Marco van Geffen talks Among Us Rutger Hauer returns in The Heineken
The Film Fund looks to the future Patatje Oorlog:
Cinekid opener Halina Reijn:
Issue #4 September 2011
A publication by the Netherlands Film Fund and EYE Film Institute Netherlands
Index COLOPHON SEE NL is published four times per year by EYE Film Institute Netherlands and The Netherlands Film Fund and JTEJTUSJCVUFEUPJOUFSOBUJPOBMĂƒMN professionals. Editors in chief: Claudia Landsberger (EYE), Jonathan Mees (Netherlands Film Fund) Executive editor: Nick Cunningham Contributors: Geoffrey Macnab, Melanie Goodfellow, Olivier PĂ¨re Concept & Design: Lava.nl, Amsterdam Layout: def., Amsterdam Printing:3PUP4NFFUT(SBĂƒTFSWJDFT Printed on FSC paper Circulation: 3300 copies ÂŠ All rights reserved: The Netherlands Film Fund and EYE Film Institute Netherlands 2011
Pp 2-3 and cover
Pp 18-19 Meeting Holland:
Image preview: Marco van Geffenâ€™s Locarno competition selection Among Us
Signe Zeilich-Jensen is the new boss of the Holland Film Meeting. She talks to SEE NL
View from the Edge: Locarno Artistic Director Olivier PĂ¨re on the Dutch tradition at the August festival
Simon Pummellâ€™s debut Shock Head Soul, selected for Venice Orizzonti section.
The Heineken Kidnapping, Maarten Treurnietâ€™s October 27 blockbuster release
Jonathan Mees Head of Communications Netherlands Film Fund EKNFFT!ĂƒMNGPOETOM
P 24-25 No Kidding!:
Netherlands Film Festival opener The Gang of Oss
Claudia Landsberger Head of EYE international EYE Film Institute Netherlands EDMBVEJBMBOETCFSHFS!FZFĂƒMNOM
Ger Bouma Head of Intl. Co-productions Netherlands Film Fund E HCPVNB!ĂƒMNGPOETOM
Pp 22-23 Dutch Harvest â€“ works in progress:
P 5 Image preview:
P 6 Image preview:
Dorien van de Pas Head of Feature Film Netherlands Film Fund E %WBOEF1BT!ĂƒMNGPOETOM
Netherlands Film Fund CEO Doreen Boonekamp on the future of the Dutch ĂƒMNJOEVTUSZ
P 4 Image preview:
CONTACT Sandra den Hamer CEO EYE Film Institute Netherlands ETBOESBEFOIBNFS!FZFĂƒMNOM
Doreen Boonekamp CEO Netherlands Film Fund E ECPPOFLBNQ!ĂƒMNGPOETOM
Pp 20-21 Full Focus Ahead:
Cinekid director Sannette NaeyĂŠ on the festival and the need to educate kids in multi-media
Christophe van Rompaeyâ€™s Toronto nod, Lena
Pp 26-27 Crime and Punishment:
P 7 Image Preview:
Producer Frans van Gestel and director Maarten Treurniet on the highlyanticipated The Heineken Kidnapping
Pp 8-9 COVER STORY Late Debutant:
Nicole van Kilsdonk talks to SEE NL about her Cinekid opener Patatje Oorlog
Pp 28-29 Against the Odds:
SEE NL talks to celebrated screenwriter Marco van Geffen about his feature debut Among Us
Pp 30-31 Team Reunion:
The All Stars are back, but now theyâ€™re the Old Stars. Director Jean van de Velde talks to SEE NL
Pp 10-11 Leader of the Gang: Producer Matthijs van Heijningen talks to SEE NL about his Netherlands Film Festival opener The Gang of Oss
Back Cover Dutch Star 2TQĂ„NG
Pp 12-13 A Suitable Case for Treatment:
Simon Pummell on his astonishing new documentary Shock Head Soul, about the psychoanalystâ€™s muse, Daniel Paul Schreber, selected for Venice Orizzonti
Pp 14-15 An eye for Restoration:
Netherlands Film Fund Jan Luykenstraat 2 1071 CM Amsterdam The Netherlands T +31 20 570 7676 WXXXĂƒMNGPOETOM
Interview with EYEâ€™s head curator Giovanna Fossati about the restored classic We Canâ€™t Go Home Again, world-premiering (again) at Venice
EYE Film Institute Netherlands PO BOX 74782 1070 BT Amsterdam The Netherlands T +31 20 589 1400 W XXXFZFĂƒMNOM
Christophe van Rompaey on his Toronto-bound Lena
Pp 16-17 A Tale of Loneliness and Longing:
View from the Edge Among Us
Director Marco van Geffen discusses his Locarno competition/Toronto Discovery selection.
Among Us was still shooting at that point but following Leontine’s presentation I was really keen to screen the completed version. I ﬁnally got to see it in Amsterdam a couple of months ago alongside a selection of other potential ﬁlms. Marco’s ﬁlm struck me the most and I decided to invite it to Locarno. Olivier Père, Locarno Film Festival Artistic Director Locarno has a long tradition of welcoming Dutch ﬁlmmakers. Paul Verhoeven was awarded a Leopard of Honour by the festival in 2000 and his Hollow Man screened on the Piazza Grande that year too. Mijke de Jong also showed Stages and Katja’s Sister here. More recently, Urszula Antoniak won the Golden Leopard for a First Film for Nothing Personal in 2009. That was before my time - I arrived at Locarno from the Quinzaine in 2010 - but I’m continuing the tradition this year with the selection of Marco van Geffen’s Among Us for the main competition. I ﬁrst heard about the ﬁlm from producer Leontine Petit at Lemming Film who presented the project to me during Rotterdam. She explained that it was the ﬁrst part of a trilogy telling several different stories that unfold in the same location, exploring the psychology and behaviour of different people in the same urban environment and social backdrop. It was my second consecutive year at Rotterdam. For a festival director like me, it’s a great event not just for the public but also for professionals. I was able to meet a lot of producers and ﬁnd out about ﬁlms in preparation that could be of interest to Locarno.
“In a way, it is all connected to a moment in our society when everything changed. We were this open country but after the murders of Theo van Gogh and Pim Fortuyn, it suddenly changed.”
For a ﬁrst ﬁlm it is remarkable - very skilful, very ambitious. It’s a powerful piece with a strong directorial vision and excellent performances. It’s plain to see that Marco is a real cineaste with incredible talent and a very precise vision of what he wants to do and say on the big screen.
see pages 8-9
Dutch cinema has a tough time breaking beyond its national borders even though it’s so strong at home. I think it’s a problem that hits a lot of smaller countries. We see the same issue with Swiss cinema. But I think Marco belongs to a new generation of Dutch auteur ﬁlmmakers, alongside the likes of Nanouk Leopold, who are going to get Dutch ﬁlms talked about internationally. I programmed Nanouk’s early ﬁlm Guernsey at the Quinzaine and since then her ﬁlms have gone on to screen at a number of festivals, most notably Brownian Movement at Berlin this year. I’m very keen to see her next work. Up until now international attention has tended to focus on Verhoeven, who started off in the Netherlands but then headed for Hollywood, although I think the ﬁlm he did on his return home - Black Book - was one of his best works. I would, of course, love to screen his next picture on the Piazza Grande too. In conversation with Melanie Goodfellow
Among Us Director: Marco van Geffen Script: Marco van Geffen and Jolein Laarman Production: Lemming Film Sales: Elle Driver (FR)
The Gang of Oss
Photo : Victor Arnolds
Veteran Dutch producer Matthijs van Heijningen talks to SEE NL about his period Netherlands Film Festival opener.
‘The socio-political context of the ﬁlm, Van Heijningen explains, is the oppression of Holland’s Catholic community congregated in the south of the country, beneath the Rhine and Maas rivers, in the 1930s.’ see pages 10-11
The Gang of Oss Director: André van Duren Script: André van Duren, Paul Jan Nelissen Production: Sigma Pictures
Shock Head Soul
Simon Pummell talks to See NL about his extraordinary Venice Orizzonti documentary selection.
“I was interested in visionary art. I was looking at outsider art. In the Freud history (of Schreber), he excerpts a number of passages from Schreber’s book. They were so extraordinary…it just sent me back to the original text.” see pages 12-13
Shock Head Soul Director: Simon Pummell Script: Simon Pummell Production: Submarine, Hot Property (UK)
Director Christophe van Rompaey and producer Els Vandevorst discuss Toronto-bound Lena, a ÃMNBCPVUBTIBUUFSFEESFBNBOE the lengths to which a girl goes to retain the illusion.
“I like Christophe a lot, not just as a director but also as a human being. It was clear to me that he was the right director for the project.” see pages 16-17
Lena Director: Christophe van Rompaey Script: Mieke de Jong Production: Isabella Films, Kazbek, A Private View (BE) Sales: Bavaria Film International (GER)
The Heineken Kidnapping
“When this giant of a man (Hauer) walked into the rehearsal room all these young actors held their breath.” see pages 26-27
Photo: Piet Weyman
Rutger’s back, and explodes into cinemas October 27. Producer Frans van Gestel and director Maarten Treurniet discuss the Dutch crime of the century - and what it’s like to work with a legend.
The Heineken Kidnapping Director: Maarten Treurniet Script: Kees van Beijnum, Maarten Treurniet Production: IDTV Film
Late Debutant He is the writer of the smash hit comedy, Schnitzel Paradise (2005). For years, he has been one of the leading script ediVQTUKPVJG&WVEJĂ„NOKPFWUVT[ contributing to almost every Ă„EVKQPCNRTQLGEVOCFGD[ Lemming Film, and he has also directed award-winning shorts. Now in his early 50s, Marco Van Geffen has taken the leap into feature production with Among Us, the ďŹ rst part of a planned trilogy on â€œthe drama of the happy familyâ€? set around a modern Dutch housing estate. The ďŹ lm was recently awarded the CICAE (International Art & Essay Cinema Confederation) prize at Locarno as well as a Special Mention from the Ecumenical Jury, and has been selected for the Discovery section at Toronto 2011. Whatâ€™s more, the ďŹ lm has been picked up for international sales by top French outďŹ t Elle Driver. Geoffrey Macnab talks to the debutant director. Among Us is loosely inspired by van Geffenâ€™s short, My Sister, about a ďŹ ve-year-old girl who witnesses her fatherâ€™s abuse of her baby sister and is helpless to do anything about it. The new feature ďŹ lm also features an observer â€“ a Polish au pair in a small town in the Netherlands who thinks she can identify a serial rapist. She, too, is a â€œpowerless witness to an act of violence.â€? The next two ďŹ lms in the trilogy will take different perspectives on violence within everyday Dutch life. By honing in on domestic experiences, the directorâ€™s intention is to probe away at the tensions and discontent lurking beneath the surface of Dutch societyâ€Ś and beyond. â€œIn a way, it is all connected to a moment in our society when
everything changed. We were this open country but after the murders of Theo van Gogh and Pim Fortuyn, it suddenly changed,â€? Van Geffen states. â€œWe were a country that was clean, more or less. Suddenly, we noticed we were not so clean.â€?
wife) and Joost de Vries in 1995. In the process he developed strong ideas about how screenplays should be constructed. â€œThere is this three-act structure,â€? he comments, refering to the familiar pattern of â€˜set-up, confrontation and resolutionâ€™ found in so much storytelling for the screen. â€œBut, because I know it by heart, I never use it.â€? When he reads a screenplay, he tries to â€œfeel the ďŹ‚ow.â€? He agrees that it is useful to â€œhave the knowledgeâ€? about structure that scriptwriting gurus like Robert McKee and Syd Field teach their students but he favours a more organic and â€œintuitiveâ€? approach.
As a screenwriter honing his craft, Van Geffen has participated in workshops and script labs everywhere from Torino to Sundance and Amsterdamâ€™s own Binger Institute. He is full of praise for Cannes, where his short ďŹ lm My Sister screened in 2007. â€œTheyâ€™re really very supportive and they remember you,â€? he says of the festival, which has continued to help him to develop contacts and opportunities. â€œItâ€™s a long route, I think,â€? Van Geffen reďŹ‚ects on his journey toward directing features after so long as a screenwriter and script doctor. Born in 1959, he is from
â€œThe writing that is really interesting, because it is more dangerous, is when you just go in this untreaded territory. You have to ďŹ nd the right style and the right story. It is far more intuitive. There are not so many rules.â€?
â€œI started late so I am quite calm. I donâ€™t like all the macho stuff.â€?
Van Geffen continues to work on screenplays for other directors, for example the forthcoming kidsâ€™ adventure yarn Boy 7, Erik De Bruynâ€™s political comedy The President and Simone van Dusseldorpâ€™s Briefgeheim. On Among Us, he wrote the initial treatment himself but then brought in another writer, Jolein Laarman (whose credits include Katjaâ€™s Sister). He says he relished being able to bounce ideas off her and to have a dialogue.
an art school background (he studied at the College of Art in Arnhem). A talented draughtsman, he was as interested in storytelling and literature as in drawing â€“ and this drew him towards ďŹ lmmaking as a means of expression.
Initial response to the project was positive. The Netherlands Film Fund boarded early. Finding a broadcaster was more of a struggle. â€œWe started shooting without one but luckily the Buddhist Broadcast Organisation stepped in and so we were fully there at the end.â€?
As he worked on his own projects, Van Geffen was also heavily involved in the ďŹ lms being made through Lemming Films, the Amsterdam-based production outďŹ t set up by Leonine Petit (his
When it came to stepping on set on the ďŹ rst day of shooting, he wasnâ€™t as neurotic or combustible as some other feature directors making their ďŹ rst movies. â€œI started late so I am quite calm. I donâ€™t like all the macho stuff.â€? His long experience of script editing had given him invaluable experience in how best to communicate with his collaborators. â€œYou have to be clear, analyticalâ€Śand you have to be convincing and inspiring,â€? he says of how he set about rallying his cast and crew. Casting was crucial. Van Geffen had made two trips to Poland before casting the lead. â€œWe saw 75 young Polish actresses,â€? he recalls. What was he looking for? â€œYou donâ€™t know. Youâ€™re just looking. Thatâ€™s always (the way) with casting. You look and you know!â€? When Dagmara Bak auditioned, there was no-one for her to act opposite. Killing time, Van Geffen talked to her. Finally, at the very end of his time in Warsaw, he was able to see her in a scene with Natalia Rybicka, another actress he admired. â€œThey blew the roof off!â€? Both were eventually cast. The director is at pains to point out that Among Us is not intended as a political statement. â€œThe whole of Europe is tilting toward a more fearful approach toward politics and society,â€? he says. â€œWhat I am merely doing is portraying a certain way of behaving that is not completely open. I could stick this whole political theory to that, but I am just trying to tell a story. A ďŹ lmmaker should not make statements but trigger people to start doubting statements.â€?
Photo: Joost Guntenaar
Among Us Director: Marco van Geffen Script: Marco van Geffen and Jolein Laarman Production: Lemming Film Sales: Elle Driver (FR)
Marco van Geffen
Leader of the Gang The Gang of Oss, produced by veteran Dutch producer Matthijs van Heijningen, will open the 2011 Netherlands Film Festival. The producer talks to Nick Cunningham. Matthijs van Heijningen’s The Gang of Oss was, like many of his other ﬁlm projects, an idea many years in gestation. A historical piece about the sectarian divide evident within pre-WW2 Netherlands, it is a subject that the producer concedes has fascinated him for a long time. In the ﬁlm, Johanna, a young woman played by rising Dutch star Sylvia Hoeks (Dutch Shooting Star 2010), is desperate to distance herself from the activities of a violent gang that meets at her inn. But a core member of the gang is her husband Ties, played by Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts (Bullhead, 2011), so the harder she tries to break free from the gang’s tyranny, the stronger the links become. The socio-political context of the ﬁlm, Van Heijningen explains, is the oppression of Holland’s Catholic community congregated in the south of the country, beneath the Rhine and Maas rivers, in the 1930s. “This story has struck me for years,” he says. “In Brabant, a small town already dating from the 9th or 10th century, a ﬁght breaks out between the enormous, local poor population and the authorities - the authorities being the Roman Catholic church, the Jewish meat industrialists and the Protestant state police. You had this great friction and lots of murders and ﬁghts, and it got so bad that they called it Chicago on the Maas.” The resulting political turmoil following Brabant’s occupation by the State police led to the
collapse of the pre-War national government. “But this is just the one strand within the ﬁlm,” Van Heijningen continues. “On the one hand you have all of these political and gang problems that more resemble Chicago from this time. On the other it is a basic story about a girl who tries to ﬁght her way out of a bad situation.”
Heijningen stresses. “So you have to move somewhere else like Rotterdam or The Hague, or Brabant.” The Gang of Oss is Van Heijningen’s third ﬁlm to open the Netherlands Film Festival. His A Month Later, by Nouchka van Brakel and starring Monique van de Ven and Renée Soutendijk, opened the 1986 festival, while Kracht by Frouke Fokkema kick-started the event in 1990.
The ﬁlm was shot in Brabant and Rotterdam over a seven week period, on a budget of €2.9 million. Most of the key cast came from the region, so their use of local dialect offered the production more authenticity. “It was fun using actors from there, it worked very well,” comments Van Heijningen.
“Opening the festival has always turned out well for me publicitywise, and we really aimed for that again this year,” he points out. “We were fast enough to show the festival a working print that they could decide on. The Gang of Oss isn’t really commercial, more of a cross-over, but with its historical background it’s a good mix for opening ﬁlm.”
Production ﬁnances were sourced from the Netherlands Film Fund (50%) with further contributions from the Rotterdam Media Fund and Dutch broadcaster NTR. Van Heijningen managed to raise private equity valued at €600,000
Budgeted at €8 million, ﬁnancing for the Gijsbrecht van Aemstel project hit the buffers in 2009 during the recent ﬁnancial crisis, but nevertheless Van Heijningen has retained good contact with potential international coproduction partners in Belgium and Romania. He is conﬁdent that the project’s status as a national icon should free up local institutional funding. “It is about the rise and fall of Amsterdam in the 13th century,” explains Van Heijningen. “It’s our national epic play, performed for the past 400 years every New Years day. It is like our King Lear.” A longer version of his article can be read on the Netherlands Film Festival website
In 2012 Van Heijningen will celebrate 40 years as a producer. How has the business of being a producer changed over this period? “Before, you had individual producers,” he opines. “Now it’s completely different. You have all these big companies with really big overheads and foreign stockholders, doing tv, commercials, ﬁlms. But individual, independent producers like me? There are not many of us left. We are absolutely in the minority.”
“It got so bad that they called it Chicago on the Maas.”
Strictly a one-ﬁlm-at-a-time producer, Van Heijningen will oversee the world premiere and local release of The Gang of Oss before he returns to his epic Gijsbrecht van Aemstel project. The ﬁlm will be an adaptation of the classic and emblematic Dutch play written by Joost van den Vondel, who is to the Dutch what Shakespeare is to the British.
from 150 investors, each paying €4,000. A 10% gap in the budget was ﬁlled by Van Heijningen himself. The producer was happy to shoot away from Amsterdam where, he feels, locals are beginning to tire of location crews pitching up with increasing regularity. “They are getting a bit bored with all the shooting in Amsterdam,” Van
The Gang of Oss Director: André van Duren Script: André van Duren, Paul Jan Nelissen Production: Sigma Pictures
Photo : Victor Arnolds 11
A Suitable Case for Treat Movie subjects don’t come much stranger than Daniel Paul Schreber (1842-1911). In middle age, the German lawyer and judge suddenly began to receive messages from God that he thought were coming via a “writing down” machine. Geoffrey Macnab investigates. During his illness, diagnosed as dementia praecox, Schreber felt his identity was disintegrating. He wanted to become a woman and have a child. His memoirs of his own psychosis were the subject of a famous essay by Sigmund Freud. Celebrated writers and academics from Elias Canetti to Jacques Lacan have also written about him. Now, Schreber has inspired Shock Head Soul, the new ﬁlm from Simon Pummell (which premieres in Venice’s Orizzonti section in September 2011). Like Pummell’s Body Song (2003), this is a “hybrid” ﬁlm, combining documentary, ﬁction and animation. “I was interested in visionary art. I was looking at outsider art. In the Freud history (of Schreber), he (Freud) excerpts a number of passages from Schreber’s book. They were so extraordinary…it just sent me back to the original text,” Pummell explains of how he became hooked on Schreber’s story. Schreber had an uncanny ability to describe his own condition clearly, even after he was institutionalized because of his madness. “He had a very brilliant mind. He was a top-ﬂight lawyer. He had that kind of precision, that legalistic thinking,” Pummell notes of the paradox of the madman who never lost his lucidity. Schreber was never ‘cured’. Nor did he lose his belief in his status as the chosen one.
In Shock Head Soul, there are interviews with several celebrated psychoanalysts, neurologists, ﬁlm theorists and academics, all with different theories about Schreber. They’re presented to viewers in period costume, as if they are in a 19th century court. One psychological explanation for Schreber’s behaviour is that his father, Moritz Schreber, was an educationalist notorious for designing mechanical devices to improve children’s posture and to stop them masturbating. Schreber himself came up with the idea of a cosmic writing machine.
Freud is not necessarily a ﬁlm about psychoanalysis. The reason I wanted to make a ﬁlm about Schreber was that it (his story) has a really big puzzle in the middle. Can we in some adequate way empathise with this person who is quite far outside the norms of our subjective experience?” The audience of Shock Head Soul is in the position of the analyst – listening and trying to empathise with the patient who has such an extreme vision of the world. “There are essentially three threads,” the writer-director explains about the structure of Shock Head Soul. Dramatic reconstruction (with Hugo Koolschijn playing Schreber) sits alongside documentary interviews and CGI animation. “The idea is that these three threads continually bleed into each other and question the status of each other.”
“He talks about nerves and rays and ﬁbres a lot but those are completely interchangeable terms,” Pummell explains. “Somehow, for him, light rays become nerves which become ﬁbres.” How do you visualize the elaborate, psychotic visions of the madman? Pummell’s solution was to study the technology that was available at Scherber’s time. The “writing machine” was a mixture of the typewriter, the telegraph and the early X-ray machine. Pummell himself has shown a Schreber-like ingenuity in designing a version of the writing down machine – an orb-like object with tentacles. Shock Head Soul isn’t the only recent ﬁlm dealing with the early days of psychoanalysis. This is also a subject that David Cronenberg is tackling in his Freud-Jung feature, A Dangerous Method (likewise premiered in Venice.)
“He (Pummell) has a high expertise in the technical process of ﬁlmmaking. He also has an interest in using new animation technologies,” Femke Wolting enthuses of her director. “He is also very conceptual and really understands ﬁlm language.” The British-born Pummell is seen by the Dutch ﬁlm industry as one of their own. He is married to a Dutch woman and has lived for many years in the Netherlands. Does the Leiden-based director have a “Dutch sensibility,” however that may be deﬁned? “I have a very ﬁrm footprint here (in the Netherlands),” Pummell suggests. “I feel I have a home here in terms of my work.”
Shock Head Soul has been put together as a UK-Dutch coproduction. Submarine, the adventurous Dutch outﬁt headed by Femke Wolting and Bruno Felix, partnered with British company Hot Property, run by Janine Marmot. Illuminations’ Keith Grifﬁths (producer of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Palme d’Or winning Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives) came on board as executive producer. Funding came from the Netherlands Film Fund and the Rotterdam Media Fund as well as from the Wellcome Trust. There was also support from The Harvard University Film Study Center. Following its Venice premiere, the movie is set to travel to Rotterdam (where it may be accompanied by an associated installation called The Sputnik Effect).
Pummell has mixed feelings about how cinema has dealt with psychoanalysis in the past. “Often, such topics – to be really general – are treated through the historical ﬁgure. So a ﬁlm about
Shock Head Soul Director: Simon Pummell Script: Simon Pummell Production: Submarine, Hot Property (UK)
atment “Schreber was never ‘cured’. Nor did he lose his belief in his status as the chosen one.”
An eye for Restoration EYE Film Institute Netherlands played a key role in the restoration of Nicholas Ray’s controversial We Can’t Go Home Again, which receives its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September. Head curator Giovanna Fossati tells Melanie Goodfellow about the project. “Didn’t you direct that Eskimo movie with Anthony Quinn... and Rebel without a Cause you directed that also, huh?” a student quizzes director Nicholas Ray in an early scene of We Can’t Go Home Again. “Yeah, did you like it?” asks a white-haired, eye-patched Ray of his 1955 classic which hit cinemas when the young man was still a small child. “It was okay,” is the response. Set against the backdrop of campus life and civil unrest in America in the early 1970s, We Can’t Go Home Again is a collaborative work, produced by Ray and his students during the director’s tenure as professor of ﬁlm at the Harpur College of Arts and Sciences in upstate New York. It mixes dramatised scenes of student life, staged conversations between Ray and his students, documentary-style coverage of demonstrations and some news footage, shot on a variety of formats: video, Super 8, 16mm and 35mm. These elements are re-combined in a back projection, showing strands of the chaotic narrative simultaneously on the same fragmented screen. Ever since the ﬁlm’s premier at the Cannes Film Festival in 1973, it has divided audiences: some see it as a visionary masterpiece, others, simply as a mess. “I don’t think it matters whether it’s a masterpiece or not. It’s an
interesting ﬁlm. In the light of new technologies and what we can now do digitally, it gains a whole new life,” says Giovanna Fossati, head curator at the EYE Film Institute Netherlands. “It’s a ﬁlm made before its time in very constrained circumstances and what it achieves is extraordinary.”
time we met she came with my book in her bag. She had read it and had loads of questions, pretty technical ones,” says Fossati. “Throughout the project Susan acted as our interface with the original crew, sitting in the director’s chair so to speak. I don’t know how many hundreds of emails and phone calls we exchanged. We also had a couple of good ﬁghts but it was all in the spirit of the restoration.”
Fossati manages a collection of some 37,000 ﬁlm titles and is responsible for its digitisation and restoration. She and her restoration team played a key role in giving We Can’t Go Home Again a new lease of life, in collaboration with the Nicholas Ray Foundation, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Academy Film Archive, and some of Ray’s former students.
EYE boarded the project in early 2010, managing the restoration of the image in collaboration with New York-based laboratory Cineric which carried out the work, while the Academy Film Archive handled the audio. “Our aim was to make the experience of watching the ﬁlm easier and less challenging for a broader audience without destroying the signs of the original crafted process,” says Fossati.
“Susan Ray emailed EYE director Sandra den Hamer in early 2010,” says Fossati, referring to Ray’s wife and president of the Nicholas Ray Foundation, who
centenary of Ray’s birth on August 7 1911. “The fun part is when a restored work is screened and you see the public’s reaction as well as that of colleagues from other archives. Restoring a ﬁlm is the same as restoring the Sistine Chapel - you will be criticised whatever approach you take and that’s ﬁne,” says Italian-born Fossati. “Restoration is not an exact science. There’s no one way to restore a ﬁlm.”
The biggest challenge was agreeing what should be restored. Ray continued working on the material up until his death in 1979. As well as the ﬁlm shown at Cannes in 1973, he cut a shorter version in 1976. Some of Ray’s former students did not like either version and wanted to reassemble the source elements from scratch.
“We had a couple of good ﬁghts but it was all in the spirit of the restoration.”
“We were at times divided,” explains Fossati about the actual restoration process, “but we ended up agreeing to do a number of tests, on the basis of which we decided to digitise at the highest resolution available to us (e.g. 4K) the existing 35mm negative which was the source of the 1973 print shown in Cannes.”
was the driving force behind the restoration. Her interest in EYE’s work was prompted in part by its restoration of the 1922 Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentinostarrer Beyond the Rocks, which Fossati wrote about in From Grain to Pixel (Amsterdam University Press, 2009) examining the challenges of digitising ﬁlm archives.
The restored picture will be given a world premier at the Venice Film Festival in September, in an event commemorating the
“She really wanted to understand the restoration process. The ﬁrst
Lena: A Tale of Lonelines Developed and produced by Amsterdam-based Els Vandevorst, Lena is the second HGCVWTGÄNOHTQOFKTGEVQT Christophe Van Rompaey after his critically acclaimed debut Moscow, Belgium. After its selection in the Contemporary World Cinema programme at Toronto, Lena’s producer and director spoke to Melanie Goodfellow. Inundated with scripts after festival hit Moscow, Belgium, Flemish director Christophe Van Rompaey nearly turned down Dutch producer Els Vandevorst when she contacted him asking whether he would like to direct Lena. “He had a lot of scripts on his desk, a lot of people approaching him and was on the verge of shooting another ﬁlm but he told me to send him the script anyway and that he would read it,” says Vandevorst. The ﬁlm, which Vandevorst started developing with writer Mieke de Jong after they collaborated on Martin Koolhoven’s South in 2003, focuses on isolated, overweight teenager Lena who makes dark compromises to keep her dream boyfriend. The story revolves around her unexpected romance with the good-looking, popular Daan, who asks her to move in with him and his father. Lena thinks she has found the loving home she never had. This dream is quickly shattered but the lonely teenager goes to incredible lengths to maintain the illusion. Something in the character captured Van Rompaey’s imagination. “He called me and said ‘I can’t get the girl out of my head. I can’t think about anything else other than this lonely
character,” recounts Vandevorst. “We met up and immediately clicked. I like Christophe a lot not just as a director but also as a human being. It was clear to me that he was the right director for the project.”
found intriguing. I immediately saw things in her that I could connect to the story,” he explains. Polish actress Buzek, meanwhile, was a revelation to Van Rompaey. “Agata was appearing in a play in Amsterdam. I didn’t know her ﬁlms but Els was keen I audition her. I drove to Amsterdam from Belgium, did a casting and then jumped back into the car and headed back for the opening of the Brussels Film Festival because I was on the jury,” recounts the director.
“Of all the scripts I read, Lena spoke to me the most,” agrees Van Rompaey. “It’s a very personal, character-based story, which I like. Lena’s this isolated, rootless ﬁgure brought up in the Netherlands by a young Polish mother, who needs her but rejects her at the same time because of her own back story.”
tragicomedy about a fortysomething recent divorcée and a single mother’s unlikely relationship with a truck driver. “I am actually a bit puzzled when people refer to the ﬁlm as a comedy because I don’t see it that way. The dramatic and comic are two sides of me. Sure I have an upside, an ability not to take things, and especially not myself, too seriously, but I also have a pretty dark side too, or so people tell me,” says Van Rompaey.
“By strange coincidence, the opening ﬁlm was The Reverse in which Agata is the lead. I took this as some sort of sign,” he concludes. “It was a good call because she is an amazingly professional, talented actress.”
The director was scheduled to shoot his adaptation of Peter Terrin’s dark novel Blank ﬁrst but when ﬁnance for that ﬁlm fell through, he shifted his attention to Lena. First-time actress Emma Levie plays Lena opposite Niels Gomperts (Daan), who recently starred in Shocking Blue (Mark de Cloe). Rising Polish star Agata Buzek (Polish EFP Shooting Star 2010) was cast as Lena’s mother and Jeroen Willems as Daan’s father. But for Van Rompaey, the casting of Lena was key to the success of the ﬁlm.
The shoot took place on the outskirts of Rotterdam earlier this year. In an unusual move, Van Rompaey and cinemato-
“Of all the scripts I read, Lena spoke to me the most.”
“It took us more than a year to cast Lena. She is in every frame. The story is told through her. We are not showing the audience anything she doesn’t know. The actress had to be able to carry the ﬁlm,” he says.
grapher Menno Westendorp decided to frame the ﬁlm in Four-by-Three, shooting uniquely with hand-held cameras. “The decision to shoot in Four-byThree is so right for this ﬁlm. I wanted to shoot it from the perspective of Lena, the story is revealed through her eyes. I wasn’t aiming for an epic look with lots of landscapes, but rather something up-close and personal, claustrophobic almost.”
“I must have seen hundreds of girls. I was getting desperate. Emma came to us by chance. She was something like the best friend of the babysitter of the neighbour of the assistant casting director,” says Van Rompaey with a laugh. “She wasn’t exactly what I was seeking and her ﬁrst casting was really very bad. It was actually what she did between takes that I
Lena marks a change in mood and style for Van Rompaey after Moscow, Belgium - a romantic
Lena Director: Christophe van Rompaey Script: Mieke de Jong Production: Isabella Films, Kazbek, A Private View (BE) Sales: Bavaria Film International (GER) 16
ess and Longing
Christophe van Rompaey
“The best way to ﬁnd a strong partnership is to secure a Dutch producer!”
Meeting Holland This year Signe Zeilich-Jensen takes over as head of the Holland Film Meeting, the international B2B arm of the Netherlands Film Festival. She talks to Nick Cunningham. For a country of its size the Netherlands has more than its fair share of major ﬁlm festivals, all of which are of crucial importance to the sector they serve. IDFA is the most important international documentary festival in the international calendar. Rotterdam (IFFR) has redeﬁned the ﬁnance of independent cinema, while executives working in the ﬁeld of youth production design their yearly schedules around October’s Cinekid. To these must be added the Netherlands Film Festival (NFF), the showcase for the very best of Dutch cinema, which this year runs September 21-30. For the Dutch public it is an essential annual event, but the NFF has a vital international purpose too. Its international arm, the Holland Film Meeting (HFM), was established by the late Wouter Barendrecht in 1988 to forge alliances between Dutch producers and their international counterparts, and to kickstart the process of quality cross-border feature ﬁlm co-production. Based in Utrecht’s luxurious Karel V Hotel, the HFM runs this year from 22-26 September. “Our ambition is to be the best place for ﬁlm professionals to meet,” points out Signe ZeilichJensen who this year replaces former HFM head Ellis Driessen. “We always want to create a unique place for European ﬁlm professionals to meet in the shadow of the bigger ﬁlm festivals and markets. The Holland Film Meeting offers a very effective way
to get to know more about the Dutch ﬁlm industry and for Dutch producers to understand better the production and ﬁnancial mechanisms outside the Netherlands. We see our task as promoting and supporting the Dutch ﬁlm industry and offering strong links to the international ﬁlm world.”
Film Festival in August 2011, during which four Dutch projects were presented to the assembled copro-oriented experts. The Holland Film Meeting will reciprocate with the selection of four Scandinavian projects during the 2011 Production Platform. “The Scandinavian countries are in many ways similar to the Netherlands,” explains ZeilichJensen. “We are from countries with a ‘small’ language, and that makes it difﬁcult for our ﬁlms to travel across our national borders. But Scandinavian ﬁlm and television appeals to Dutch taste. In the past there have been co-productions especially between Denmark and the Netherlands, but now the interest from Dutch producers to co-produce with other Scandinavian countries is stronger. We hope of course that this interest is mutual and have therefore invited Scandinavian producers and funds to visit us in Utrecht.”
The Holland Film Meeting comprises a number of key strategic elements, foremost among which is the Netherlands Production Platform (NPP), a pitching forum during which approximately thirteen European and seven Dutch projects are presented to the cream of international ﬁnanciers, distributors, commissioning editors and potential co-production partners. The numerous Platform projects that have seen international success include Mohamed Al-Daradji’s Son of Babylon (2010, NFF closing ﬁlm), Adrienn Pál (Ágnes Kocsis, Un Certain Regard 2010) and Nanouk Leopold’s Wolfsbergen (Berlinale Forum 2007).
The Scandinavian theme at this year’s HFM theme will continue as Danish TV executive producer Sven Clausen will discuss the recent worldwide success of Danish television drama, such as The Government and The Killling. “Sven has his own unique method of nailing these great HBO-type drama series,” comments Zeilich-Jensen. The Government head-writer Adam Price will also attend the discussion.
“Dutch ﬁlm producers are hard working, social, capable and very ambitious professionals,” points out Zeilich-Jensen. “The best way to ﬁnd a strong partnership is to secure a Dutch producer! The Netherlands Film Fund is also creating more possibilities for co-productions in their programmes. Co-production is going to become more and more important in the future.”
“The yearly focus on a different territory or country gives producers, funds and other ﬁnanciers an easy way to effectively learn more about each others’ work,” she continues. “Personal contact is the best reason for co-production.”
Every year the HFM turns a spotlight on a fellow European industry in order to explore the opportunities for mutual collaboration. This year’s HFM will place special emphasis on the potential for Scandinavian co-production. Zeilich-Jensen partnered with the New Nordic Films market of the Haugesund
Annual HFM events include the Cinema Militans lecture, during
which a luminary of international cinema is invited to expound upon his or her vision of the future of cinema, and the Binger/ Screen International interview with a key creative player from the international ﬁlm scene. Past Cinema Militans lecturers include Peter Greenaway, Tom Tykwer and Agnieska Holland. Former Binger/Screen interviewees include experimental ﬁlmmaker Steve McQueen, directors Pieter Jan Brugge and Terence Davies, and producer Nik Powell. This year’s lecturer and interview subject will be announced early September. Another core piece within the Holland Film Meeting jigsaw puzzle is the Benelux Screenings programme that enables professionals to see the cream of Dutch, Belgian and Luxembourgian output from the previous 12 months. The ﬁlms are English-subtitled and are also available for viewing in the HFM videotheque. This year’s Dutch titles will include Urszula Antoniak’s Code Blue (Directors’ Fortnight, Cannes 2011), Paula van der Oest’s Black Butterﬂies (Tribeca, 2011) and David Verbeek’s IFFR Return of the Tigers winner Club Zeus, and a host of other new titles. “The Holland Film Meeting has been proven to work,” ZeilichJensen conﬁrms. “Many of the guests return every year. This is a good sign. But we also want to encourage new producers to use the platform. So we intend to strengthen the ties with more and more international producers’ associations and bodies. We want more people to know about the Holland Film Meeting, about our activities and about the great possibilities that exist to work so closely with the Dutch ﬁlm industry.”
Still: The Zig Zag Kid Photo: Jaap Vrenegoor
Full Focus Ahead After a tumultuous and worrying year for the Dutch Ă„NOKPFWUVT[JQYFQGU Film Fund chief Doreen Boonekamp assess the future? She talks to Geoffrey Macnab. The Dutch cultural sector has been in turmoil since the coalition Government announced its plans for savage cuts in public funding at the end of 2010. State Secretary for Culture Halbe Zijlstra remarked pointedly that â€œthe cultural sector needs to become less dependent on government subsidies.â€? At the same time the city of Rotterdam announced the closure of the Rotterdam Media Fund in 2012. The public broadcasters also are facing major cuts. In the short term at least, there are few alternative sources for ďŹ lm ďŹ nancing in the Netherlands. The net result is that local producers remain very dependent on the national ďŹ lm agency, the Netherlands Film Fund. â€œFrom every possible side budgets for Dutch ďŹ lm are under pressure,â€? CEO Doreen Boonekamp notes. Inevitably, the Fund has been in the crossďŹ re as the debate about cultural funding has intensiďŹ ed. Boonekamp is in a paradoxical position. On the one hand, the Fund becomes even more vital than before to the ďŹ lm industry. On the other, despite its added responsibilities, the Fundâ€™s budget will shrink. â€œWe have to go on working with a lot less money,â€? Boonekamp states. As it looks now, the Fundâ€™s new budget in 2013 will be â‚Ź28.8 million per year, down from â‚Ź37million. The challenge now, she points out, is to make the right choices in order to retain a
healthy industry, but using less money.
Culture Secretary Zijlstra. As she points out, the Government has reafďŹ rmed that it wants to â€œstrengthen and keep up international co-operation.â€? Zijlstra has also stated his desire to see Dutch ďŹ lm maintain its impressive market share in local cinemas.
During Cannes 2011, Dutch ďŹ lmmakers were angry and despondent having read the advice of the Arts Council to cut back nearly 30% on ďŹ lm spending. Many warned that if Culture Secretary Zijlstra decided to heed this advice then job losses and bankruptcies were inevitable.
â€œObviously, with a lot less money the Film Fund can ďŹ nance a lot less ďŹ lms. So in order to reach the high ambitions of the Government, alternative measures for ďŹ lm ďŹ nancing should be put in place, otherwise these goals will be very hard to reach,â€? Boonekamp states. The level of ambition of the government gives room for a constructive dialogue between the ďŹ lm sector and the Ministry for Culture, she adds.
In June Zijlstra published his policy letter. In terms of money the letter contained a small step forward for Dutch ďŹ lm industry, as cuts where downsized to average 22%. In short the cuts include the following. The International Film Festival Rotterdam, IDFA and the Netherlands Film Festival had their budgets cut by 10%. Both Cinekid and the Holland Animation Film Festival will no
â€œLong before the cuts were even announced we stressed the importance of putting in place alternative measures for ďŹ lm ďŹ nancing in order to give the Dutch ďŹ lm industry a healthy and competitive international position. Together with our international colleagues we have designed several measures which could well be implemented in the Netherlands. Within the coming months we will thoroughly talk things through with the Government to see which could get their support,â€? the Film Fund boss declares.
â€œâ€Śalternative measures for ďŹ lm ďŹ nancing should be put in place.â€? longer receive funding through central government, but will have to turn to the Film Fund from 2013 onwards. The support for both the Binger Film Lab and the Netherlands Institute for Animated Film is cut by 100% and the EYE Film Institute will get neither support for its distribution activities nor extra support for its change of location. The Film Fund will see a 22.5% shrinkage in its budget while at the same time taking on more tasks.
Hopes remain strong that the Dutch will get their own soft money scheme to attract inward investment and bolster further the countryâ€™s status as a coproduction partner. Boonekamp also ďŹ‚oats the idea that various regional ďŹ lm funds could be set up across the Netherlands.
Council of Europe Fund for co-production, distribution and exhibition. The Film Fund is also determined to keep up the annual volume of minority co-productions it is involved in. Next to working closely with Germany, Belgium, Denmark and Hungary, ties are also still strong with the Irish Film Board. The Film Fund has actioned a number of improvements. The organisation rewrote its regulations and streamlined its structure, relaunching its website in mid-June and inviting future applications to be made digitally. The new logo incorporates the word â€œNetherlandsâ€? to clarify the country of origin. Earlier this year the Fund launched additional measures to boost the international release of Dutch features and documentaries. Boonekamp and her team are now busy determining how they will spend their (reduced) budget for the next four-year funding cycle, running 2013-2016. â€œWe have to think how we can serve industry best and to deďŹ ne the goals for the coming period and how these can be reached,â€? she says. Notwithstanding the announcement of the Governmentâ€™s planned cuts, there has been a mini production boom with over 10 ďŹ lms such as the Dutch-Irish co-production Milo, Vincent Balâ€™s The Zig Zag Kid (co-starring Isabella Rossellini) and Peter Greenawayâ€™s Goltzius And The Pelican Company all shooting over the late summer.
The Dutch are committed to remaining in Eurimages, the
But Boonekamp is accentuating the positive signals coming from
Dutch Harvest Dutch ďŹ lms currently in production 170Hz
Director: Joost van Ginkel Script: Joost van Ginkel Production: Column Film, Crocchetta Films Two lovers, both deaf, escape a world hostile to their love. #VUEPFTPOFPGUIFNIBWFBRVJUFEJGGFSFOUSFBTPOUPÂżFF
Director: Joram LĂźrsen Script: Tamara Bos Production: BosBros, CinĂŠ Cri de Coeur (BE), uFilm (BE), LĂźrsen Filmproducties Sales: Delphis Films 8IFOUIFJOOPDFOU"MĂƒFTVEEFOMZUVSOTJOUPBXIJUF ÂżVGGZXFSFXPMGPOUIFOJHIUPGIJTTFWFOUICJSUIEBZ IF doesnâ€™t know what is happeningâ€Ś
Director: Boudewijn Koole Script: Boudewijn Koole, Jolein Laarman Production: Waterland Film Sales: Delphis Films Jojo gets caught between caring for a jackdaw and his loyalty towards his father. Eventually, somethingâ€™s got to give.
Ataraxia â€“ Poodle Shaving for the Blind
Fidgety Bram (Brammetje Baas)
Director: Sander Blom Script: Sander Blom Production: seriousFilm "RVFTUUPĂƒOEUIFVMUJNBUFNBOVBMGPSMJGF
Director: Anna van der Heide Script: Tamara Bos Production: BosBros Sales: Delphis Films For Fidgety Bram, constantly moving around isnâ€™t a QSPCMFNVOUJMIFFOUFSTUIFĂƒSTUHSBEFXJUIUIFTUSJDU Mr. Fishâ€Ś
Director: Berend Boorsma, Roel Boorsma Script: Berend Boorsma, Roel Boorsma, Heather Imani Production: Fu Works, Samon Films (IE), A Private View (BE) Ten-year old Miloâ€™s rare genetic disease forces him and his parents to embrace the imperfections in their lives.
Above my Head (3D) (Ondersteboven)
Director: Eugenie Jansen Script: Patrick Minks Production: De Productie, Minds Meet (BE) "ĂƒMNBCPVUUIFDPOGVTJPOGFMUCZPGBZPVOHHJSM BOEUIF way fantasy helps her cope with her motherâ€™s death.
Director: Sacha Polak Script: Helena van der Meulen Production: Circe Films, Bella Cohen Films, Jaleo Films (ES) )FNFMJTĂƒHIUJOHBHVFSSJMMBXBSXJUIFWFSZNBOJOUPXO looking for the difference between sex and love.
Director: Fow Pyng Hu Script: Fow Pyng Hu Production: IDTV Film, De Productie After he loses his job and is kicked out by his girlfriend, /JDLFNCBSLTPOBSPBEUSJQUP$SPBUJBUPĂƒOEIJNTFMG
Dutch ďŹ lms soon to be released Nova Zembla
Bennie Naught (Bennie Stout)
Tony Ten (Tony Tien)
Director: Reinout Oerlemans Script: Hugo Heinen Production: Eyeworks Film & TV Drama, Inspire Pictures Nova Zembla tells the gripping true story of the legendary GBJMFENJTTJPOPGUIFUIDFOUVSZ%VUDIÂżPUJMMBUSZJOHUP ĂƒOEBUSBEJOHSPVUFBDSPTTUIF/PSUI1PMFUP"TJB
Director: Johan Nijenhuis Script: Wijo Koek Production: Farmhouse Film & TV, Nijenhuis en Co The only way that Bennie can see his father is to be the naughtiest boy in town.
Director: Mischa Kamp Script: Mieke de Jong Production: Lemming Film, Ma.Ja.De (DE), U-Media (BE) Sales: Delphis Films The story of little Tony whose father rises from humble crane driver to become Secretary of State.
All Stars 2: Old Stars
Fourteen years later, the All Stars are re-united - but now theyâ€™re the Old Stars. See page 30
The Gang of Oss (De Bende van Oss)
A young woman is desperate to escape from the web of crime that surrounds her, but the harder she tries the more embroiled she becomes. See page 14
Director: Rudolf van den Berg Script: Rudolf van den Berg, Chris W. Mitchell Production: Fu Works, Cadenza Film, Rinkel Film 1942. In an attempt to save a group of Jewish children from EFQPSUBUJPO 8BMUFS4Â˝TLJOENVTUCFGSJFOEBO44PGĂƒDFS but the Nazi later exacts ruthless revenge on the Jew.
Director: Pascale Simons Script: Philip Delmaar Production: IJswater Films, Revolver Media Productions 0WFSUIFDPVSTFPGIPVST -0564QSPÂżJFTTFWFSBM anonymous and lonely lives within our hectic society.
The Zig Zag Kid
The President (De President)
The Heineken Kidnapping (De Heineken Ontvoering)
"ĂƒMNCBTFEPOUIFOPUPSJPVTLJEOBQBOEJODBSDFSBUJPOPG beer magnate Alfred Heineken in 1983. See page 26
After Isabelle, an exceptionally beautiful actress, is abducted by Jeanne, an ugly artist, the two women enter into a prolonged psychological battle. See page back cover
A plump, harmless girl makes dark compromises to keep her dream boyfriend. See page 16
Patatje Oorlog (A Small Chance)
A small girl tries to minimise the odds of her absent father coming to harm. See page 28 Director: Vincent Bal Script: Vincent Bal (& John Gilbert) Production: BosBros, N279 Entertainment, Prime Time (BE) After 13-year old Nono commits a series of crimes with master-burglar Felix, the boy discovers the true story about his father and his deceased mother. And also a lot about himself....
Director: Erik de Bruyn Script: Marco van Geffen, Erik de Bruyn Production: Lemming Film, Proton Cinema (HU), U-Film (BE) What happens when an illegal Moroccan accidentally CFDPNFTUIFĂƒSTU%VUDIQSFTJEFOU
Shock Head Soul
Documentary about the brilliant 19th century lawyer Daniel Paul Schreber who received messages from God telling him to change into a woman. See page 10
No Kidding! Cinekid is the international festival for kids par excellence, and celebrates its 25th edition in October. Director Sannette Naeyé talks to Nick Cunningham. Cinekid may host a prestigious international competition. It may provide the ideal platform for the release of new Dutch and international ﬁlms for kids. It may also offer must-attend co-production forums to all of the key players within the global ﬁlm, tv and cross-media sectors. But Cinekid isn’t just a ﬁlm festival, albeit one with enormous appeal to leading international ﬁlm professionals. Through its extensive and interactive media literacy programme, and its roving Cinekid on Location programme across 30 Dutch cities, it is also an event with an avowed aim to educate children within the green ﬁelds of new media. “In Holland, kids spend on average about four hours per day with media,” points out Naeyé, “but, in general, we don’t prepare children at all for the life they are living. In school it is about linear teaching, learning to read and write and it more or less stops there. But at Cinekid we are very much advocates of media literacy, especially for young children, because they live in a totally interactive media world. We allow them to participate actively and creatively develop skills to empower themselves fully within this context of media.” This year’s Cinekid conference, titled Living in Media: Successfully Engaging the New Generation, will address head on the issue of the media industries’ engagement with children’s content. The message is simple. Interacting with media is no longer optional.
On the contrary, it is a crucial component of everyday education and play. Conferences speakers will include former head of CBBC and Cbeebies Marc Goodchild and transmedia expert Christy Dena.
change within this new world. With the different types of platforms, all kinds of possibilities as to how to produce must be explored, because everywhere budgets are tight.” This need to adapt may well affect the future structure of Cinekid’s ‘Junior’ events. “I foresee that these three different co-production markets will eventually drift into one as all production in the future will look for cross-platform applications,” Naeyé predicts.
Central to the festival’s professional programme are three co-production markets - for ﬁlm, television and crossmedia. The Junior Film Market, an initiative of the festival and leading Dutch producer Lemming Film, offers a selection of ﬁfteen highly entertaining and challenging international projects to potential coproducers. A minimum 10% of the required ﬁnancing must be in place to qualify for selection. Fifteen further projects are up for co-pro grabs in The Junior Television Market.
In between meetings, open mic will be offered to potential co-pro partners who are offered the opportunity to explain what they are looking to invest in, and hence the type of product they need. Unlike many other co-production markets there are no open pitches by producers, and most meetings with potential co-producers have been set up in advance of the event.
“At Cinekid we are very much advocates of media education, especially for young children, because they live in a totally interactive media world.”
Cinekid also offers a digital market, equipped with state of the art screening facilities, for professional guests. At the Screening Club ﬁlm and tv buyers, as well as programmers, ﬁnanciers, producers and press, can view more than 250 new Dutch and international productions for children, including the full festival programme. Business facilities are laid on for executives to discuss and conclude ﬁlm sales.
thirteen new ﬁlms from the Netherlands, why has the kids genre developed so successfully in the Netherlands? The ﬁrst reason, Naeyé argues, is the highly supportive levels of funding from the broadcasters and funds, especially the Netherlands Film Fund. The other reason, she explained in interview in 2010, why such a profusion of strong, groundbreaking and highly educational works of entertainment emerge from the Netherlands is to do with something inherent within the Dutch psyche. “The Dutch can be categorised on one side as teachers with one ﬁnger in the air, telling you what to do, and practical on the other side, but nevertheless anarchic and unconventional,” Naeyé observes. “Our key is applied art. That’s why we are strong in design and architecture, and we think outside the box to create new things. Also the Dutch are very strong in children’s production because we look to the content and not to political convention, so we are innovative.” “The Dutch mentality is to be solid, content-oriented, prepared to go into things in depth, a bit naughty, and a little bit mad, continually testing commercial boundaries,” she concludes.
“There is no international alternative to Cinekid,” Naeyé underlines.
The Junior Cross-Media Market looks to stimulate the ﬁnance of 8-10 projects within the shifting multi-media production landscape. “The multi-media markets are still very much in development because the producers in the industry have to ﬁnd their way to collaborate,” stresses Naeyé. “We all have to
Kicking off the festival this year is Nicole van Kilsdonk’s Patatje Oorlog (see pages 28-29), which competes both in international and Dutch competitions. With the latter competition offering
Photo: Gerlinde de Geus
Crime and Punishment #ÄNOCDQWVVJG0GVJGTNCPFUl most audacious kidnap case sees Rutger Hauer’s return to the Dutch production scene after 30 years. The Heineken Kidnapping producer Frans van Gestel and director Maarten Treurniet speak to Nick Cunningham In Dutch terms it was the crime of the century. When beer magnate Alfred Heineken was kidnapped in 1983 the nation was gripped. Heineken was the majority stakeholder in his family business. He was a friend both of the nation’s queen and Frank Sinatra, and a pillar of Netherlands society. For 21 days his incarceration was the lead item on every news bulletin. Nobody knew if he was alive or dead. As The Heineken Kidnapping producer Frans van Gestel of Amsterdam-based IDTV Film points out, “For the Dutch it was as if crime had ﬁnally grown up. Until then, we even weren’t aware that these kinds of thing could happen in the Netherlands. We didn’t have the Red Brigade (Italy) or Germany’s Red Army Faction. We weren’t familiar either with political crime or with big crime in general. The impact of the Heineken kidnap on the Dutch was enormous. “ So when director Maarten Treurniet approached Van Gestel to make a ﬁlm of the story, the producer jumped at the chance. The project’s seeds, however, were planted many years before. Treurniet takes up the story. “In 1993 I had just ﬁnished ﬁlm school and a fellow student and I were asked by a producer to develop a story for a feature ﬁlm about a kidnapping,” he recalls. “That was all he said to us, so I said why not the Heineken case.
So we investigated this possibility, but the people who committed the crime, and especially their leader Cor van Hout, were not happy. They had a spokesman who said if Cor says don’t do it, then I wouldn’t do it. It was quite sinister.”
audiences, much like the beer, and the pedigree of the production team is beyond question. What’s more, the ﬁlm is proving very interesting to major international sales companies. But what is set to ignite the highest interest in the ﬁlm is the return of Rutger Hauer in his ﬁrst major role in a Dutch ﬁlm since Paul Verhoeven’s Spetters (1980)
After Van Hout’s murder in 2001 Treurniet revisited the project. Then he discovered that the father of one of the kidnappers had been ﬁred by Heineken many years before because he was an alcoholic. “I was intrigued,” Treurniet stresses. “I had found the motive for my story.”
the whole time. We talked a lot and in the end it became a mix. I am very happy with the result. To work with an experienced professional like Rutger as a director you have to be prepared to the max. The collaboration improved the ﬁlm greatly.”
“At ﬁrst it was difﬁcult to get Rutger’s full attention,” admits producer Van Gestel. “But after he read the script and met with Maarten he was really willing to play the role. We always thought of him in terms of age, in terms of international appeal, and the power of his acting. He was by far the number one. We didn’t have an alternative.”
“The impact of the Heineken kidnap on the Dutch was enormous.”
Treurniet was delighted with the ease of transition from verbal to contractual agreement, and was eager to see the effect that working with a luminary of Hauer’s stature would have on his fellow thespians.
He had also found the structure for his story. While the ﬁrst half of the ﬁlm chronicles Heineken’s kidnap and captivity, the second half details the magnate’s dogged pursuit of the fugitives and his determination to put them behind bars. “If you make just a one-way story about the kidnap then it is not interesting – everybody knows the ending,” insists Treurniet. “You can only make this story if you see it from both sides.”
“When this giant of a man walked into the rehearsal room all these young actors held their breath,” Treurniet observes. “But he is very generous with the other actors. He is very interested in them. He went out to dinner with the actors who played the four kidnappers, just to get to know them. He had a right to refusal to co-stars in his contract. But he went with all of our choices. He is very professional.”
IDTV and local distributor A-Film are fully aware of the enormous potential of the ﬁlm. Budgeted at €4.5 million with a Dutch release date of 27 October 2011, The Heineken Kidnapping is pure commercial fare, but with strong international breakout potential. The subject is powerful and relevant to Dutch and European
Hauer was, nevertheless, demanding when the cameras began to roll. “He was so involved with his character and he wanted to decide whether Heineken was a nice guy or a bully,” Treurniet observes. “In my script he is a bully that becomes a nice guy, but Rutger wanted to play him nice
The Heineken Kidnapping Director: Maarten Treurniet Script: Kees van Beijnum, Maarten Treurniet Production: IDTV Film
Photo: Piet Weyman 27
Against the Odds Nicole van Kilsdonk’s Patatje Oorlog will open the 2011 Cinekid Festival on October 18. The director talks to Nick Cunningham about kids, the festival and the nature of chance.
Patatje Oorlog is based on the Golden Pen-winning Een Kleine Kans (A Little Chance) by Marjolijn Hof, a children’s book that has been translated into many languages (the English-language title is Against the Odds).
Patatje Oorlog may be a ﬁlm about calculating odds and reducing risk, but it’s not a ﬁlm about cynical and wise-cracking gamblers. Nor is it a Wall Streettype portrayal of high ﬁnance across the trading ﬂoors of London and Frankfurt. Rather, it is a poignant and intimate ﬁlm about a child who looks to minimise the odds of her father getting hurt by transferring his potential suffering onto the animals within her imagination.
One shift from the originating text is that the title wasn’t deemed kid-friendly enough, hence its change to Patatje Oorlog, which is a Dutch dish of fries and a mixture of kethup and satay-ﬂavoured mayonnaise. The term patatje oorlog literally means potato (or chips) war. In the ﬁlm, we observe such an army of war-bound animated chips.
Nine-year old Kiek worries about her dad who works as a doctor for an international aid organisation. One day in her class a discussion takes place about the nature of chance, and later her mother explains that the chances of anything happening to her father are very small. Nevertheless, Kiek reasons that if she owns a dead mouse then the chances of her having a dead father too must be very small indeed. But when her father continually fails to phone home, the need to offset the danger that she feels he encounters becomes more necessary, and more graphic. “So she thinks ‘ok, I must kill a dog’,” explains the ﬁlm’s director, Nicole van Kilsdonk. “But her fantasy about how she must kill the dog is a bit sinister, so we animated it. She thinks about how she can shoot the dog to the moon in a rocket, or throw him under a train, but because it is done in animation it has a totally different tone to the rest of the ﬁlm.”
Hence the balance between Kiek’s engagement with her real-life dilemma and her animated chance-altering fantasies. “You must accept that Kiek believes that throwing a dog in front of a train can inﬂuence chance,” Van Kilsdonk adds. “That was the challenge, to see the dilemma from the girl’s perspective, but in a really visual way, and without being too heavy on her. You have to like the girl in the ﬁlm. You shouldn’t think ‘oh God, she’s frowning all day’.”
“And we are very happy to open the festival,” she enthuses. “With this ﬁlm I’m really happy that we captured the right atmosphere and that we found the right actress. I think that we made an accessible, warm and emotional ﬁlm. I am really happy that Cinekid saw it that way too.”
The ﬁlm started life as a teleﬁlm project pitched to public broadcaster VARA. With producer Marleen Slot of Lemming Film and screenwriter Lotte Tabbers, Van Kilsdonk received script development ﬁnance, but VARA subsequently passed on a commission. “But this was ok because we were able to complete the script, and the project was obviously better for cinema,” Van Kilsdonk stresses. “We really wanted to continue. So we went to the Netherlands Film Fund and NCRV [public broadcaster], which went very smoothly, and we then received money from the VAF (Flemish Audiovisual Fund) and eventually another €100,000 from Eurimages.” The ﬁlm was made for €1.4 million.
“I wanted to make a ﬁlm with lightness and engagement, which is very hard in a child’s movie.” “The novel was small and very beautiful in terms of the way it was told,” comments Van Kilsdonk. “The girl’s whole process of thinking was totally illogical but Hof made it logical, and she told the story with a lot of humour and some very special writing. I’ve always been interested in making a child’s movie, especially as I have a child the same age as Kiek. I wanted to make a ﬁlm with lightness and engagement, which is very hard in a child’s movie. Very often you have to make it adventurous or funny, but this story was very nice, and I wanted to ﬁgure out how I could get into the head of this girl, talking about her contemporary world, but still engage the public.”
Van Kilsdonk believes that her ﬁlm ﬁts into the long-established Dutch tradition of smart and engaging ﬁlms made for kids. “This tradition developed at a time when Dutch adult ﬁlms weren’t being taken seriously at all,” she comments. “When I left ﬁlm school at the end of the 1980s we were very cynical about Dutch cinema, except children’s ﬁlms. People say that the Dutch are good for documentaries and ﬁlms for kids, but that was a reaction because people just didn’t take the adult ﬁction ﬁlms seriously.
Patatje Oorlog Director: Nicole van Kilsdonk Script: Lotte Tabbers Production: Lemming Film, A Private View (BE) Sales: Delphis Films (CAN) 28
Nicole van Kilsdonk
Team Reunion Jean van de Velde’s All Stars 2: Old Stars, a sequel to his 1997 soccer-based comedy hit, which was later transformed into a popular television series, is one of the Netherlands’ most eagerly CYCKVGFDQZQHÄEGTGNGCUGU this autumn. He tells Melanie Goodfellow why he decided to reunite the team. Dutch writer and director Jean van de Velde is perhaps best known internationally for his hard-hitting feature The Silent Army about child soldiers in East Africa, which screened in Un Certain Regard in 2009. But back home he will be forever associated with All Stars, his tragicomedy about a bunch of men who have played football together for the same amateur team since they were young boys. The ﬁlm spawned a popular television series of the same name, which was a huge hit at home and won an international drama Emmy in 2000, as well as several international remakes. Van de Velde’s decision to make a sequel came partly out of a desire to work with the cast of the original ﬁlm and television series, many of whom had remained good friends. “When we shot the original ﬁlm, for four or ﬁve of them it was their ﬁlm debut... most of them came not out of acting but rather from a stand-up comedy background. We had a hilarious time,” he explains. “The idea was always there that maybe we should do one more All Stars... I just needed to come up with the right story.” The director eventually found inspiration in British Michael Apted’s Up documentary series, capturing the lives of 14 Britons
every seven years, starting with Seven Up in 1964. “I got the boxed set for my birthday ﬁve years ago. I thought to myself why not do the same thing in ﬁction? Why not make a new All Stars 14 years later?” he says.
“But my wife, who is very wise, said, ‘don’t even think about the project for a month and then see how you feel.’ I also spoke with Antonie’s widow Isa, who was also in the original and the sequel as the wife of another character, and she felt strongly that the production should go on.”
“I started thinking about how life can play all sorts of tricks, how characters who were the most promising 14 years ago have met with failure, how some are dealing with divorces, how one can even become a grandfather at forty-something,” he continues.
Van de Velde reworked the script in such a way that Kamerling’s character remained part of the story although he is absent from the screen. “The ﬁlm was always meant to be partly about dealing with loss,” he says. “I’ve tried to honour the character that Antonie would have played in the backdrop.”
As van de Velde imagined what had happened to his characters in the interim, he hit upon the idea of taking the friends on a road trip to Barcelona to attend the wedding of the one gay player on the team and watch a Madrid-Barcelona soccer derby.
story of the cabaret show which took place at the Westerbork transit camp every Tuesday in northeastern Netherlands, after the departure of the weekly train bound for Auschwitz. “I decided a long time ago that I didn’t want to get stuck doing one type of movie for the whole of my career,” comments Van de Velde. “My ultimate mantra, to quote Monty Python, is ‘and now for something completely different’.”
As the media campaign revs up for the ﬁlm’s release in October, van de Velde is already developing two other, very different, projects aimed at the international co-production scene. The ﬁrst is
Tragically, just as he was ﬁnishing the script, key cast member Antonie Kamerling died, almost prompting Van de Velde to abandon the production. “The day I met with the producer Rolf Koot for lunch to lock down the script, Antonie committed suicide,” says Van de Velde. “The irony was that he was due to play the part of the guy who died in the movie and was then reincarnated in another character. We had talked about the role a few weeks earlier and he was very excited about it - he was a very spiritual person.”
“The idea was always there that maybe we should do one more All Stars... I just needed to come up with the right story.” an adaptation of Surinamese writer Cynthia McLeod’s popular novel The Price of Sugar about the relationship between a wealthy family of plantation owners and their slaves in the former Dutch colony of Suriname in South America.
“His death was a total shock for all of us. We knew he suffered from depression but nobody expected this drastic act,” he continues. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go on with the project. I didn’t really feel like being on the set, making jokes without Antonie around. I think a lot of the actors felt the same.
The second project is based on Edwin de Vries’ WW2 screenplay Westerbork Blues, about the true
All Stars 2: Old Stars Director: Jean van de Velde Script: Jean van de Velde Production: M&B Film BV, All Yours Film
Photo: Janey van Ierland
5VCT2TQÄNG Halina Reijn Halina Reijn is best known internationally as good-time girl Ronnie in Paul Verhoeven’s Black Book. But back home, she is regarded as one of the most talented and versatile actresses of her generation with past credits that include roles in the Oscarnominated Zus & Zo, Grimm, Father’s Affair, Polleke and Blind. The 35-year-old star recounts how she caught the acting bug at the age of six after seeing the ﬁlm Annie. “When I saw it I knew
I had to be an actress,” she says. Reijn is as at home on stage as on the ﬁlm set. She recently toured with Jean Cocteau’s The Human Voice, about a woman grieving over the loss of her lover, and is currently appearing in Hedda Gabler. Back on the big screen, Reijn will soon be seen in Ben Sombogaart’s adaptation of Tessa de Loo’s novel Isabelle, a pyschological thriller about glamorous movie star Isabelle who is kidnapped and starved by the unattractive artist Jeanne. Sombogaart reveals he had originally earmarked Reijn for the role of the artist.
“One day during rehearsals, I asked Halina to switch roles as an experiment,” recounts Sombogaart. “Halina is not a conventional beauty but the result was remarkable. The moment she started playing this beautiful star, she became it. She ﬁlled up the part. She made an amazing transformation through the sheer strength of her personality. ” The director was impressed by Reijn’s commitment and focus during the production. During a 4-week break she lost 20 kilos for the ﬁnal scenes of the ﬁlm. “It was a gruelling process. She had to go on a severe diet and also through a
tough daily exercise plan to achieve the emaciated look required for the role,” says Sombogaart. Reijn has just come off the set of Peter Greenaway’s Goltzius and the Pelican Company about Hendrik Goltzius, a late 16th century Dutch printer and engraver of erotic prints. “It was one of the best experiences ever! I loved working with him. He is so smart and wise. The cast is made up of actors from all over the world (such as F. Murray Abrahams), all of them serious actors with theatre backgrounds,” says Reijn. “I really learned a lot.”