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 to be elligible 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 an 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, definitely 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 guitarist/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 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 the 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 and Publisher.
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. 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.
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.
Neckvall, Gilbert, and Bruna sign the license shortly after the email from Berggren. Jensen, Malmros, and Hellström say they will sign and 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 article 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 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 a month earlier, the filmmakers continue to receive a steady stream of support from Sweden as well as new disclosures from additional victims of the people associated with Telegram Studios. The Swedish media, however, remains silent on the matter. Trask and Hecht monitor the online activity in Sweden, which is a mixture of support and outrage, stepping in to comment only when the criticism turns to slander.
On January 8th, Berggren releases a public statement addressing some of the issues raised online about the website and the filmmakers clarifying that he fully consented to the film and supports the actions of the filmmakers. In his statement, Berggren also reveals he is working on new music. The next day, the Swedish media runs a brief news item on Berggren’s "new music update" but continues to suppress any and all mention of the detailed and heavily-sourced information outlined on the film’s website.
Following Berggren’s public statement, the emails and messages from Swedes to the filmmakers increase with more interest in viewing the film, further reports from victims, and a few reach-outs from 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 and the continued silence regarding the issues raise on the film's website, Berggren, Trask, and Hecht do not trust the Swedish media.
On January 10th, Jensen signs the license with a small amendment request which the filmmakers accommodate. Berggren begins communicating with Malmros separately as Malmros is now the only outstanding signature needed for the license.
On the US side, the website’s illustration of the conflict has successfully enabled the filmmakers’ own network to organize and begin plans for the US roll-out.
Berggren continues to exchange texts and emails with Malrmos, who insists that the continued withholding of his signature on the license is pending a lawyer’s review 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 and entities exposed on the website and points out to Malmros that if his signature becomes the last remaining hindrance for the film, then Malmros will be publicly represented as the reason the film cannot be released. Malmros accuses Berggren of threatening him.
On January 26th, Malmros sends Berggren a long 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 he feels it is “negative." Malmros states that this incoming offer will be a “take it or leave it” deal.
On January 28th, the filmmakers, Berggren, and Berggren’s management receive an email from Malmros’ legal team with amendments to the film’s licensing contract. In the amendments, Malmros stipulates that Berggren, Trask, and Hecht will retract their statements and published research regarding the behind-the-scenes conflict during the making of I’ll Be Gone 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.
Berggren, Trask, and Hecht do not accept the terms of Malmros’ contract. The filmmakers publish the contract with annotations.