oki. Have you saved all the shit the two American women spread about his death?
Unidentified Person: Yes. About his death. On the other hand they have tried to involve me in other ways. Have always said no thanks. But Henrik has let them in unfortunately.
The post fuels another argument amongst members of the Bede group, some of whom send screenshots of the active thread to Trask and Hecht.
Trask and Hecht are confused; the bizarre post by Mellbergstedt does not make sense because Trask and Hecht had never contacted anyone in Sweden with the surname Mellbergstedt and had not engaged in any interactions that resembled those described by the unidentified person.
However, since Trask and Hecht do not have Facebook accounts, they are unable to respond to Mellbergstedt directly.
A Google search reveals that Mellbergstedt has been featured in the Swedish press as a Håkan Hellström superfan, with articles chronicling her travels to NYC and Berlin to see Hellström, as well as a Håkan Hellström secondary ticket market she runs on Facebook with a woman called “Mathilda Edman,” whom Mellbergstedt tagged in the aforementioned post of the text message screenshot. Mellbergstedt also has a number of posts on social media representing that she is close with members of Hellström's band.
Given Mellbergstedt's reputation as a "connected insider" in the Broder Daniel/Håkan Hellström fan communities, her claims carry more credibility and therefore have the potential to be more damaging than those of a random commenter. The filmmakers identify the situation as a potential liability.
Moreover, Trask and Hecht wonder about the identity of this unnamed person from whom Mellbergstedt is getting her factually-inaccurate information.
On January 12th, Trask messages Mellbergstedt on Instagram asking for the contact information of the person from Mellbergstedt's published text who accused Trask and Hecht of harassment.
@illbegonefilm: Hello Elin, please send me your father’s name and contact information. I would like to follow up on the defamatory and untrue claims made according to the text messages which you spread via the ‘Bede’ Facebook group on January 10th-11th, 2020. Thank you, Amelia Trask.
Mellbergstedt replies immediately, backpedaling on some of her Facebook statements, insisting that the unidentified person never accused the filmmakers of anything and that she would drop the subject. But as this is not why Trask messaged Mellbergstedt, Trask asks again: “What is your dad’s name?” Mellbergstedt replies: “Look at your own websites timeline where it says “Hecht reached out to ***” several times with different people and you will find him.” Trask and Hecht look at their timeline and find that the only person who matches her description is Håkan Hellström.
The conversation continues as follows:
Trask: What you are describing does not match any person I have contacted or in my published timeline.
Trask: Except for Hakan Hellstrom.
Mellbergstedt: He wrote to me in a private conversation and I unfortunately made the mistake of posting it and I’m sorry for that but he is not to be blaimed for anything so leave him alone.
Trask: Is your father Hakan Hellstrom?
Mellbergstedt: Leave me alone.
Trask: Thank you, have a great day.
Mellbergstedt: You too.
Trask and Hecht do not know what to do with this information. Whether Hellström is Mellbergstedt’s actual father or if Mellbergstedt is referring to Hellström as “dad” the way that Lorde’s fans refer to her as “mom” is irrelevant. The point is that the message suggests that there is a group of people involving Hellström who were coordinating to work against the filmmakers.
Trask and Hecht decide to err on the side of caution regarding the Mellbergstedt revelation. In the worse case scenario, should Mellbergstedt in fact be Håkan Hellström’s secret daughter whom he is using as a proxy, the emotional pressure of the situation could have serious ramifications for Mellbergstedt. With that in mind, Trask decides to send a follow-up message.
Trask: Elin, I'm not going to pursue this anymore so don’t worry. I’m sorry about the situation and I won’t say any more on the topic with you. You don’t have to reply me any further. Best to you.
Mellbergstedt sees the message and does not reply.
Trask and Hecht move on believing that Mellbergstedt will keep her word and stop slandering the film and the filmmakers. Trask writes a message for the Bede group and asks Sophia Scalpel, a German photographer well-known in the Broder Daniel fan community and whose work is featured in BD photo book When We Were Winning, to post it for Trask.
In addition to the online conflicts, the filmmakers also field reach-outs from a few Swedish journalists. The filmmakers and Berggren had decided together ahead of Berggren’s public statement to refrain from speaking further to the Swedish media unless to clarify specific questions regarding the content outlined on the film’s website. Due to the actions of Magasinet Filter's Mattias Göransson and Christopher Friman, as well as the response (or lack thereof) of the press regarding the issues raised on the film's website, Berggren, Trask, and Hecht do not trust the Swedish media.
One example of the Swedish media's hostility towards the filmmakers occurs on January 13th, when Swedish music publication Sonic Magazine's official Twitter account attempts to undermine the filmmakers with scathing and cryptic tweets. First, Sonic Magazine tweets and deletes the following message, derogatorily referring to Berggren as "an easily-duped indie dandy" [translated to English]:
@sonicmagazine: Generally speaking, people should take the words of an easily-duped indie dandy with a heavy grain of salt. End of message.
Sonic Magazine then continues to tweet about Trask and Hecht, alluding to forthcoming information that Sonic believes will discredit the filmmakers and illbegonenfilm.com. The Twitter thread reads as follows:
@danielswedin: Do you remember the Broder Daniel film that two American women did? Now the filmmakers have compiled a report on the making of the film. Does not provide the world’s most flattering picture of Gothenburg’s music and cultural scene. [illbegonefilm.com]
@sonicmagazine: That information should in itself be taken with a heavy grain of salt.
@sonicmagazine: It will be revealed in due time.
To which Hecht replies:
@sashahechtagain: Oooh sounds juicy, can't wait to see what you guys come up with!
@sashahechtagain: Actually, very excited for whatever this is bc I've still never heard a counter-narrative that isn't easily disproved by docs/emails/transcripts yet to be released. Happy to publish more if anyone would like to dispute the timeline, tho!
Sonic Magazine does not respond to Hecht.
On the US side, the website’s illustration of the conflict has successfully engaged the filmmakers’ own network to organize and begin making plans to screen I'll Be Gone in the spring.
Meanwhile in Sweden, Berggren continues to exchange emails with Malmros about the music license for the film. Malmros insists that the continued withholding of his signature on the license is due to a pending review by a lawyer and not because Malmros seeks financial compensation or intends to obstruct the film’s release any further. However, after weeks of back-and-forth, Berggren becomes concerned that Malmros is being influenced by some of the people mentioned on illbegonefilm.com.
On January 21st, Trask and Hecht are contacted by Sara-Märta Höglund, a Swedish woman who represents herself as a freelance journalist. At first, Trask and Hecht tell Höglund that they are not taking press requests from Sweden. However, Höglund replies, saying:"I can really understand your feelings about Swedish media coverage especially after reading your encounter with FIlter." She goes on to say that she is working on a piece about Isse Samie and that Trask and Hecht's contribution would be "really really important."
Trask and Hecht decide to make an exception and answer preliminary questions for Höglund over email.
On January 23rd, Höglund interviews Trask and Hecht over Skype, which the filmmakers also record. Höglund tells the filmmakers that she has multiple alleged victims of Samie on record and asks Hecht to disclose her own experience with Samie, which Hecht does. At the end of the call, Höglund tells Trask and Hecht that she may have trouble getting the piece published in Sweden. Hecht and Trask offer to connect Höglund with US journalists if her story is killed in Sweden. The three women agree to stay in touch and part ways.
On January 26th, Malmros sends Berggren an email in which Malmros argues that since the film is not about the “corruption” outlined on the film’s website, he will not sign the license without contractual stipulations regarding what the filmmakers are and are not allowed to discuss publicly as Malmros feels it is “negative." Malmros states that this incoming offer will be a “take it or leave it” deal.
There are some changes and clarifications I want you to take into consideration when the contract comes back to you from the lawyer after the weekend. The music of the film is of course you to use "free of charge" according to our agreement. No one wants to stand in the way of your movie. It's just that some reasonable conditions have to be set. It is a so-called "take it or leave it deal" and it will include everything we on the so-called "evil" side want to put an end to this sad heap. There is nothing unreasonable in those requirements.
Berggren forwards the Malmros email to Trask and Hecht.
On January 28th, the filmmakers and Berggren receive an email from Malmros’ legal team with a heavily edited licensing contract rife with overreaching, vague language. In the proposed amendments, Malmros demands that Berggren, Trask, and Hecht retract all of the information on illbegonefilm.com and and enter into a gag order that would legally bind Berggren, Trask, and Hecht from speaking about any of the individuals or entities on the film's website in the future as an absolute condition for his signature.
Berggren, Trask, and Hecht do not accept the terms of Malmros’ contract. Since Malmros had explicitly told Berggren that the offer was non-negotiable, Trask and Hecht begin researching their legal rights in the matter.
Around this time, Trask and Hecht also become aware of a thread entitled "Joel Alme, Hellström, Isse Samie and others threaten and harass Henrik Berggren" about the website on Swedish messageboard Flashback Forum (founded and owned by "Elit List" member Jan Axelsson).
While Trask and Hecht are quite familiar with the tone of anon boards, they are still surprised by some of the speculation that the Flashback posters raise about the situation. A handful of the Flashback posters in the thread cite the untrue and defamatory Magasinet Filter article edited by Mattias Göransson and Christopher Friman as the source of their opinion of the filmmakers and the situation (see post #16, for example).
On January 30th, Hecht tweets from her personal Twitter account: "Just found out I've been referred to as a 'quarrelsome Jewish woman' on a Swedish messageboard so... there's that."
Hecht's tweet refers to the following Flashback post [translated to English]:
oenophile: Very strange story with a lot of loose ends.
Two American self-appointed heroines who dig up a down-in-the-shit HB and rescue him from the evil world (=reality).
A former record company director who, in true MeToo fashion, drunkenly paws at one of the heroines, and this in the middle of the ongoing Håkan Stealström concert in the Big Apple.
An Ullevi star devotedly cultivates his innocent appearance as he tries to mask his half-stoned spasmodic movements.
And in the eye of the storm: a talented but naive 45-year-old boy who steals food to survive as he gave away his last hard-earned money to a rock documentary that is so content-poor and meaningless that barely even the most devoted fans bothered to see the free link.
Wide-eyed and once again amazed at the brutality of the real world, he disappears into the mist of substance and turns pages in his Greek fantasy world. It is unclear if he is aware of having been hijacked by two quarrelsome Jewish women in their child-like scheme, “Rescue Henrik, dead or alive.”
Hecht follows up with another Tweet, this time a screenshot from the last page of the Flashback thread [translated to English]:
Tintin.i.Kongo: Did the girls sleep with Berggren or? The timeline shows a number of emails from them to him greeting them with the phrase "bb", a common abbreviation for baby. They also use a "love" somewhere.
Either they lay with him or they assumed he would be more cooperative if they made him think that they could think of doing it. That is, manipulation.
muilak: One girl is lesbian and the other girl is in relationship with someone according to instagram. Seems to be a long relationship if you read index on illbegone.
After Hecht Tweets, the Flashback thread dries up.
On the same day as Hecht's Flashback tweets, January 30th, the filmmakers publish the Malmros contract with annotations on illbegonefilm.com.
Also on that same day, a member of Bede links the filmmakers' annotated Malmros contract in the Facebook group. Elin Mellbergstedt pops up again, replying to the post: "omg is that why he is following me, should we get together and take them down???".
The next day, Trask and Hecht are alerted that Mellbergstedt is continuing to slander the filmmakers -- this time, in private chats using a selectively-edited version of Trask and Melbergstedt's Instagram conversation. When Trask and Hecht check the conversation thread on Instagram, they find that Mellbergstedt had strategically deleted certain messages to make it appear that Trask was harassing Mellbergstedt and that Mellbergstedt had never suggested that Hellström was the sender of the message.
Not wanting the seemingly futile "Elin Mellbergstedt" situation to escalate further, on February 2nd, Trask and Hecht publish the "Elin Mellbergstedt online harassment report" in an attempt to protect themselves from Mellbergstedt's ongoing disinformation campaign.
After spending weeks exploring their options and consulting with professionals regarding the Lars Malmros situation, on February 24th, Trask and Hecht send reports to the FBI and the American Embassy in Sweden. Following the advice of a personal contact at the FBI, on February 26th, Trask and Hecht speak with the Swedish police on the phone, who explain that since Malrmos is not demanding money, the situation does not meet the criteria for criminal extortion in Sweden. The police instead advise the filmmakers to take the issue to a Swedish civil court. They also posit that if Malmros cannot confirm that he is the publisher, the filmmakers might not need his signature after all.
Encouraged by the police tip, Trask and Hecht follow up with Malmros and his lawyer, Staffan Boström (who has also represented Håkan Hellström and Roxette) asking for clarification regarding ownership of the publishing rights in question. Trask and Hecht had previously asked for this clarification after -- for reasons unknown -- Boström had amended all of the instances in the contract where Malmros was referred to as "publisher" to instead say "writer." However, neither Boström nor Malmros ever provided an answer.
But this question is highly significant; if Malmros is not the publisher, he would not have any legal right to enter into (or reject) this licensing agreement at all.
A few days pass with no response. On March 2nd, Trask again follows up with Malmros and his lawyers and asserts that it is reasonable for the filmmakers to assume that Malmros will not make any copyright claims against the filmmakers in the future seeing as he cannot so much as confirm his own ownership of the copyright.
This time, Boström replies, stating: "In the meantime I have learned that most songs (maybe all) are published by Jimmy Fun, so the mark up I sent relates to Lars Ms position as writer only." Boström's response confirms that Malmros is not the publisher -- the only reason the filmmakers and Berggren were engaging in this interaction with Malmros in the first place -- thereby ending the four-months-long deadlock with Malmros.
However, if Steffan Boström has only just learned this information about Jimmy Fun Music being the publisher "in the meantime," then why did he change the language from "publisher" to "writer" two months earlier in January?
The new information about Jimmy Fun Music prompts Trask, Hecht, and Berggren to audit Berggren's publishing rights in STIM. Up to this point, everyone that the filmmakers had spoken to in Sweden regarding the Broder Daniel publishing rights (including members of the band and Berggren himself) were under the impression that at one point, Jimmy Fun Music had controlled the publishing for the first three Broder Daniel albums but that that agreement had expired and that the rights had since reverted back to the individual band members.
The inquiry into the Broder Daniel publishing in STIM also reveals that Berggren's 2017 solo album Wolf's Heart had not been registered properly by Berggren's then--"team" (Woah Dad and United Stage) in STIM. Because of this, Berggren had not received any publishing royalties for his solo record. Berggren is then told by STIM that Spotify would not reimburse Berggren for the millions of streams accrued since 2017 as it is "not how Spotify's payment system works" and that Spotify does not keep a record of streams for more than a month (despite the fact that the play count of album's lead single – the third most-streamed song in Sweden that year – is displayed publicly on the platform).
Nevertheless, the discovery of the botched registration results in Berggren beginning to receive some money for Wolf's Heart and, as a result, Berggren is able to cease stealing food.
Shortly after the STIM discovery, in mid-March, New York City goes into lockdown for the COVID-19 pandemic and the filmmakers' plans for the Spring screenings of I'll Be Gone are paused indefinitely.
While in quarantine, Trask and Hecht decide to use the time to re-write and re-edit I'll Be Gone; they spend the next two weeks drafting a new cut.
Meanwhile in Sweden, Håkan Hellström releases a new single with the announcement of a double album release with Woah Dad to bookend Hellström's four sold-out stadium shows that summer. The Swedish media casually reports that Hellström's new single, ”Tillsammans i mörker,” steals intellectual property from "Seven Wonders" by Fleetwood Mac, "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" by REM, and the album art of Tony Molina.
Berggren writes to Trask and Hecht:
Joel Borg tried to call me today. Oscar tried to call me three times. But no texts. Joel Borg asked my management if they could call him. So they're hysterical about something. Neither Oscar nor Borg sent me any texts, just the calls.
It's so silly and strange that they would try to contact me at this point. What could I do to help them now if I wanted to!
Sara-Marta from Svd has tried to get in touch with Theo. Theo seemed upset or worried about that. He then talked to Lars about it. I then texted Sara-Marta that the evil side would be aware of her actives now since Lars has clearly sided with them.
The last time Trask and Hecht had heard from Sara-Marta Höglund was back in January when she had interviewed Trask and Hecht about the music industry corruption and alleged sexual abuse. Trask, Hecht, and Berggren wonder if Höglund is about to run her piece about the sexual abuse.
However, on April 13th, Höglund texts Berggren:
I am writing a report about BD and about the events that took place over the last few years. The report shows how many people have been badly burned by the actions of American filmmakers. Your former bandmates also ask themselves what your motive is for your actions towards them. Do you want to comment on the information or would you like to refer to previously stated that you do not trust the media?
Berggren forwards Höglund's text to Trask and Hecht with the message:
Got this from Sara-Märta. Looks like she's actually doing a piece for the corruption and not against it.
On April 14th, Hecht emails Höglund asking if the article for which Höglund was asking Berggren to comment was the same one for which Trask and Hecht had given Höglund an interview.
Höglund does not respond Hecht.
The next day, in the US, an international music business class at Drexel University in Philadelphia watches the new rough cut of I'll Be Gone, and Trask and Hecht join the class over Zoom to discuss the project and their experience making it. Although the cut is a very rough draft, the students fully understand the new direction and screening is a success. Trask and Hecht continue to move forward with the plan for the new film.
That same day, Hecht follows up with Höglund and again receives no response.
The next day, on April 16th, Hecht tweets (along with a screenshot of a Höglund email):
Hey @saramrta, is there a reason you haven't responded to my email or follow-up? You were extremely communicative in attempting to secure an interview with us in Jan for your article about "I.S." and rampant sexual abuse in the Swedish music industry. What changed?
Hecht receives no response. She follows up with another tweet (as well as another email screenshot):
.@saramrta Starting to look like you, a female journo, duped me, another female journo, into speaking on record about my experiences with "I.S." only to turn around & smear me for it. Really hope this isn't the case, esp in light of what happened w Filter (exact same thing)
Höglund responds by blocking Hecht on Twitter.
Hecht tweets again, this time at Höglund and the Swedish daily SvD:
Good thing I record/transcribe all of my conversations! (Yes, including our hour-long interview with @saramrta.) Your move, @SvD.
On April 18th, a member of the ME/CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) community in Sweden reaches out to Trask. The individual writes:
Have you seen the latest [Magasinet] Filter? There's an article about me/cfs claiming that the disease is psychological. This is wrong on every level, but we have lobbyists here in Sweden trying to discredit the patients and ME-experts. Their agenda is terrible. It looks like the article is written by the same journalist that wrote about your film. How did that end? Did they change the text?
The individual goes on to explain that ME/CFS experts and activists have been discussing this new Filter article and that one of their experts sent an email to Magasinet Filter reporter Oskar Sonn Lindell asking "what the agenda is, and why they only publish one side of it and false facts." The individual forwards the ME/CFS expert's email to Trask. After reviewing the material, Trask tells the individual she will email Magasinet Filter on behalf of the ME/CFS community as well.
Trask emails Lindell:
I’ve been getting messages this week from Swedes in the ME/CFS community telling me that the same journalist who smeared me in Magasinet Filter is now, out of nowhere, smearing the ME community. Your article has caused damage for the many disabled people who are already struggling to have their illness and limitations taken seriously, especially during this outbreak as they are immunocompromised.
Everyone thinks your article is a follow-up to your hit piece on Henrik. My opinion is that you were assigned to the piece as punishment. Care to clarify?
I don’t really expect an answer, just wanted to try and check in for the people who reached out to me who do not believe anyone at Filter will reply their emails as they have read what you guys did to us and Henrik.
Lindell does not reply Trask.
On April 23rd, Trask and Hecht make contact with Jimmy Fun Music and begin discussing the Broder Daniel music license needed for the film.
On April 27th, Hellström announces that his Summer 2020 Ullevi stadium shows have been rescheduled for Summer 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
On April 30th, Berggren informs Trask and Hecht that Sara-Marta Höglund's article for SvD has bee killed.
On May 15th, Håkan Hellström releases the first installment of his double LP Rampljus [Spotlight] with a video for single the "Alla drömmar är uppfyllda" ["All Dreams Are Fulfilled"], in which Hellström lifts the riff from "Baba O'Reily" by the Who (none of the songwriters of The Who are credited on the song). The single is a classic example of Hellström's method of "songwriting," which often involves taking copied riffs, melodies, and lyrics from a number of different (mostly) English-language songs and mashing them together into one "Håkan song."
Some examples of this are:
-"Det Kommer Aldrig Va Över För Mig" ["It Will" Never Be Over for Me"], which takes its opening intro riff from The Killers' "When You Were Young," its verse melody and instrumentation from U2's "New Year's Day," and its chorus melody from Bryan Adams' "Heaven."
-"Minnen Av Aprilhimlen" ["Memories of the April Sky"], the lyrics of which are comprised almost entirely of translated lyric fragments by Louis Armstrong, The Divine Comedy, The Beach Boys, Pavement, and The Stone Roses.
On June 10th, the filmmakers receive the signed Broder Daniel music license agreement from Jimmy Fun Music.
On June 15th, George Cederskog, Culture Editor of Swedish daily DN who interviewed Trask and Hecht in 2018, attempts to make contact with Berggren but is unsuccessful.
Berggren writes to Trask and Hecht:
George [Cederskog] is "in bed with" Ebba Lindqvist according to Oscar [Wallblom]. There is a media lockdown against me, bd and the film. So it's suspicious. Since the SvD slander piece fell through, are they trying something new maybe? Or does he in fact just want to talk to me about shoreline? I'm obviously not going to talk to him.
With all of the music rights finally cleared and with no further need to engage with Sweden, Trask and Hecht continue re-writing and re-editing the new version of I'll Be Gone with an expanded team.
On August 19th, independent Swedish film review website, Filmtopp.se, publishes an interview with Trask and Hecht (verified by Berggren), marking the first the information outlined on illbegonefilm.com is acknowledged by the Swedish media. Only Gaffa, a Swedish music publication, covers the article.
On September 3rd, Swedish network TV4 broadcasts Håkan Hellström - 20 år i rampljuset [Håkan Hellström - 20 Years in the Spotlight] a documentary about Håkan Hellström directed by former I’ll Be Gone producer Paul Blomgren DoVan and executive produced by Telegram, Woah Dad, Joel Borg, Niklas Lundell, and Tamiami Records (Oscar Wallblom). The program contains footage from Håkan Hellström’s 2016 NYC shows which had been directed and produced by Trask and Hecht for I’ll Be Gone.
A brief reminder/summary of how Håkan Hellström personally came to own what was originally intended to be Trask and Hecht’s footage:
In February 2016, the day after meeting Trask and Hecht for the first time (and after consultation with Joel Borg), Blomgren DoVan suggested that he, Trask, and Hecht film Håkan Hellström’s upcoming shows in New York City for I’ll Be Gone. Despite Trask and Hecht insisting on multiple occasions that they had no interest in filming the shows and did not want to get involved with Hellström or Woah Dad, Blomgren DoVan insisted that that footage would be crucial in securing Swedish funding.
One year later, in February 2017, Trask and Hecht were caught in a legal dispute with Blomgren DoVan — Blomgren DoVan insisted that the filmmakers pay him over $80,000 for his production expenses (almost half of which came from shooting the Hellström NYC shows) within 30 days or he would sell the footage (of which he had no legal ownership) to another party. Trask and Hecht had investors prepared to fund the project, but the investors first needed to see a signed agreement with Blomgren DoVan stating that the filmmakers owned the copyright to all of the footage before releasing the money to the filmmakers and, in turn, Blomgren DoVan. However, Blomgren DoVan refused to sign such an agreement, instead countering with a one-page “woefully inadequate” pseudo-legal document and insisting that he would only release the footage to the filmmakers after receiving full payment.
It was at this point that Trask and Hecht, upon reviewing all of the legal documents involved in the film’s production, discovered that a contract in Swedish that Blomgren DoVan had signed with Håkan Hellström’s personal company, Tro & Tvivel AB, was, in fact, entirely different from how Blomgren DoVan had originally represented it to the filmmakers. The contract was supposed to be an appearance release—a standard document required in order show an individual’s likeness in a film or TV program—for Hellström’s NYC shows between Hellström and No Plus Ones Productions, Trask and Hecht’s company. Instead, the document was an agreement between Håkan’s father/business manager, Björn Hellström (on behalf of Tro & Tvivel), and Blomgren DoVan’s company, Gothenburg Film Studios, which stated that Tro & Tvivel owned the footage and that, should Tro & Tvivel commercially exploit the footage, Gothenburg Film Studios would receive a percentage of the profits. Additionally, Gothenburg Film Studios was permitted to commercially exploit the footage but only if Tro & Tvivel approved the content of whatever the footage was included in.
With proof that Blomgren DoVan was attempting to force the filmmakers to pay for footage that they unknowingly did not own and could not use, Blomgren DoVan eliminated the Håkan Hellström NYC show costs from the total sum of expenses he claimed to be owed by the filmmakers.
However, Trask and Hecht found another document: a location release—a contract that permits filming in a venue—which they had negotiated with Livenation (owner of Gramercy Theater, the NYC venue of the Hellström shows) and which was signed by Live Nation and No Plus Ones Productions. Additionally, the crew deal memos—work-for-hire contracts which specify terms of a job including pay and role/credit—that Trask and Hecht had negotiated with the NYC film crew (camera operators and sound recordists) were signed between the crew and No Plus Ones Productions and specified that the work was for a documentary called I’ll Be Gone. This meant that, although Blomgren DoVan had effectively given ownership of the footage to Håkan Hellström, any exploitation of the footage by anyone other than No Plus Ones Productions for anything other than a documentary called I’ll Be Gone would be illegal. It was upon this revelation that Blomgren DoVan engaged legal counsel.
Ultimately, months later in the summer of 2017, a settlement was reached: Blomgren DoVan would give the filmmakers their footage and the filmmakers would correct the chain of custody for the Håkan Hellström NYC show footage, meaning that Hellström and Blomgren DoVan would be in the free and clear to exploit it. The filmmakers also still had to pay Blomgren DoVan ~$60,000 for the expenses he claimed to have incurred, and because their investors had already committed their funding to another project due to the seemingly unending legal battle with Blomgren DoVan, Berggren paid the ~$60,000 himself (despite Blomgren DoVan telling Berggren that he would give the footage to Berggren for free if he promised not to give it to Trask and Hecht).
As part of the settlement agreement, Trask, Hecht, and Blomgren DoVan agreed to a mutual nondisclosure agreement and a non-disparagement clause, meaning that all parties would be prohibited from discussing what transpired between them (including the events recounted above) or making disparaging statements about the other, in public or in private. However, Blomgren DoVan breached these clauses when he made false and defamatory statements on the record to Magasinet Filter in 2018.
Additionally, Blomgren DoVan requested that any mention of him or his company, Gothenburg Film Studios, be scrubbed from I’ll Be Gone. Trask and Hecht obliged, but they made no such request about their credits with regards to the Håkan Hellström NYC show footage nor the credits of the NYC crew of camera operators and sound recordists who Trask and Hecht had hired to capture the shows and who were legally entitled to crediting per their crew deal memos.
Regardless, when the footage eventually airs in Håkan Hellström - 20 år i rampljuset on TV4 on September 3rd, 2020, none of the NYC crew are credited. Prominently credited, however, are Paul Blomgren DoVan, Telegram, Woah Dad, Joel Borg, Niklas Lundell, and Oscar Wallblom.