Music d n u o s d n a edition
Utrecht says Yes Yes to Nono George Sluizer back with Dark Blood Antoinette Beumer in Toronto
The Deflowering of Eva van End, Michiel ten
Star Profile: Jelka van Houten Issue #8 September 2012 Autumn Issue
A publication by the Netherlands Film Fund and EYE Film Institute Netherlands
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View from the edge Colophon
José Luis Rebordinos, Director of the San Sebastian International Film Festival, reflects on Dutch cinema
6-7 Sister Act:
Antoinette Beumer discusses her Toronto selection Jackie, starring Holly Hunter and the Van Houten sisters, Carice and Jelka
8-9 Unfinished Business:
George Sluizer presents Dark Blood, a film started in 1993 but abandoned after star River Phoenix’s death during production. The director talks to SeeNL
10-11 Sound Effective:
A profile of Dutch prolific sound-master Michel Schöpping
12-13 Wired for Sound:
The business of transforming a film through the application of sound
14-15 Nono, The Zigzag Kid: Director Vincent Bal and producer Burny Bos discuss their muchanticipated Toronto selection
16-17 Petra &ME:
Producer Petra Goedings has raised the bar in the areas of creative production and finance. She talks to See NL
18-19 Feeling Composed: Leading Dutch film composer Fons Merkies gets musical with See NL
20-21 Music Maestros:
Composers Paul M van Brugge and Loek Dikker discuss their highly impressive bodies of work
22-23 Tokyo, Silent City:
Threes Anna’s culinary drama is selected for San Sebastian. She talks Tokyo and fish with See NL
24-25 Widening the Net:
Holland Film Meeting chief Signe Zeilich Jensen on the Utrecht event that puts co-production top of the agenda
26-27 Kids and Biz:
New Cinekid for Professionals boss Fleur Winters talks to See NL
28-29 All about Eva
The Deflowering of Eva van End is selected for Toronto 2012. Debutant director Michiel ten Horn talks about his not-so-typical Dutch family film
30-31 Made in Holland:
A listing of upcoming Dutch films
Jackie star Jelka van Houten
SEE NL is published four times per year by EYE Film Institute Netherlands and The Netherlands Film Fund and is distributed to international film professionals.
strongly embraced, and been embraced by, the international film scene. I believe that, in general, the cinema created by the new Dutch directors has the same characteristics as the cinema of the new directors within other countries, offering visionary insight and overcoming similar dilemmas with high degrees of skill, thought and versatility. However the proposals made by new Dutch filmmakers are normally more risky, more personal and they look for new forms of expression. Some of them succeed, but others don’t. From the perspective of a film festival such as ours, it is easy to work with Dutch cinema thanks to the collaboration with the Eye Film Institute Netherlands (formerly Holland Film). As for Dutch festivals such as IFFR (Rotterdam), they are of vital importance, especially from an industry point of view. Rotterdam is one of the most important events within the film calendar to encounter professionals within the international industry, and of course it marks the beginning of the business year.
3 View from the Edge:
José Luis Rebordinos, Director of the San Sebastian International Film Festival Dutch cinema is becoming increasingly rich and offers a film festival like San Sebastian a wide variety of daring and innovative projects. It seems to me that in the last few years the Dutch industry has evolved in a very positive way. An excellent example of this is Threes Anna’s Tokyo-based SILENT CITY, which was loved by our Selection Committee. The film will screen in our New Directors section. It is a bittersweet story, with slight touches of comedy, that talks about the inability to communicate between human beings as well as about the difficulty of understanding between different cultures; but most of all it is a beautiful portrait of a strong, but fragile woman, played by an excellent actress in Laurence Roothooft. Over the past two decades directors such as Paul Verhoeven, Alex van Warmerdam, Nanouk Leopold, Victor Nieuwenhuijs, Maartje Seyferth and Mijke de Jong have, among many others, led the way in bringing Dutch films to cinema screens and festivals all over the world. Nevertheless we should not forget new directors such as Sacha Polak and Threes Anna, who have
Editors in chief: Claudia Landsberger (EYE), Jonathan Mees (Netherlands Film Fund) Executive editor: Nick Cunningham Contributors: Geoffrey Macnab, Melanie Goodfellow, José Luis Rebordinos Concept & Design: Lava. nl, Amsterdam Layout: def., Amsterdam Printing: Roto Smeets Grafiservices Printed on FSC paper Circulation: 2000 copies © All rights reserved: The Netherlands Film Fund and EYE Film Institute Netherlands 2012 Contact Sandra den Hamer CEO EYE Film Institute Netherlands E firstname.lastname@example.org Claudia Landsberger Head of EYE international EYE Film Institute Netherlands E email@example.com EYE Film Institute Netherlands PO BOX 74782 1070 BT Amsterdam The Netherlands T +31 20 589 1400 W www.eyefilm.nl Doreen Boonekamp CEO Netherlands Film Fund E firstname.lastname@example.org Dorien van de Pas Head of Feature Film Netherlands Film Fund E D.van.de.Pas@filmfonds.nl Ger Bouma Head of Intl. Co-productions Netherlands Film Fund E email@example.com Jonathan Mees Head of Communications Netherlands Film Fund E firstname.lastname@example.org Netherlands Film Fund Pijnackerstraat 5 1072 JS Amsterdam The Netherlands T +31 20 570 7676 W www.filmfonds.nl
Cover still: Nono, the Zigzag Kid Director: Vincent Bal Script: Vincent Bal Production: BosBros, N279
Dark Blood Director: George Sluizer Script: Jim Barton, rewrite by George Sluizer Production: 2012:
Entertainment in co-production with Prime Time (BE). See pages 14-15
Sluizer Films, 1993: Scala Productions – Fine Line Features. See pages 8-9 3
Kauwbo Silent City y
Selected forKoole’s Boudewijn San Sebastian Berklin 2012: Generation New Directors. selection is about a boy from a broken home who befriends a jackdaw. Silent City is the story of
Rosa, a young Dutch “The initial woman, adrift idea ingrew the city. out of a childhood Her ambition ismemory to learnof a crowart the that of preparing came to my fish window from onefor of three Japan’s months master one spring.” chefs. See pages 22-23 16-17
Selected for Toronto 2012.
Photo: Victor Arnolds
In terms of tone and atmosphere, the film evokes road classics such as Thelma and Louise and Paris Texas, films that Beumer studied before commencement of photography. See pages 6-7 Jackie Director: Antoinette Beumer Script: Marnie Blok, Karen van Holst Pellekaan Production: Eyeworks Film & TV Drama in cooperation with Inspire Pictures
Silent City Director: Threes Anna Script: Threes Anna Production: KeyFilm in co-production with Samsa Film (LU), Skyline Entertainment (BE) Sales: NonStop Sales 4
Sister Act If enlisting the services of the Van Houten sisters wasn’t enough Carice is Holland’s leading thespian export while the country and western singing star Jelka makes her lead debut - director Antoinette Beumer elevated the international prospects of her new film Jackie no end by persuading the Oscar-winning Holly Hunter to play the eponymous lead. Not that Hunter needed much persuading. In the film twin sisters in their thirties, Sofie and Daan, leave their gay father and his boyfriend behind in the Netherlands to find their birth mother after they receive a plea for help from a hospital in the US. When they arrive in the American mid-west (the film was shot in Albuquerque) they encounter a spiky, intransigent and, at least initially, very non-maternal woman living in a trailer. Her bleak world seems a million miles from Sofie and Daan’s comfortable existence back in Amsterdam. As the film segues satisfyingly into road genre, however, barriers between all three are gradually dismantled before a dramatic climax in New Mexico. Beumer had assumed that she would be hiring a good but relatively unknown actress to play Jackie. Holly Hunter’s involvement came via the director’s sister Famke Janssen, a friend of Hunter. Janssen also knew Hunter’s agent which helped get the script higher up the pecking order. And after that things went swimmingly - sort of. Beumer takes up the story.
“Holly said herself after reading the script that she was Jackie, and that nobody else was going to play the part, and that was good to hear,” she explains. “So I flew to New York, but we had a load of negotiations that didn’t go so well. For the Dutch producers (Eyeworks Film & TV) it was completely different having to deal with American contracts and lawyers, which is a complete other way of doing business, and they thought that we may have to find another actress. But Holly always said to me, whatever happens I’m going to do it.”
“And Jelka was afraid to be in the movie with her sister because she isn’t really experienced yet,” Beumer continues. “She’s more of a singer. She has done a lot of musicals but she was never the lead in a movie. Carice is of course our number one famous actress who is winning all the awards that you can win in Holland. But in the end I think they both did a wonderful job, and really overcame all of their fears.” In terms of tone and atmosphere, the film evokes road classics such as Thelma and Louise and Paris Texas, films that Beumer studied before commencement of photography. She was also keen to infuse Jackie with a high degree of spontaneity, especially given the limitations on her budget and the small number of shooting days in the US (25 in total).
‘Holly said that she was Jackie...’ Her role, effectively mute for the first 20 minutes of screen time, requires a lot of physicality, despite having her leg in a cast. No less intense were the demands made of the Van Houtens who were asked to play sisters very much at odds with one another. Their roles, Beumer argues, reprised the sibling complexities evident within not only their own lives but that of Beumer herself, sister to two well-known actresses.
“I worked in a totally different way to how I ever worked before,” she explains. “It was an experiment. I was thinking I must find a way to shoot these three ladies in an RV, so I came up with the idea to rehearse separately with Holly away from Carice and Jelka, as I didn’t want the three to meet each other in advance. Also I wanted to shoot in chronological order which was a challenge.”
“When we really got into it Carice and Jelka both discovered that it was difficult to make this movie together,” she admits. “They had to deal with things. You always have a certain role in the family. If you are with other people you can be more yourself, and when you are older you develop. But somehow with your family you always stay the same. They always see you in a certain way. Carice and Jelka saw each other in a certain way that was sometimes difficult to let go with acting.”
“I did very thorough rehearsals firstly in Holland, and then also did a couple of days with Holly, but then we just let go and improvised every scene,” she points out. “We always shot with two cameras to give as much freedom as possible, and it worked out very well. Holly liked it a lot. She immediately loved the idea of working that way. She loved being in her part all the time. I would just say ‘action’ and whatever happened happened.”
Photo: Victor Arnolds
The road movie Jackie, the latest film of box-office savvy Antoinette Beumer, was selected for Toronto 2012 competition. The director talks to Nick Cunningham.
Jackie Director: Antoinette Beumer Script: Marnie Blok, Karen van Holst Pellekaan Production: Eyeworks Film & TV Drama in cooperation with Inspire Pictures 6
Jelka and Carice van Houten
Unfinished Business 80-year-old filmmaker George Sluizer has finally completed Dark Blood... nearly 20 years later than originally planned. He talks to Geoffrey Macnab.
negative was about to be destroyed. He decided to save the footage. The insurers, he believes, turned a blind eye to what he was doing.
“He never had a dead man talking to him like that,” Sluizer asserts. “He was a little surprised. He operated on me anyway and succeeded in keeping me alive.”
In 1993, after the sudden death of the movie’s 23-year-old star River Phoenix, director George Sluizer abandoned the project Dark Blood. “At that time, no-one was interested in whatsoever way in trying to finish the film,” he recalls. “The financiers, not. The producers, not. The insurers, not. Not even myself. It was a rather intimate film. We needed close-ups. This was not a film where you could just show legs of someone running and pretend it was the same film. Everybody was finally in favour of letting the film go.”
“They knew about it and they had the key, which they were willing to give to me.”
After a lengthy period of rehabilitation, Sluizer wanted to go back to work. He knew he had “to do something small.” He wasn’t in a fit state to shoot an epic new movie. He therefore made the documentary Homeland (2010), about the Middle East and the IsraeliPalestinian conflict. At the same time, he felt the urge finally to complete Dark Blood.
“Neither were interested in the material because it was nonedited. In my contract, I had (the stipulation) that the material could not be edited during the shooting,” the director recalls. “I had a deal that the negative would be edited immediately after shooting.” There was a mass of footage which didn’t make sense to anyone other than the director. Finally in late 1999, the insurers decided they would scrap the material, which was housed in LA. “They were fed up with paying storage costs.” Sluizer, then back in Holland, received a message that the
“I had to decide to go fast if I wanted to finish before it was too late!” Sluizer says of his rush to finish the movie. “I am still here... I guess if you ask my collaborators I am just as tough as I have always been... What keeps me alive is working. If I stopped, I guess I would die the next day.”
‘It became a drive, a must, an urgency’
On its own, the film material was simply a historical curiosity. This was the last footage ever shot of River Phoenix, a young actor seen by some as the early 1990s’ answer to James Dean. Even so, there was no rush to invest in the conservation or completion of Dark Blood. The director struggled in vain to find a supporter like the late Henri Langlois, the maverick French co-founder of the Cinematheque Francaise, a figure who would do anything to save films he admired. “He would keep this fucking stuff in the bathroom if he had no space!”
“After 2007, it became a drive, a must, an urgency. I felt it was probably worthwhile. I remembered that people told me it was good material 20 years before. I guess that I am a craftsman in the sense that I don’t like unfinished products.” Sluizer didn’t want to see his own creative work or that of his highly skilled technicians and cast go to waste. He has spent two years editing the material. The director himself paid for much of the post-production. He also received support from the Netherlands Film Fund.
In 2007, Sluizer suffered an aneurysm. He was told by doctors that he wouldn’t live. Against enormous odds, he survived. He claims he went for five hours without oxygen to his heart or brain. The surgeon in Lyon who plucked him out of what was thought to be a terminal coma was startled when Sluizer suddenly shouted: ‘Hurry up operating on me. I’ve got a plane to LA! I have a film to finish!’
In February 2012, Sluizer was given further bad news regarding his health. “The most optimistic (doctor) gave me six months. The least optimistic said you should die before you get out of my office!” Nonetheless, Sluizer has finished the post-production and hopes to be in Utrecht for its
Photo: Mark Kohn
The insurers paid out and the production was closed down. The material that Sluizer had already shot (75% of the script) was put into storage. The bank that had cashflowed the movie and the insurance company both claimed that they owned the negative. By 1999, the two feuding parties still had not reached a settlement.
The director’s intention was to save the film from “moneyminded Americans.” At that stage, he had no specific intention to complete the movie but Sluizer took the footage back to Europe. Finally, in 2009, he brought it to Holland. “We had 700 kilos of material,” he recalls. “That’s the (picture) negative, the soundtrack (negative) and positive.”
premiere (and for a retrospective of his work.)
Dark Blood Director: George Sluizer Script: Jim Barton, rewrite by George Sluizer Production: 2012:
Judy Davis and River Phoenix
Sluizer Films, 1993: Scala Productions – Fine Line Features 8
Sound Effective Sergei Loznitsa’s In the Fog, Victor Kossakovsky’s Vivan Las Antipodas!, Marco Van Geffen’s Among Us and Rebecca Daly’s The Other Side of Sleep are but a few of Michel Schöpping’s recent credits. His imdb entry reads like a film festival line-up. In fact he says he has all but given up trying to take holidays in August given the regularity the productions he works on go to Venice and Toronto. Last summer, he was rushing to complete the eclectic, pan-global soundscape of Kossakovsky’s Vivan Las Antipodes, combining sound and music from either ends of the earth, ahead of its opening night slot in Venice. “Kossakovsky is just an amazing guy, so flamboyant and so secure in what he wants to tell. We spent a couple of days in Berlin talking about the sound before the shoot… that’s the key to great sound, thinking about it during development… if a sound isn’t written into the script it’s very difficult to put it in during post,” says Schöpping. “We had planned to take our time with the edit of Vivan Las Antipodas! but it got selected for Venice and we were suddenly in a huge rush... We had to hire seven extra sound guys to get it finished.” This year, he spent much of the summer working on long-time collaborators Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth’s The Fifth Season, which premiered in competition in Venice before heading to Toronto. Its next festival stop is the Busan
International Film Festival in October. A co-production between Belgian Bo Films, Entre Chien et Loup and Dutch Molenwiek Film, and made with the backing of the support of the Netherlands Film Fund, the film explores what happens when Spring fails to happen and wildlife starts to die, as seen through the eyes of three children living in the remote Ardennes Forest in Southern Belgium.
“When I am on set with a production I collect songs. I like to ask the actors and other people working on the film to sing a song. One of the songs in Khadak is an original, recorded one night when we were sitting around drinking and chatting. It was so beautiful, it ended up in the film,” Schöpping reveals. Khadak marked something of a breakthrough picture for the musicologist Schöpping, who set up Klink Audio in Amsterdam in 1993, working non-stop in the ensuing decade, mainly on documentaries and TV series. “Just prior to Khadak, I decided I was working too hard and decided to stop completely… but during this period I ended up taking over the post-production of a film for a director friend who had fallen sick. To say thank you, the producers (Lemming Film) gave me a night in the bed and breakfast belonging to Peter and Jessica… it was actually a set up. The filmmaker had been convinced we would work well together.” Schöpping’s next musical collaboration to hit the big screen is Belgian filmmaker Felix Van Groeningen’s musical romantic tragedy The Broken Circle Breakdown, set against the bluegrass music scene, which will open the Flanders Film Festival in October. The picture, a co-production between Belgian outfit Menuet and Dutch Topkapi Films, revolves around the unlikely but passionate relationship between a hippy and a tattoo artist which unravels when their young daughter dies. Schöpping worked closely with Van Groeningen on the spine-
‘Great sound… think about it in development’ “It’s a tricky one,” comments Schöpping speaking at the end of July mid-mix. “What’s specific and difficult is that nature stops and towards the end of the film there are no more birds, no more cows – shooting in the middle of nature and creating silence is quite something.” It is a very different process from Schöpping’s early collaborations with husband and wife team Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth on their productions Khadak (2006) and Altiplano (2009) for which he created rich, exotic soundscapes taking inspiration from the music and raw sound of their Mongolian and Andean settings. “On Khadak, I spent six weeks during the pre-production and shoot in Mongolia collaborating with a band found by Peter. I worked closely with them, taking elements of their music and weaving it into a new composition for the film. I would write in the evening and then we would work during the day,” he explains.
tingling soundtrack for the film, sung by lead actors Veerle Baetens and Johan Heldenbergh. “Jan Deca, who did an incredible job on the set, and I wanted the singing to be live but Felix was very scared of putting stress on his actors. We set up this crazy system where we pre-recorded everything in the studio and used the playback for the shoot. Unbeknownst to the actors we were recording their voices during the shoot,” explains Schöpping. “I ended up with 50 tracks of music and we could choose… Sometimes the live performance was incredible so we went with that, other times we went with pre-recorded track.” Yet another example of where Schöpping’s pre-production preparation paid off!
‘When I am on set with a production I collect songs’
Photo: Bas Losekoot
Michel Schöpping is one of the Netherlands most respected sound designers and composers for art-house feature films. Melanie Goodfellow sounds him out.
Wired for Sound Top Dutch sound designers Herman Pieëte, Peter Warnier and Jan Willem van den Brink talk to Melanie Goodfellow about their craft. Holland’s leading directorial talent won’t be the only thing on “display” at this year’s Netherlands Film Festival. Listen carefully and you will hear the work of the country’s top sound designers too. The festival’s opening film Nono, The Zigzag Kid features the sound design of Herman Pieëte, who had the task of re-creating the soundscape of the film’s early 1970s setting, tracking down BBC sound archives from the period to get it just right. “It’s really nice to work on a period film like this… a city in the early 70s sounded completely different from today,” he says. “We had to look for the right sound and keep in the style. Also, it’s about a boy with a great imagination so you don’t know whether it’s real sound or a sound in his head. It was an interesting challenge.” Interestingly, Pieëte is the third generation in his family to work in sound. His father Joop Pieëte was a sound recordist and mixer who worked on classics such as George Sluizer’s The Vanishing and his grandfather owned studios with sound facilities. After studying at the Netherlands Film and Television Academy, he worked in television where he got his feature break on Martin Koolhoven’s debut TV movie the 1960s-set Suzy Q, starring Carice van Houten in her first lead role. “It was the first film where I was responsible for the sound, I did
the design and the mix,” says Pieëte, who now works out of his Amsterdam-based studio under the Sensesound banner. Since then, he has designed the sound for more than 70 productions including a number of Koolhoven’s later films (such as Winter in Wartime), finding time to supervise dialogue on the likes of Paul Verhoeven’s Black Book. His international work includes Hungarian director Agnes Kocsis’ Adrienn Pal and Danish Bille August’s South Africa-set Goodbye Bafana.
award-winning films Character (1998 foreign-language Oscar) and Wild Mussels (2000) to David Verbeek’s more recent film R U There (2010), which he worked on in Paris with respected French mixer Bruno Tarrière. Normally, however, Warnier works out of his Amsterdam audio post-production facility Warnier Posta, which specialises in feature films, TV drama and film documentaries. Jan Willem van den Brink, founder of the Amsterdam-based audio post-production company SoundAdventure, is another musician who went into sound design, turning his hand to composition as well. (He is currently working on the musical score for NL Film’s Doctor Tinus.) “I am a piano player, specialising in jazz. I trained at the Royal Conservatory where I studied art of sound,” reveals van den Brink, whose recent credits include the Stricken (Reinout Oerlemans), and The Happy Housewife (Antoinette Beumer) as well as Anna van der Heide’s local hit Fidgety Bram. He also worked the sound on Tom Fassaert’s documentary An Angel in Doel, about a Belgian village which is being swallowed up by the expansion of the city of Antwerp on its doorstep. The tale of a hyperactive boy with a big imagination, Fidgety Bram posed a particular challenge, says van den Brink, for the way in which the film popped in and out of the child’s mind – capturing his daydreams with animation. “There’s a scene where he is daydreaming about a fly – I created the buzz of the fly by combining the sounds of a fly,
Good rhythm is important for sound design... Peter Warnier, who designed the sound for Golden Calf contenders Iván López Núñez’s My Life on Planet C and Maarten Treurniet’s The Heineken Kidnapping, fell into sound through a less conventional route as the bass-player in a band, when he met the then-studio engineer Treurniet. “Maarten ended up going to the film academy and because I had knowledge of sound and audio technique through being in bands he asked me to help him out with his first films,” says Warnier. “A good sense of rhythm is also important for sound designing, mixing and editing… you couldn’t study sound as a separate subject at the time but you can now.” Warnier wound up supervising sound for a number of Treurniet’s contemporaries at the academy and today has more than 100 film credits to his name ranging from
Jan Willem van den Brink Still: Fidgety Bram
airplane and motorcycle. It was a subtle way of presenting the idea that the boy’s view of the world was slightly different from the norm,” explains van den Brink. In the case of An Angel in Doel, which van den Brink mixed with sound recorder Victor Horsting, the challenge was to create a soundscape capturing the sense of abandon in the village as its residents died or moved out. “We had to capture the sense of emptiness. That sort of thing is harder than working on action films. Action films are a lot of work but it’s obvious what you have to do. With a film like this, you have to experiment quite a bit to get it right,” he concludes.
Zigzag Reunion quite a long time to hear back from her. Then I sent a copy of Minoes and a long letter and she wrote back pretty quickly saying how charmed she was by the film and signed up for the part.” German actor Burghart Klaußner, whose recent credits include The White Ribbon and Invasion, plays the loveable crook Glick, and first-time actor Thomas Simon was cast as Nono. Jessica Zeylmaker also puts in a strong performance as Nono’s adorable stepmother. “It was difficult casting Nono, because the character is no longer a child but he’s not quite a teenager either,” says Bal. “We found Thomas by chance. He was playing at the house of another boy who was coming in for an audition and decided to come along as well for fun.” Bal is now in pre-production for his next film Brabaçonne, a musical comedy exploring the conflict between Belgium’s French-speaking Walloons and the Dutch-speaking Flemish community, set against the backdrop of the Belgian final of a European brass band competition. Produced by Brussels-based Eyeworks Film and TV Drama, the Belgian subsidiary of Dutch entertainment group Eyeworks International, the production plans to start shooting next autumn.
Rossellini comes from cinematic aristocracy... long time deliberating over where, and in which language to shoot the feature,” says Bal. The director says Grossman took a fairly hands-off approach to the adaptation. “Once in a while he would look at a draft of the script and we met once in Germany for a day to discuss it in depth. It was interesting, he trusted us and gave us a lot of freedom but every now and again there would be a detail in the script characterisation he would pick me up on,” he comments. “Once I suggested that Nono’s father would describe something with big gestures, and David said he thought they would be small – stuff like that.” Aside from securing the rights to adapt the novel, Bal and Bos’ other coup was signing up Isabella Rossellini as the mysterious cabaret singer Lola Ciperola. “She was my number one choice for Lola. I wanted someone with style and charisma. I thought of her because she comes from this cinematic aristocratic family and at the same time she is very warm and very human and this is how I saw the character,” explains Bal. “I first sent her the script and it took
development: Chez Nous, which he describes as a “romantic comedy for gay people”, and an as-yet-untitled dark comedy about four young men who get up to mischief on a cancer ward. Bos and Bal are also working on the adaptation of a second Annie M.G. Schmidt classic Wiplala, alongside Bos’ scriptwriting daughter Tamara Bos, who co-wrote Minoes. The dream team will then be truly united.
Veteran producer Bos, whose company is best known for its family entertainment pictures such as the recent release Fidgety Bram and past hits such as Winky’s Horse, says he is branching into more adult content this year with the launch of Big Bos Bros. The new arm already has two projects in
Nono, The Zigzag Kid Director: Vincent Bal Script: Vincent Bal Production: BosBros, N279
Entertainment in co-production with Prime Time (BE) 14
Photo: Greetje van Buggenhout
“I love the characters, the imagery and the mixture of adventure, emotion and humour.” Bos optioned the book in 2006 but it took the best part of five years to develop the script and get the finance off the ground. “Once you want to make something costing more than €2.5 million it gets complicated. We also spent a
Photo: Jaap Vrenegoor
A decade after their hit Minoes, director Vincent Bal and producer Burny Bos will open the Netherlands Film festival this year with the Isabella Rossellini starrer Nono, The Zigzag Kid. Melanie Goodfellow talks to the director/producer team. It is hard to believe it’s more than a decade since Carice Van Houten skipped across rooftops in her breakthrough big screen role as a cat trapped in a human body in Minoes, in the process attracting one million spectators in the Benelux alone. Some ten years later, Bal and Bos will unveil their latest collaboration to an expectant Dutch public when Nono, The Zigzag Kid opens the Netherlands Film Festival in late September. The film, produced with Els Vandevorst and Martin Koolhoven’s N279 Entertain ment, was also selected for Toronto 2012. An adaptation of Israeli writer David Grossman’s The Zigzag Kid, the picture revolves around the son of a famous detective who sets off in the company of notorious criminal Felix Glick and cabaret singer Lola Ciperola to discover the truth about his mother who died when he was a baby. “I spent a long time looking for something suitable for Vincent after Minoes but he didn’t like anything I suggested. Then someone tipped me off about The Zigzag Kid, I read the book and immediately thought it would be perfect for Vincent. Thankfully he agreed,” recounts Amsterdambased Bos, who produces under the Bos Bros moniker. “I was at a festival in Spain with Minoes when I read it (The Zigzag Kid) and thought it was a great book and something I would like to capture in images,” adds Bal.
She may be a creative producer par excellence but Petra Goedings of Dutch production house Phanta Vision is just as willing to get on the telephone (or on the road) to raise finance for her films from an increasingly loyal Dutch public. She discusses her particular modus operandi with Nick Cunningham. “At the heart of Phanta Vision is the desire to work with inspiring people who want to, in turn, inspire other people,” stresses leading Dutch producer Petra Goedings. “And with that comes a passion, seeing the effect films can have on people. I like to amaze people, that is what film is about. Otherwise what is the point.” With director Norbert ter Hall, the company is nearing the end of post-production on the romantic drama &ME, a co-production with Germany, Belgium and Germany. Dutch prospects for the &ME look very good after excellent test audience results, and the film will roll into Dutch cinemas in early 2013. Key to the film’s development was the efforts of Goedings and Ter Hall in raising equity finance both on the telephone and during a series of fund-raising roadshows across the Netherlands. After the Netherlands Film Fund contributed €450,000 in production support, some 312 Dutch individuals were advised of the fiscal advantages of investing in the film and each invested €4000, with a maximum loss a mere €291. In return these investors were invited on set, were able meet the actors, had dinner with the cast and key crew, and were each given the opportunity to perform as an
extra and eventually attend the premiere. Production coffers were subsequently bolstered by more than €1.24 million, in the process building an extensive base for the future marketing of the film. Each investor is an &ME advocate, and many are expected to invest in future Phanta Vision projects.
look people right in the eye and you promise things that you have to deliver. It’s like a child who has to work for his pocket money other than have it given to him. They understand the value of that money. Likewise, as a producer, you feel different.”
‘If we do it at all then we do it together’
“Continuity-wise, not from the perspective of a project but from the perspective of a business, it is a blessing to have equity money because you can move faster - you don’t have to wait for answers from committees,” Goedings points out. “And it generates a lot of commitment from the audience as these people spread the word. So to be always sharp on content and financing and marketing, it is better to have private investors as well.”
Netherlands Film Fund and we finished the financing with more support from Belgium. First international commitment, then domestic - it was totally the opposite way. But it gave me a lot of freedom. “But the whole process started with huge enthusiasm and a desire to provide something that is amazing and wonderful. When you can persuade people to believe in this fiction then that is magical. And when the magic is there I get very enthusiastic.”
Goedings is an avowed coproducer, not only because she is a great admirer of the talented international professionals with whom she has worked closely in the past but more practically because if she wants to make a truly ambitious film, then she must set an ambitious budget, and these days that can only be realised with financial help beyond the Netherlands.
Director Ter Hall was particularly effective during the &ME roadshow sessions and, according to Goedings, understood his film all the better after every verbal pitch. But he is not unique in being tied into this financing process. Every director who wants to make a film with Goedings must roll up their sleeves and get pitching. “I do this with all my directors,” she confirms. “If they come to Phanta Vision, one of the rules I set out in advance is that if we do it at all then we do it together, and the passion has to come from both the producer and the director, so it’s not all one-way traffic.”
“I always take the script as the basis, and then, together with the wishes of the director, the budget is determined,” she professes. “Then I will decide to find that money and if it is more than I can raise just within Holland then I will find it somewhere else. That means that if people have a dream to make a film, and that is realisable within my borders, then I will go for it. &ME would never have been made if the international producers never came along. It was crucial to this production.
Inevitably, a producer will feel much more attached to a film that takes such Herculean efforts to finance, and Goedings is no exception. “Everything has to do with being a cultural entrepreneur, but this way you feel much more responsibility to make it a success. Because you
“After getting the commitment from broadcaster NTR and from our longtime partner in Belgium (Eyeworks Film and TV drama) for Belgian equity money, we then got support from Germany. Then we successfully received the production support from the
&ME by Norbert ter Hall starring Mark Waschke, Teun Luijkx and Verónica Echegui
Photo: Marian van de Veen
No, the composer says with surprising modesty, he is “not a good instrumentalist.” Merkies played guitar as a teenager and used to write pop songs with a friend. “But I was quite good, I discovered, in songwriting. My ears are pretty good. I hear music but I can’t play it myself.” What is clear is that Merkies has a ferocious work ethic. “Writing music is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration,” he suggests. “It is always fun work and I like different styles of music. I prefer to do different kinds of projects from small experimental films to big orchestral films.” Early in his career, Merkies was working with filmmaker Pieter Verhoeff. He wrote what he thought was a stirring score in the vein of Ennio Morricone. “He (Verhoeff) was really disappointed. He said this is bad music for the film and asked what had happened.” In hindsight, Merkies sees this as an invaluable lesson. He took Verhoeff’s criticism on the chin and went away and wrote new music that worked better for the film. Composing for movies, he realised, was about “the cooperation between image and sound.” It was a collaborative
process, not a vehicle for a composer to show off his ingenuity. He quickly learned the tricks of his trade too: for example, how to to crank up the tension by slowing the tempo down, how to underline humour with playful, Felliniesque scoring and how to use music to illustrate a character’s traits.
styles. “Normally, in arthouse, you tend to use less music than in horror,” Merkies reflects. “The main difference maybe is that in a (genre) film like Amphibious 3D, the music tells the story in a way as well as the image does. In arthouse film, if I generalise, it’s not normal that you really tell the story with the music.”
As if to underline his adaptability, Merkies wrote, in rapid succession, the music for Jean van de Velde’s football-themed rites of passage/buddy movie All Stars (1997) and forbidding arthouse love story The Polish Bride (1998). On the latter film, he threw out his original music late on in the editing process and “recorded a totally different score” which he wrote within four days. This worked far better because it related more closely to the earthy, primal imagery that director Karim Traïdia was putting on screen.
Thus far, Merkies has done nearly all his work in the Netherlands. He is open to taking on international assignments, just as long as it is practical. A decade ago, two films he wrote the music for, Zus & Zo (2001) and Twin Sisters (2002) were nominated for Oscars in consecutive years. He had the chance then to pitch for work on Hollywood movies. However, he realised that he would have to uproot himself from Holland and move to Los Angeles if he really wanted his career to blossom. At the time, his family was settled and he had young children. Besides, he enjoyed his career in the Netherlands and was already extremely busy. Now, he’s ready to reconsider. “I’d love to do some projects in foreign countries, not because I am not satisfied with the work I am doing here but out of curiosity!”
Yes, the composer is there to serve the film. Nonetheless, Merkies believes that the best film music can stand on its own too and even be performed in the concert hall. It’s just that its first function must be to strengthen the film for which it has been created. What’s more his commissions come from many different sources. Sometimes, it’s producers who hire him (for example, he has worked many times with San Fu Maltha’s Fu Works) and sometimes the directors come to him directly. Different films call for different
On most films, Merkies will orchestrate the musical parts himself. He is usually working on several projects at once. He’ll often come up with ingenious instrumentation to reflect the subject matter of the film. On recent feature Fidgety Bram (2012), which features a child with attention deficit disorder, he used toy instruments to portray the child’s inner world. “It’s always fun to have that kind of idea...what I like about film music is that each film is a new world - and you can create your own sound for this new world!”
‘It’s all about the co-operation between image and sound’
‘I prefer to do different kinds of projects, from small experimental films to big orchestral films’
Photo: Yvonne Witte
Fons Merkies is one of the most versatile and prolific film composers in the Netherlands. Since he made his debut in the mid 1990s with Once Beaten, Twice Shy (1994), he has written music for arthouse movies, horror pics, comedies, documentaries and TV dramas. Merkies also has one of the most unlikely backgrounds of any Dutch composer - he actually started life as an actor. He talks with music with Geoffrey Macnab.
Van Brugge argues it is a craft as much as an art...
in my ear,” he says of the day he quit his course. “I felt totally alone...I decided I had to find my own way. That was the beginning of everything I did with music.”
Like many of his colleagues, Paul M. van Brugge, who studied at the Rotterdam Conservatory, didn’t set out to compose music for movies. By chance, in the late 1980s, van Brugge (born in 1959) met the Argentinean director Alejandro Agresti, who had come to Holland to look for funding. He soon began to work with Agresti on his 1987 feature, El Amor Es Una Mujer Gorda (Love Is A Fat Woman) The film won prizes all over the world and van Brugge’s own reputation as a film composer quickly blossomed.
Photo: Charo Aymerich
Paul M. van Brugge
The film careers of top Dutch movie composers rarely begin in orthodox fashion. Geoffrey Macnab explains.
Forming his own jazz band, he played throughout Europe and wrote pieces for theatre groups in Munich. In the late 60s and early 1970s, he met many of the leading figures in what was to become New German Cinema, Rainer Werner Fassbinder among them. “But I never wrote film music! I was considered to be a jazz musician.” Dikker’s first musical score was in 1981 but his big international breakthrough came with Paul Verhoeven’s cult film The Fourth Man in 1983, for which he won a Dutch Silver Desk award for Best Dutch Film Music. “I was amazed what happened. Shortly after, Joel Schumacher phoned me,” the composer recalls. Thus began a period in which he wrote several Hollywood scores, from Slow Burn (1986), starring Beverly D’Angelo, to sci-fi shocker Body Parts (1991, Saturn Award for Best Music). In 1990 Dikker was awarded a Golden Calf for his contribution to Dutch cinema. A writer of chamber music as well as jazz, Dikker is hoping to head to Moscow next year to present a new score by 17 different composers for Lev Kuleshov’s silent classic The Extraordinary Adventures Of Mr West In The Land Of The Bolsheviks (1924), which had its first outing at IFFR 2011.
“It was quite an intuitive relationship in the way that we were discussing music and discussing our preferences,” van Brugge recalls of his early collaboration with Agresti. They went on to work together on more than a dozen films. ‘I remember Agresti being busy on scripts all the time, telling me stories about the things he wanted to write, and me showing him music... We would sit and he would hum things and sing things. We kind of invented three times more films in our heads than we actually made together.” Fellow composer and founder of the Waterland jazz ensemble Loek Dikker (born in 1944) had walked out of the conservatory as a teenager. “After playing the classical sonatas, I discovered jazz music - or, rather, jazz music discovered me!”
Van Brugge “absolutely adores” composing for cinema. Nonetheless, he argues it is a craft as much as an art. “To be quite honest with you, I don’t think my own film music is worth listening to separate from the movie,” he states. “The meaning of film music has absolutely to do
Dikker’s teachers frowned on jazz as a lesser musical form - an attitude that Dikker simply couldn’t accept. “I left my lesson. I closed the door behind me. The click of the door behind me is still Loek Dikker Still: Farewell by Ditteke Mensink
with the fact that it’s in combination with the scene or shot or sequence you wrote it for... Of my film music, I think that maybe 30% would be attractive for an audience to listen to separate from the movie.” The prolific composer is currently writing music for a documentary about the National Ballet as well as composing the score for the new Nanouk Leopold film It’s all So Quiet. Dikker is more “optimistic” about film music’s ability to stand in its own right. His music for films was featured in a concert alongside that of Elmer Bernstein and Michael Kamen at the Ghent Film Festival. What directors want from composers, he suggests, is “someone they trust who can communicate the movie.” Much of van Brugge’s recent film work has been for documentaries - he recently finished work on Ramon Gieling’s feature doc Blind Fortune. “In documentary I underline fiction, while in fiction movies I am always asked to make it sound as real as possible,” van Brugge says, pointing to a seeming paradox. He won a Golden Calf for his score for Jos De Putter’s 2004 doc Alias Kurban Said and one of his most recent Golden Calf nominations was for Ditteke Mensink’s eerily beautiful found-footage film Farewell about the first journey around the world of the Graf Zeppelin in 1929. “I am one of the few composers in Holland who doesn’t teach film music,” concludes van Brugge. “I don’t believe in teaching film music as a subject for a conservatory...I think it’s very important to become first a composer and find your own voice, writing music separate from another art form.”
Tokyo, Silent City
Writer-director Threes Anna, who adapted the film from her own novel De Stille Stad, set out to give a grounded and realistic view of the city. “Tokyo is ugly; Tokyo is plastic, noisy... it’s not Zen gardens and Bonsai trees!” Anna points out. “We decided to go and shoot with a very small crew, almost guerilla (style). That had an amazing influence on the light,” the director recalls. Silent City is the story of Rosa, a young Dutch woman, adrift in the city. Her ambition is to learn the art of preparing fish from one of Japan’s master chefs. To do so, she needs to immerse herself in a new and often bewildering culture. Filming at night-time in the neon-lit metropolis was sometimes hazardous - the authorities hadn’t given permission for Anna and her crew to be there - but it was also exhilarating. “We were so fast, we were so small that always when people just realised what was going on, we were already gone,” the filmmaker says of how she “stole” shots on the underground and in Tokyo’s Ginza entertainment district (where yakuza are the dominant power.) The main character is played by Laurence Roothooft. “I had seen around 250 young women and when this girl came in, I knew it
was her,” the director says of her leading lady. “She has extremely special energy...she had this inner strength.”
and horror! Of course, I use bits of my own experience in the script.” Anna clearly takes the challenge of film directing in her stride. As a former artistic director of the Dogtroep theatre company, she is used to working with teams of collaborators and overcoming daunting logistical hurdles. She isn’t afraid of working on an international canvas. Her debut feature The Bird Can’t Fly, starring Barbara Hershey, was set in South Africa.
Re-moulding her novel into a screenplay presented obvious challenges for Anna. She had written it as an “interior monologue” in which the readers were “in the head” of Rosa. “I didn’t want to work with a voice-over. That was clear from the beginning. So I had to translate every image in her head into a (real) image,” the writerdirector notes. Her goal was to preserve the tone and spirit of the novel.
novel or a script she won’t hold meetings or allow herself to be distracted. She likes to concentrate on one project at a time - and never to risk spreading her talents too thinly. “For a novel I need six or seven months, and for a film script I need one and a half months for research. I work very strictly. If I am writing, I block out everything. I start and I finish.”
The interiors of Silent City were actually shot in Luxembourg. The director relished the opportunity to create her own little corner of Tokyo... in the heart of Benelux. “A few Japanese people have seen the film and they absolutely don’t see it,” Anna says.
Fish loom large in Silent City
The film will premiere in San Sebastian prior to its Dutch debut at the Netherlands Film Festival. It was produced by Hanneke Niens and Hans De Wolf of Key Film, having received funding from the Netherlands Film Fund. “They are very experienced, they know the world and they know how to make movies,” Anna says of Niens and de Wolf. “I had an extremely positive and fantastic experience with them. They were always precise and careful.”
“The funny thing is that at one of the test screenings, there were two people in the audience who had read the novel and they said they had never seen a film that was so close to the novel!” Fish loom large in Silent City. Anna drew on an experience that had struck her deeply when she had been in Japan many years before. “I lived in Tokyo for almost a year. The last day I was there, people invited me for a dinner. That’s 25 years ago. It was in a fish restaurant.” Her hosts asked her to go to a tank and pick out a fish. “I had no clue for what! Then the fish arrived on the table. The fish was almost still living. It was already cut into pieces.”
Having adapted one of her novels for the screen, Anna is now working on a screenplay based on another of her books. Waiting For The Monsoon, touted by one reviewer as “Slumdog Millionaire Meets Jane Eyre,” is set in India in the mid 1990s.
The fish tasted utterly delicious but she felt an unease about the way it was prepared. This mirrored her attitude toward Japan as a whole. “It’s hate and love, love and hate, fascination
Photo: Chris Houts
When westerners make films set in Tokyo, they invariably emphasise its exoticism and strangeness. This wasn’t at all the intention of Threes Anna when she was shooting her second feature, Silent City, selected for San Sebastian New Directors section. Geoffrey Macnab reports.
The writer-director remains active in literature, film and theatre. She’s also a keen blogger and twitters (#threesanna) too. But when she is focused on a
Silent City Director: Threes Anna Script: Threes Anna Production:
KeyFilm in co-production with Samsa Film (LU), Skyline Entertainment (BE) Sales: NonStop Sales 22
Widening the Net Holland Film Meeting chief Signe Zeilich-Jensen is looking to forge even stronger co-pro links between Dutch producers and their counterparts across Europe as the event celebrates its 25th anniversary. She explains her approach to Nick Cunningham.
HFM director Signe Zeilich-Jensen
It is always worth reminding the international film community exactly what the Holland Film Meeting (27 September - 1 October) sets out to achieve every year. Nestled within the bosom of the Netherlands Film Festival Holland’s national festival dedicated to the exhibition and promotion of new Dutch cinema - the HFM serves to promote the Dutch production sector (and the excellence of its exponents therein) to the international film community, and in return invite top personnel within the international film trade to share their knowledge and experience to the benefit of the local industry. The event owes much to the financial and in-kind support of the Netherlands Film Fund in bringing together potential international parties. Central to operations every year is the Netherlands Production Platform pitch event during which 20 high quality projects (this year 14 international, 6 Dutch), all ripe for co-production treatment, are presented and mulled over by many of the leading international co-pro exponents. Over the years numerous films have started their career in Utrecht, films such as Michel R. Roskam’s Oscarnominated Bullhead (2011), the late Seyfi Teoman’s Berlin competition selection Our Grand Despair (2011) and Martin Koolhoven’s box-office smash-hit Winter in Wartime (2008).
Another key HFM feature is its annual examination of the production and finance sectors (as well the film output) of a European neighbouring state. This offers both insight into the working methods employed outside of the Netherlands and an opportunity for Dutch professionals to explore coproduction potential within a widened network.
Likewise Germany. Zeilich-Jensen is putting out her feelers to neighbouring Germany to investigate the potential for greater co-operation. The Germany/Holland match seems an obvious one, and reflects the general interest that the Dutch production and funding
‘We are opening up to give a chance to new people’
This year HFM director Signe Zeilich-Jensen chose to turn that spotlight on Turkey and turned to Gülin Üstün, her counterpart at the Istanbul Meetings on the Bridge pitch forum, to help create a programme that would showcase the best of Turkey as well as fuse the production talents of their respective countries. (The collaboration is also part of a series of events that acknowledge 400 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.) Matters got off to a great start in early 2012 when Turkish policy makers expressed a great interest in heightened co-pro collaboration during a meeting with top Dutch funders in Istanbul. This was pleasing news for Zeilich-Jensen.
infrastructure has consistently shown in its neighbour to the East. Together with the German Federal Film Fund (DFF) and the Netherlands Film Fund a separate programme will be presented at HFM that showcases ten new production talents from both countries, five from each. “We have identified these talented and specifically internet-oriented producers who have maybe been a little involved in co-production in the past but who are not the usual names that everybody knows at programmes and platforms across Europe,” Zeilich-Jensen explains. “This time we are opening up to give the chance to new people. They have some experience but they are not companies that have been around for a long time, and this gives them the opportunity to greatly expand their network.
“When they said in April that they will be more open to minority co-productions, and that it would be easier to co-produce with Turkey, that was very welcome,” she comments. “So we now see these greater possibilities to co-produce with a big country with a growing economy. In Turkey there is a really interesting new generation of producers coming through. With these filmmakers it’s not all about politics (which is of course interesting) but I think that this younger generation has found a language that can travel better across borders. And that is interesting to Dutch producers.”
“Look at a producer like Marleen Slot for example,” she continues. “She has been working a long time for Lemming Film and has just started a new company, so she is somebody that I would really like to be there as she is such a good role model for other producers. With the Germans, we want to build on something that has been going on for a longer
Still: Winter in Wartime by Martin Koolhoven
period, but also to see how you can develop that desire to collaborate and deepen it further. I think it’s good that people meet and learn though each others’s experiences and are more open to co-production, to increase their knowledge.” The Turkish effect continues at HFM 2012 as acclaimed director Semih Kaplanoglu, who won the 2010 Golden Bear in Berlin with his film Bal (Honey), delivers the Sight & Sound Cinema Militans Lecture (Sight & Sound commences its association with the HFM in 2012). A new feature of the Meeting is the HFM/Dutch Industry Days which each focus on key and relevant aspects of the film trade. The five seminar days will kick off with a Holland Meets Turkey producers meeting, with subsequent all-day focuses on film finance, new media and TV drama. The Industry Days culminate with a day dedicated to emerging Dutch talent who will be given the opportunity to pitch new ideas to the established audiovisual community. The additional Talent en Route program is designed for the Dutch participants of Berlinale’s Talent Campus earlier in 2012. “We are taking 11 of these 14 Dutch talents previously selected for Berlin and will present them in Utrecht,” comments ZeilichJensen. “We will give them a special masterclass programme and they will be able to network with guests, industry experts and professionals from all strata of the international and Dutch industries. We are very happy to start this pilot programme with the Talent Campus.”
Kids and Biz There’s more to Amsterdam’s Cinekid Festival than just child’s play. Fleur Winters, head of Cinekid for Professionals, talks to Melanie Goodfellow about the festival’s packed programme of industry events. Founded 26 years ago as a small children’s film festival held during the autumn school break, Amsterdam’s Cinekid is now the largest international film, television and new media festival of its kind in the world. Its industry programme, Cinekid for Professionals, running October 23-26, is a key event for professionals involved in children’s content from around the world. “What makes Cinekids for Professionals unique is that it covers every format from film to television to new media, both animation and live action. It’s an extremely efficient four-day get-together with a high impact in the relatively small children’s media industry.” says industry head Fleur Winters. The programme revolves around three key sections: the Junior Co-production Market, the Cinekid Conference and Meeting Programme and the Screening Club. Attendees also have access to the interactive MediaLab and festival screenings aimed at children and their parents. The Junior Co-production Market will present 35 projects this year, divided into 15 feature films, 10 television programmes and 10 cross-media projects hailing from 15 different territories. Companies participating include Ciel de Paris, Copenhagen Bombay, Illusion Film, Imira Entertainment, Lemming Film,
Head of Cinekid for Professionals Fleur Winters
Nottingham Forrest, Plugin Media, Rinkel Film and Storimages. “Almost 60% of the projects presented here from 2004 to 2007 have been finalised and many of them have gone on to win awards,” says Winters, citing the examples of Boudewijn Koole’s Kauwboy and the Nila Madhab Panda's I am Kalam. Kauwboy won the Grand Prix in the Berlinale Generation section and the European Film Academy’s first Young Audience Award this year and has recently been selected as the Netherlands’ Foreign Language Oscar submission, selling to 8 countries in the process. The Indian I am Kalam was sold into 23 territories by London and Mumbai-based Dream Independent Pictures and picked up international 22 awards.
Dragon will screen in the international competition and Indian director Panda’s latest film The Desert Mermaid will play in the Panorama programme. The two-day Cinekid Experience meeting programme, that includes the Cinekid Conference running October 24-25, will tackle diverse subjects ranging from the New French Animation Wave to how to improve cross media strategy and the latest developments within mobile applications. Speakers during the day will include Brenda Bisner, former VP of children’s acquisitions at LA-based Porchlight Entertainment, MIT Lab Kindergarten researcher Eric Rosenbaum and James Deeley of creative agency TH_NK, who has recently worked on the Harry Potter website Pottermore and Channel 4’s upcoming transmedia experience Utopia. Guest of the year and keynote speaker Michel Ocelot, director of the award-winning Kirikou pictures, will be among those taking part in the New French Animation Wave panel, which will examine France’s pioneering role in the provision of highquality European feature-length animation aimed at children, and its domination of the sector with recent pictures such as The Rabbi’s Cat and Approved for Adoption. “We also run a number of more specific workshops and networking events throughout the four days too,” comments Winters, citing the Q&A with Robert Stevenhagen, head of story on Tim Burton’s upcoming film Frankenweenie, also screening in Cinekid competition.
… an extremely efficient 4-day get-together Success stories on the financing front are numerous and include The Labyrinth, a first children’s film from Belgian Savage Film, producers of the Oscarnominated Bullhead. Attending the co-production market in 2011, Savage Films’ Xavier Rombaut connected with Floor Onrust of Amsterdam-based Family Affair Films to produce the children’s action picture, inspired by Pierre Declercq’s video game. Two other projects previously presented in the market are due to show in the festival: Swedish Martin Hogdahl’s The Ice
Alongside the conference and co-production market, professionals will also have access to the Screening Club, showcasing over 250 of the latest films and TV programmes aimed at children. “This relatively small corner of the festival is a real power center as most buyers of children’s content in Europe are present and return year after year, with a return rate of almost 80 per cent. Their decisions here impact almost all the living rooms of Europe.” says Winters. Broadcasters and festivals attending on a regular basis include Scandinavian channels like NRK Super, YLE, SVT, DR, Italy’s RAI, the German ZDF, Cartoon Network and Dutch children’s channel Zapp, as well as programmers for the Toronto International Film Festival - Kids (TIFF Kids), Sweden’s BUFF and Italy’s Giffoni Film Festival. “The children’s media industry is doing extremely well. At our conference last year a report was presented by the European Audiovisual Observatory and it revealed that on average a children’s film receives over three times more admissions in Europe than a feature film produced for adults. They also travel to more territories within Europe. It’s an industry that’s grown up with these stunning figures to prove its success!” ends Winters.
All about Eva Michiel ten Horn’s feature The Deflowering Of Eva van End enjoyed its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. “We were hoping for something like this to happen because it is just such a good quality label for the film,” the young auteur enthuses to Geoffrey Macnab. Ten Horn’s debut is not the typical Dutch family movie. There’s a barbed, satirical humour not always found in films from the Netherlands. Anne Barnhoorn’s screenplay features a 15 year-old ugly duckling protagonist Eva (Vivian Dierickx), an awkward teenager who doesn’t fit in with her family. The arrival of a handsome, seemingly perfect German exchange student heightens tensions between the family members, who all vie to wiggle their way into his affections. “It seemed to me that there were only really commercial Dutch films or really artistic Dutch films,” the director says. His intention was dive into the gap between commercial and artistic. Eva, the director suggests, is a victim of modern society in which everybody “wants more” or to be “healthy, better, bigger.” To play her, he recruited newcomer Vivian Dierickx. “We had a pretty big search for the perfect girl,” ten Horn recalls. At auditions, there were plenty of good looking, ambitious young Dutch actresses who wanted to become famous. That wasn’t at all what the director was looking for. Dierickx was very different: awkward and with a spiky defiance about her too. “She was really smart girl and really hard to direct. She doubted everything I said!” As for Veit, the good looking young German played by Rafael
Gareisen, the filmmakers found him during a day trip to Germany. “There were only eight or ten people we saw that day. It was pretty much our only option. Otherwise, it would cost a lot of money to do it again.”
on board. The Deflowering Of Eva van End went through the Netherlands Film Fund’s Oversteek scheme, a collaboration between Dutch public broadcasters, the Netherlands Film Fund and Dutch Cultural Media Fund to give new talent the opportunity to make films. It was shot in only 22 days.
Gareisen was the last to audition. “He was immediately perfect because he is Veit. He has these handsome eyes but there’s something cocky about him too. He even smokes cigarettes that are supposed to be healthier than normal cigarettes, stuff like that.”
Yes, the filmmakers drew on their own experiences when portraying Eva’s family, “but blown up in a way!” Ten Horn wanted to explore the paradox of family life: namely that you can “live together under one roof, really closely, see each other every day in the morning and evening but still can feel alone and not in touch with each other.”
‘Ten Horn wanted to explore the paradox of family life’
The director grew up in a small village in the south of Holland. “The most artistic person there was the guy who paints the houses!” His father and grandfather were great storytellers - a talent that ten Horn has inherited as a filmmaker.
The plotline of The Deflowering of Eva van End has a passing resemblance to that of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Teorema (1968), in which handsome stranger Terence Stamp causes sexual and social chaos in a bourgeois Italian household. But no, the director says, he wasn’t drawing on Pasolini’s classic. “We saw that after we came up with our story but that wasn’t a big influence.”
i’s music during offline editing and eventually decided that he wanted to feature it prominently in the music. Ten Horn and de Haan immediately hit it off. The songwriter relished the chance to write music for the film.
Composing for Eva “To spearhead the whole film there is this opening sequence that meanders across the movie past all the characters, so for this the music had to be fractured and multi-faceted. It couldn’t reveal what was going to happen in the movie but it had to provide an emotional overview of what could happen in the movie. Some humour. Some sadness. But there still had to be one great recognisable theme that would remain in the head after seeing the movie. I didn’t specify characters as such but as soon as the director heard the music that I had composed he immediately connected certain instruments to certain characters, such as a horn to this dufus guy and a cello to Eva. This wasn’t conscious on my part.
“There are a lot of pop songs in this film, six or seven of his and two of some other bands who are on the same label he is working on,” ten Horn says. “His music really appeals to the same awkwardness as the film does. It reminded me of Belle and Sebastian. There is something eerie and sad about it.” So what next for the precocious young filmmaker? Ten Horn hopes to work with the same team again. In the meantime, he is preparing an animated project about “a Dutch junkie.”
One thing I really liked was a bit of composition that made a pretty insignificant scene look really epic, when I introduced this big Electric Light Orchestratype thing to overemphasise the tastelessness of a joke that one of the brothers makes. And then the scene shifts to another brother opening a garage door, and for no particular reason other than it is funny and interesting the action is accompanied by an angelic chorus of angels, as if heaven opened up. But it is really just the garage door.”
Ten Horn began his filmmaking as an animator - a field in which he remains active. That’s one reason, he suggests, why he can see the “cartoonish” elements in his characters. His graduation film Basta (2007) was “a live action story with an animation feel to it.”
A more important source of inspiration was US indie director Todd Solondz, who excels in portraying the seamy underside of American family life. Ten Horn is also a fan of the oblique, offbeat storytelling style of Wes Anderson.
Along with animation, one of the director’s other pet fascinations is music. For The Deflowering of Eva he has taken a radical step. Instead of using a conventional film composer, he has used songs from Djurre de Haan, a songwriter who goes under the monicker of awkward i.
Ten Horn has made several well received short films. Iris Otten of Pupkin Film had seen his work and was enthusiastic about it. She contacted him and he in turn brought screenwriter Barnhoorn
Djurre de Haan (aka awkward i)
“Music is really important,” the director states. He used awkward
The Deflowering Of Eva van End Director: Michiel ten Horn Script: Anne Barnhoorn Production: Pupkin Film Sales: M-Appeal
Michiel ten Horn
Premiering at Netherlands Film Festival
Screening in Toronto
Nono, the Zigzag Kid
The Girl and Death
My Dad’s a Detective: The Battle
The Deflowering of Eva van End
Opening film Director: Vincent Bal On a train ride 13-year old Nono meets master-burglar Felix. After they commit a couple of crimes together Nono discovers the true story about his father and his deceased mother. And also a lot about himself... See page 14
Director: Jos Stelling Script: Jos Stelling, Bert Rijkelijkhuizen Production: Jos Stelling Films in co-production with Ma.Ja.De (DE), Tvindie Production (RU). The impossible love between Nicolai and the courtesan Elise. A love that is obstructed by materialism, wealth and the threat of death.
Director: Will Wissink. Script: Zebi Damen Production: A’dam Films. Third episode within the My Dad’s a Detective film series. Sam and his friends enter their band into a televised talent search and are swept into an increasingly fierce competition that some suspect is rigged.
Director: Michiel ten Horn A tragicomedy about the Van End family who, after the arrival of an impossibly perfect German exchange student, can no longer imagine how they ever managed to live with their imperfect selves. See page 28
Director/Script: Eddy Terstall Production: Column Film and OneBigAgency Two 20-something students make a drunken deal to have sex. In Barcelona, their mutual embarrassment complicates matters, but brings them closer together.
Director: Will Koopman Script: Lex Wertwijn Production: Column Film After a successful plastic surgeon encounters financial house renovation problems, a friend from the past offers a helping hand, but at what price?
Goltzius and the Pelican Company
The Family Way
Director: Peter de Baan Script: Michael Leendertse, Willem Bosch, Paul Jan Nelissen Production: Pupkin Film After Michael Bellicher discovers that he has been robbed of his identity, his credentials show up at the scene of a big terrorist attack. Suddenly he is public enemy number one…
Director/Script: Peter Greenaway. Production: Kasander Film, co-pro with CDP (FR), Film & Music Entertainment (UK), Mainfraime Productions (CRO). Sales: Bankside Films. A Dutch engraver entices a nobleman into paying for an extraordinary book of Old Testament pictures.
Director: Barbara Bredero Script: Tijs van Marle Production: PV Pictures Sales: Delphis Films. Based on the highly popular series of children books, TEACH! chronicles the funny misadventures of a young intern teacher at an elementary school.
Director: Antoinette Beumer After twin sisters Sofie and Daan receive an unexpected phone call from their hitherto unknown biological mother in the US (Jackie) they embark on an amazing adventure that alters their assumptions about everything that they once believed to be true. See page 6
Director: Ate de Jong Script: Ate de Jong in collaboration with Paul Ruven and Karen van Holst Pellekaan Production: Fu Works, Talent United On the day that Rotterdam is bombed, two young lovers lose sight of each other...
Director: Joram Lürsen Script: Kim van Kooten Production: Topkapi Films All members of the Roover family end up at a point of no return in their lives where fundamental choices have to be made.
My Life on Planet B
Lilet Never Happened
To Be King
Director/Script: Paula van der Oest Production: Kasander Film Sales: ARRI Film & TV Services The lives of different people at different places in the world are suddenly connected because of the credit crisis.
Director: Iván López Núñez. Script: Rogier de Blok, Iván López Núñez Production: Topkapi Films. Being a teenager just isn’t easy.
Director: Ben Sombogaart Script: Jean Claude van Rijckeghem, Chris Craps Production: Kasander Film 17 year-old Stach is faced with five impossible assignments he must complete before becoming king.
Director: Diederick Koopal Script: Martin van Waardenberg & Gerard Meuldijk Production: Eyeworks Film & TV Drama. Co-production with Inspire Pictures. In order to save one of their garages, four friends decide to run the Rotterdam marathon.
Director/ Script: Jacco Groen. Production: Spring Film in co-production with 24Fps features, JaJa Film Productions, Witsenburg Filmproduction, FAME (UK), SocJosé Productions (PH). Sales: Media Luna New Films. A 13 year-old Philippine-American girl struggles to survive in the streets of Manila.
Only Decent People
Mike Says Goodbye
Director: Thijs Gloger, Rene Houwen, Joren Molter Script: Thijs Gloger, Rene Houwen, Joren Molter Production: Schaftkip Films Looking for a better, weathier, happier and sexier life is one of the things you simply CANNOT try at home.
Director: George Sluizer The movie River Phoenix was working on at the time of his death in 1993 has been completed almost 20 years after it was abandoned. See page 8
Director: Threes Anna Rosa arrives in Tokyo to learn the art of filleting fish from Japan´s best fish chef. But because of her difficulty communicating Rosa grows more and more lonely. See page 22
Director/Script: Lodewijk Crijns Production: Topkapi Films An apolitical and irreligious film about the clash between social and cultural classes, based on the novel by Robert Vuijsje.
Director: Maria Peters Script: Mirjam Oomkes & Willemine van der Wiel Production: Shooting Star Filmcompany BV, co-production with Launch Works Hospitalized for months, Mike's mum fails to turn up on Xmas Eve to take him home. He is sent to a children's home instead but can he still celebrate Xmas with his mum?
Screening in San Sebastian
Jelka van Houten…
considerable warmth and humanity as she plays against her difficult and sometimes antagonistic (on-screen) sibling.
… is an actress and singer who stars in Antoinette Beumer’s Toronto selection Jackie, playing opposite her real life sister, Carice van Houten. She infuses the role with
But the piquancy of the frequent sisterly exchanges finds delicious counterpoint as Jelka takes to the karaoke stage to sing a number of country and western songs,
delivered with a satisfyingly high degree of authenticity. Indeed such is her level of competence within the c/w genre, she has just left for Nashville - the home of country - to cut an album there. Recently Jelka worked in the UK on the upcoming Channel 4 comedy series Fresh Meat, directed by David
Kerr, and will star in Laurens Blok’s A Christmoose Story, due for release in 2013. “I was never somebody that you can place in one corner and say this is what you do. I always do different things. And I’m very lucky for that,” she comments.
Photo: Janey van Ierland