Twins in search of justice
Film Fund/EYE: Backing Dutch Exports
Ramon Gieling talks About Canto
Making co-productions work with Dutch technical talent
Frank Scheffer records Time Passing
Issue #5 November 2011/ The Documentary Issue
A publication by the Netherlands Film Fund and EYE Film Institute Netherlands
View from the edge
Pp 2-3 and cover
Pp 20-23 Dutch Harvest
Image preview: IDFA feature-length competition selection Gozaran-Time Passing by Frank Scheffer
A listing of the current crop of Dutch documentaries as well as docs currently in production
View from the Edge: Yamagata International Documentary Festival director Asako Fujioka on her delight at programming Dutch documentaries
Pp 24-25 Discord in Childhood
P 4 Image preview
Ramon Gielingâ€™s About Canto
P 5 Image preview Twins Femke and Ilsen van Velzenâ€™s Justice for Sale
P 6 Image preview
I Am a Woman Now, Michiel van Erp
P 7 Image Preview
Jeanette Groenendaalâ€™s Reformation
documentary ďŹ lmmakers speak of his inďŹ‚uence in their work. In 1999, we held a major retrospective of this auteurâ€™s work alongside lectures and symposiums, and 31 of his ďŹ lms were screened. His ideals and actions as he rushed through the turbulent 20th Century teach us about the passion of a singular ďŹ lmmaker.
Jeanette Groenendaal discusses Reformation, her poignant and lyrical BOEFYQFSJNFOUBMĂƒMNBCPVUBCVTFJO childhood
Pp 26-27 Export or Die EYE Internationalâ€™s Claudia Landsberger and the Netherlands Film Fundâ€™s Doreen Boonekamp discuss the initiatives in place to secure wider BVEJFODFTGPS%VUDIĂƒMNTBCSPBE
Asako Fujioka, Director, Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival
Pp 28-29 Short Cuts
I am very impressed not only by Dutch documentary ďŹ lms, which are diverse, but also the culture and industry that support them.
Pp 8-11 Behind the Scenes
Pp 30-31 Position Among the Stars
How Dutch post-production experts are raising the bar in the quality of international co-productions
The extraordinary festival success of Leonard Retel Helmrichâ€™s IDFA 2010 winner
The international ďŹ lm festivals of Rotterdam and IDFA have been exciting to watch in their evolution and constant growth, and as a ďŹ lm festival organiser I am always in awe of, and inspired by, them.
Pp 12-13 COVER STORY Oh Man, Take Heed 4&&/-UBMLTUPĂƒMNNBLFS'SBOL Scheffer about bringing modernist culture to Iran
Pp 14-15 Music Maestro
It is thanks to such platforms that ďŹ lmmakers are urged to make ďŹ lms - it is important for them to know that there is a community waiting to see their next ďŹ lm and that their work is valuable to many.
Ramon Gieling discusses Canto Ostinato, a piece of music that has had a profound and transformative effect on a number of people. His About Canto features in IDFA main competition
Pp 16-17 Twin Objective
Femke and Ilsen van Velzenâ€™s Justice for Sale is in Dutch competition at IDFA a year after an astonishing Forum pitch in 2010. They talk to SEE NL
Due to inadequate funding, Yamagata has not chosen to open a market or pitching program, or to create funds such as the Jan Vrijman or Hubert Bals Funds. But the spirit of always evolving to try and provide what ďŹ lmmakers (and audiences) need is an important and ongoing goal for the YIDFF management.
Pp 18-19 A Question of Gender Michiel van Erpâ€™s talks to SEE NL about his investigation into what it means to become a transsexual. His I Am a Woman Now screens in Dutch competition at IDFA
When I assess the inďŹ‚uence of Dutch documentary ďŹ lmmakers, obviously Joris Ivens is an important character not only within the history of world cinema but particularly within Asian documentary. Even today, many Chinese or Indonesian
Here at the YIDFF, the love we hold in our hearts for Heddy Honigmann is unsurpassed. We have shown four of her ďŹ lms in competition, and were very fortunate and overwhelmed to have her with us personally for the ďŹ rst time in 2009. It is very seldom that we donâ€™t have a Dutch ďŹ lm in our International Competition. Whatâ€™s more, ďŹ lms from the Netherlands have always formed an important part of our retrospectives, when we put together ďŹ lms about war and colonialism, for example, or historical documentaries. This is also very important as it shows the Dutch respect for archiving and also its open-minded system in providing opportunities for international audiences to see these ďŹ lms. Some countries have one or the other, but few have both. The Dutch festivals receive very generous and enviable support from their government and from the EU. Such support for arts and culture is one of the ideals upon which a country should stand. Japan, with its over emphasis on economy and immediate statistics, is a poor contrast.
Director Frank Scheffer EJTDVTTFTIJTÃMNJO*%'" competition, about a conductor’s desire to bring avant-garde music to Iran.
“I deﬁnitely think that John Cage is the ferryman into the 21st century as an artist. With him, the boundaries, the borders of countries were no more.” See pages 12-13
Gozaran-Time Passing Director: Frank Scheffer Production: Pieter van Huystee Film, Euro Arts (DE) Sales: Public Film 3
Ramon Gieling discusses his IDFA competition selection about Simeon ten Holt’s musical composition Canto Ostinato.
“When I ﬁrst heard it, it did not have so much impact. But, for me, good music doesn’t reveal itself at the ﬁrst moment.” See pages 14-15
About Canto Director: Ramon Gieling Production: Eyeworks Film & TV Drama, Prime Time (BE) Sales: NPO Sales
Justice for Sale
Identical twins Femke and Ilsen WBO7FM[FO ÃMNNBLFSTBOE activists alike, talk to SEE NL BCPVUUIFÃOBMQBSUPGUIFJSUSJMPHZ addressing the issue of rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“We make this point quite subtly part way through the ﬁlm.... We plan to show Justice for Sale to policymakers and NGOs to generate a debate about this issue and together look for solutions.” Pages 16-17 Justice for Sale Directors: Femke van Velzen, Ilse van Velzen Production: IFProductions Sales: Films Transit
I Am a Woman Now Michiel van Erp’s documentary BCPVUUIFÃSTUHFOFSBUJPOPG transsexuals, operated on between the 1950s and the 1970s, who are now taking stock of their lives.
‘The doctor’s main interest was in the medical challenge of performing the operation, not in the emotional upheaval facing his patients.’ Pages 18-19 I Am a Woman Now Director: Michiel van Erp Production: De Familie Distribution: Cinema Delicatessen Sales: CAT&Docs
Jeanette Groenendaal recounts a pastoral childhood, with pain at its root.
“These are taboo memories about misuse, and it’s very hard to ﬁlm them in documentary style. It would be me doing the victimising. I cannot reproduce those images with children. So the images of absence are very present within this ﬁlm.” Pages 24-25
Reformation Director: Jeanette Groenendaal Production: G-netwerk
“It was important to collaborate with key creative persons from outside of Israel”
Photos: Yvonne Witte
Still: Vivan las Antipodas by Victor Kossakovsky
Money well spent Documentary producers looking to set up coproductions with the Netherlands can tap into a wealth of technical talent. Melanie Goodfellow investigates. Working with Rotterdam-based sound designer Ranko Paukovic on the award-winning documentary Double Take marked something of a departure for Belgian director Johan Grimonprez, who had previously put together the sound for his documentaries himself. “We had to push Johan a bit as he is used to doing everything himself,” comments Belgian producer Emmy Oost of Brusselsbased Zap-o-matik. “It was a learning process: getting to know one another’s work and seeing if co-operation with a sound designer could be part of Johan’s working process.” The documentary, exploring the rise of television through the central ﬁgure of Alfred Hitchcock, and against the backdrop of the Cold War, was pitched at IDFA’s Forum co-production market in 2005, winning support from Rotterdam-based Volya Films and German Nikovantastic Film. “As in all co-productions, you discuss with the director which technicians could come from the co-producing countries, because you have to fulﬁl the requirements,” says Oost.
Among the Stars as well as Ineke Smits’ Transit Dubai (2008).
Amsterdam-based Memphis Film.
Grimonprez says Paukovic’s work on the documentary feature, deﬁnitely improved it.
Glynne also did the sound design on Allan Sekula and Noel Burch’s ﬁlm essay about the ills of contemporary global trade patterns The Forgotten Space.
“I’d done the sound myself on my previous documentary Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y. I have a huge library... but on the basis of my experience of working with Ranko I’d say one plus one makes three, “ says Gimonprez. He didn’t just enhance the quality of the sound-score, he creatively added to it.”
The documentary, which won Horizons Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival this year, was a co-production between the Austrian WILDart Film and the Amsterdam-based Doc.Eye Film. “In Lost Down Memory Lane, we worked a lot on music placement and music dosage. It’s quite a sober sounding ﬁlm with a few other elements such as the sound of clocks. It was important to get it just right so that the sound of clocks was there and made the point without being too heavy,” says Glynne.
Paukovic has since worked on a number of other co-productions, including Sophie Fiennes’ Over Your Cities Grass will Grow, about German artist Anselm Kiefer, and Colombian director Cirro Guerra’s feature The Wind Journeys (Los Viajes del Viento).
In terms of the logistics of the work, Glynne says very little changes when working on a co-production.
“Working on co-productions is like entering a completely new world even though I’m still sitting in the Netherlands,” says Paukovic. “You have to be prepared for cultural differences. You can’t send an email to a Colombian or Armenian ﬁlmmaker and expect an immediate reply... they have a different sense of time there.”
“If I’m working on a Dutch production, I can touch base with the director and producer fairly easily throughout the project,” says Glynne. “When I’m doing a co-production, I have to be a bit more organised. The work is more compact. I sometimes go abroad but often I end up doing the work in my studios, and the director comes here.”
Paukovic is among a number of talented Netherlands-based technicians adding to the territory’s appeal as an interesting co-producing partner.
Volya Films suggested sound designer Paukovic, who works out of his Editson Studios in Rotterdam, for the project.
Fellow sound designer Mark Glynne, founder of the Anthill Sound Design studios in Amsterdam, has recently worked on Belgian director Klara Van Es’ Lost Down Memory Lane.
Croatian-born Paukovic has an impressive body of work behind him, including Leonard Retel Helmrich’s IDFA 2010 Position
An exploration of Alzheimer’s disease, the documentary was a co-production between Belgian Associate Directors and
Amsterdam-based composer and musician Wouter van Bemmel, meanwhile, ended up going to Israel and the West Bank for the score of Yariv Mozer’s The Invisible Men. The ﬁlm is about the plight of gay Palestinians, rejected by their communities in the West Bank and living illegally in Tel Aviv.
The ﬁlm was co-produced by Israeli Mozer Film and Gertjan Langeland and Sander Verdonk of the Dutch Lev Pictures, with the support of the New Israeli Film Fund, the Netherlands Film Fund, Yes Doc and IKON Dutch TV. “I was working in my regular way, trying out sounds – pondering whether it should be a musical score or whether there should there be more soundscapes – when Mozer asked me to come to Tel Aviv, which I thought was a good idea, even though it wasn’t on the top of my list of holiday destinations,” says van Bemmel. “When I came back I did a lot of work in one day as Yariv had to make a quick demo for Sundance. I straight away knew what I had to do - being there, speaking to the people and seeing the backdrop of the ﬁlm were fuel for making the music,” he continues. The composer’s past credits include John Appel’s The Player. This was a key factor in producerdirector Mozer’s choice of van Bemmel for the ﬁlm. “John Appel’s work is an inspiration to me and I was determined to collaborate with the artists he had previously with,” Mozer explains. “I always wanted this ﬁlm to reach a wide audience and to appeal to the international arthouse market. Therefore, it was important for me to collaborate with key creative persons from outside of Israel.” Van Bemmel is now set to work on Belgian director Frank Theys’ science documentary Lab-Life, a co-production led by Belgian company Savage Films alongside Dutch Cobos Films and French outﬁt Les Films en Hiver.
Still in the sound department, Michel Schöpping was recently the sound supervisor on Russian Victor Kossakovsky’s Vivan las Antipodas!, a co-production between German MaJaDe and Dutch Lemming Film. “We worked with Michel on Khadak and Altiplano, so we knew him very well,” comments producer Heino Deckert of MaJaDe, referring to previous co-production features. “Our reasons for choosing him were artistic.” Schöpping says collaborating on co-productions has taken his work to another level: “When I started doing international co-productions I was amazed at the space for sound and the natural space for me to work in, to input my ideas into productions.” His experience on Venice selection Vivan las Antipodas!, a ﬁlm that compares and contrasts the lives of people living on the antipodal opposite sides of the planet, was stormy at times, he reveals. “We really had to get to understand each other – a real Russian connection to a Dutch guy is interesting from time to time. I think in the end and after a lot of struggle, not just a sound struggle, Victor wanted to feel comfortable with what he had,” says Schöpping, “which he did.” The composer is attached to a slew of upcoming documentaries including Peter Kruger’s upcoming N, an exploration of the origins of the West’s view of Africa, taking inspiration from the late encylopaedist Raymond Borremans. Award-winning Dutch editor Menno Boerema, whose past
international documentary projects include Steps for the Future, about life in South Africa in the midst of AIDS, admits that working on co-productions has both its good and bad sides.
Doel, capturing the demise of a Flemish village due to the expansion of the docks in Antwerp, a co-production between Dutch SNG Production and Belgian Cinété as well as Martijn Maria Smits feature C’est déjà l’été.
“Working internationally is a beneﬁcial experience. Spending a lot of time in a place and getting a better insight into a culture… that enriches me personally,” he says. “But sometimes it can be frustrating. Much of the time my job is to make a ﬁlm more acceptable to a Western audience… there are times when this approach hurts the original ﬁlm… I end up producing a more conventional ﬁlm than the material justiﬁes,” he continues.
“Sometimes it can be linguistically and culturally challenging,” admits Skovdal Roelofs. He is attached to edit Moon Blaisse’s Addicted to Every Possibility, a co-production between Dutch LEV Pictures and Belgian Pain Perdu Productions. It follows four brothers trying to ﬁgure out their paths in life, in the shadow of their successful architect father.
This clearly was not the case with his involvement on the Steps for the Future documentary Wa ‘n Wina (Sincerely Yours), capturing young director Dumisani Phakathi’s return to his childhood neighbourhood to see how his friends are coping with the AIDS epidemic.
“She saw my work on Blame Omar and All We Ever Wanted, which were at IDFA last year, and decided she would like to work with me,” he says.
“It enriched my ideas about ﬁlm. It was a complicated ﬁlm but we ended up making a totally crazy, insane ﬁlm which was extreme in the way it was made and pushed against all the boundaries of traditional ﬁlmmaking and traditional documentary… It was many people’s favourite in terms of the Steps project,” he says. Other sought after Dutch editors include the busy Axel Skovdal Roelofs. “My ﬁrst co-production was at ﬁlm school,” he comments. “A Belgian student came on an exchange programme to the academy for a year and I ended up editing her graduation ﬁlm.” Since then Skovdal Roelofs has worked on a number of coproductions including An Angel in
Still: Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow by Sophie Fiennes
Wouter van Bemmel
“Working internationally is a beneﬁcial experience”
Oh man, take heed Nick Cunningham talks to director Frank Scheffer about his latest opus, Gozaran - Time Passing It all started with Frank Zappa. In 2006 Dutch documentary director Frank Scheffer was in Mexico working on a ﬁlm about the late avant-garde composercum-rockstar when he heard that the Tehran Symphony Orchestra was going to play abroad for the ﬁrst time, in the German city of Osnabrueck. Of particular interest to Scheffer was the inclusion of Zappa’s Dog Breath Variations within the programme. So he booked a ticket back to Europe, met the orchestra as it arrived in Germany, and thereby laid the foundations of a deep friendship with conductor and composer Nader Mashayekhi whose dream it was to bring avant-garde music to Iran. Scheffer’s ﬁlm records Mashayekhi’s frustrated attempts to realise this ambition. Gozaran – Time Passing is populated by a cast of male and female Iranian musicians whose hopes are piqued by the conductor’s vision and whose self-conﬁdence soars as they are introduced to a repertoire of modern visionary works. But these same hopes are dashed after the orchestra is disbanded following the 2009 Iranian elections and Mashayekhi’s return to exile in Vienna. Scheffer chronicles what becomes of his dream, and the young musicians he leaves behind. In essence, the ﬁlm is a discourse both on modernism and music as language, and the musical philosophies of composers Gustav Mahler and John Cage, for whom Scheffer and Mashayekhi share a deep
passion, inform the ﬁlm’s commentary throughout.
possibilities that the young new generation within Iran could have in the future.
“We both bought the record of Mahler’s 3rd symphony at around the same time in 1983, we ﬁgured out later,” Scheffer explains. “There was synchronicity in this. We came together in this basic compassionate human thought that we share a love for his music. Likewise, John Cage opened up both of our minds. This love continues into the process of ﬁlmmaking, and also into realising his (Mashayekhi’s) dream.”
“My opinion, geographically, is that Iran has been on the communications route between the East and the West for thousands of years,” he continues. “And that makes it very special because it has become a very intelligent and sensitive culture, inﬂuenced from both sides. So, in the 21st century, Iran could make a wonderful link between the Eastern and Western cultures, because that is part of their past. And so it is within the young generation. What Nader does, as an artist, is to point out that fact, and he does so without politics, and with no interest other than in music and art.”
Gozaran – Time Passing offers the opinion that the ‘Oh Mensch’ segment within the Mahler third symphony - when the soprano embraces and lifts the orchestra with the simple vocal refrain that translates as ‘Oh man, take heed’ - marks the beginning of musical modernism. And of course, in a ﬁlm that elucidates the revolutionary, if understandable, desire to export young talent from Iran while importing new musical ideas, that refrain has much resonance. Similarly, John Cage’s assertion, referenced in the ﬁlm by Mashayekhi, that ‘we can develop a new way of listening as we have no ﬁxed aesthetics”, underlines both Mashayekhi and the director’s hopes that the restrictions placed upon cultural freedom in Iran are temporary.
perfect intermediary for us as human beings, so my ﬁlm is absolutely a triumph of the human situation. As Nader says at the end, art is about looking at your surroundings in a compassionate way and trying to react to them in everything you do.”
A delicious and harmonious counterpoint to the modernism of Cage and Mahler is the intensely lyrical poetry of the 13th century Persian poet Hafez, narrated by Mashayekhi’s father, the actor Sjamshid Mashayekhi, whom Scheffer refers to as the ‘Iranian Gielgud’. Sjamshid doesn’t contribute to the ﬁlm by way of commentary or opinion - “I wanted no more talking heads,” Scheffer underlines – but simply by reading Hafez’s wise and corrective verse, his appearance reminds us of the morality that underpins Iranian/Persian culture. This fusion of classical and modern also helps indicate a fundamental change in the director’s approach to his work.
“Of course that is part of the idealism,” Scheffer stresses. “I deﬁnitely think that John Cage is the ferryman into the 21st century as an artist. With him, the boundaries, the borders of countries were no more. He was a completely global composer. He could be anything. He was an American, a European, everything in that sense. I think that what Nader (Mashayekhi ) refers to, in a very optimistic way, is the
“I am a maker of ﬁlms about mentality, about cultural and philosophical exchange,” Scheffer comments. “But before, in my work, I was always looking for the soul in the music itself. The shift now, with Nader, is that I’m searching for the soul in the human being. Music is the
Gozaran-Time Passing Director: Frank Scheffer Production: Pieter van Huystee Film & TV, Euro Arts (DE) Sales: Public Film 12
“I am a maker of ﬁlms about mentality, about cultural and philosophical exchange”
Music maestro Ramon Gieling introduces Geoffrey Macnab to his IDFA competition documentary About Canto. Dutch composer Simeon ten Holt’s Canto Ostinato, written in 1979, is one of those pieces of music that has a transformative effect on listeners. Filmmaker Ramon Gieling ﬁrst heard the composition in 1981, when the piece was still largely unknown. The composer had taught him in art school. Ironically, at that ﬁrst concert in Amsterdam 30 years ago, Gieling wasn’t overwhelmed. “When I ﬁrst heard it, Canto Ostinato did not have so much impact. But, for me, good music doesn’t reveal itself at the ﬁrst moment. You have to listen to it several times. Then, you discover the skill, the beauty and the power. Even with Bach, with the Goldberg Variations, I needed (to listen) several times to discover the mystery and the beauty.” The ﬁrst recording of Canto Ostinato appeared in 1984. In the intervening years, Gieling has listened to it many, many times. “Then I started to discover the strength and power of the piece.” Three or four years ago, he read Oliver Sacks’ book, Musicophilia, about the relationship between music and the brain. His initial idea, inspired by Sacks, was to make a ﬁlm looking at the inﬂuence that several different pieces of music (including pieces by Bach and Purcell as well as the Canto) have had on listeners. “It was the impact of those compositions on the minds of people, on the psychic lives of people,” he remembers. Gieling’s ﬁlms have screened at festivals worldwide. His 2004 ﬁlm Johan Cruyff: At a Given Moment (about the Dutch football star’s
relationship with Catalan culture) is acknowledged as a classic. Equally feted was his 2001 feature Bunuel’s Prisoners (exploring the mixed feelings that the locals in Las Hurdes in northern Spain have today toward ﬁlmmaker Luis Bunuel and his 1932 documentary about them, Land Without Bread). Bunuel’s Prisoners is used as study material at the Sorbonne and San Francisco Universities.
letter to God (in this case, the composer) and confess their very intimate relationship to the piece.” Just as Gieling relishes music that he has to listen to multiple times really to understand and appreciate, he is drawn to interview subjects who don’t give away their secrets too easily. “Some had to be persuaded, which I like,” the director says, adding that if a potential interviewee was too eager to “spread out his psychic or his inner life,” he was immediately suspicious. Gieling explained to his subjects that the ﬁlm would be serious in tone and that it wasn’t a cheap exploitation of their private confessions.
Even so, when Gieling ﬁrst presented his music-based idea to potential backers, he wasn’t able to ﬁnd funding. “The project was rejected by several broadcasters,” the director laments. “It seems to be their profession to reject projects… especially the good projects!”
Not all of his interviewees were willing to appear on camera. He therefore made limited use of actors. “One didn’t want to appear in the ﬁlm. Besides that, she couldn’t tell the story very well, although the story was very beautiful - it was of the woman who gives birth to her child,” he explains. So he interviewed the real-life character at length before using an actress to play her.
But Gieling takes the rejection in his stride and strikes a phlegmatic note about the recent cuts in public funding for the arts. “Over 30 years, I’ve had as many rejections of my ﬁlms as acceptances. When producers say ‘oh, it’s going to be tough now,’ I think that’s what I’ve heard for thirty years!”
Gieling insists her story is fully authentic. There were practical reasons for turning to actors but he also regards this as a “different kind of tool” for telling a story in a documentary.
Eventually, after he re-wrote the treatment and decided to focus on the Canto Ostinato, the ﬁnancing started to come together. The BOS channel, the Netherlands Film Fund, and the CoBO Fund all came aboard. He still had a relationship with Simeon Ten Holt, who told him startling stories about the effect his music had on listeners. “In all those letters he got, he had these miraculous testimonies from people. The piece is like a psychiatrist! People confess their inner life, so to speak, to the piece. If the piece is Jesus, then the letter is God. They write a
Is About Canto a companion piece to Gieling’s earlier ﬁlms? He parries the question. “The only thing I know is that I try to make ﬁlms that are of profound meaning to me and to the characters who are in the ﬁlm. I always stated that a ﬁlm should be able to compete with the power of daily life.” The documentary was produced through Eyeworks and shooting
was relatively smooth. “It went quite ﬂuidly. We had quite ﬁxed ideas about what the ﬁlm should be like, and so I could work in quite an economic way.” Gieling professes himself delighted that his ﬁlm is premiering in IDFA. Many of his previous docs showed ﬁrst at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), but his ties with IFFR have loosened over the years. Gieling decided at a very early stage to show the ﬁlm ﬁrst to IDFA director Ally Derks. She was “very generous” in her response, watching the ﬁlm and issuing an invitation within a day. “So I decided to leave all the other festivals aside and wait for IDFA.” Composer Simeon Ten Holt has already seen About Canto and has given it his blessing. “He was honoured that I had taken one year of my life to make a ﬁlm about Canto Ostinato. He is, in a way, grateful.” No, the 88-year-old maestro won’t be at IDFA. He is too frail to attend the festival. About Canto will be released in the Netherlands by Cinemien early in December. In the meantime, Gieling has already shot another ﬁlm, Blind Fortune, which he is busy editing. This is about blind lottery sellers in Spain. He also has a ﬁction project, Theresa Immaculate, which he is making for San Fu Maltha’s FuWorks. What’s more, during IDFA, a book of his short stories will go on general release. Is he always this busy, with overlapping projects at different stages? “Yes… I have to make a living out of it,” he reﬂects ruefully.
Composer Simeon ten Holt has already seen About Canto and has given it his blessing About Canto Director: Ramon Gieling Production: Eyeworks Film & TV Drama, Prime Time (BE) Sales: NPO Sales
Twin objective Femke and Ilse van Velzen’s Justice for Sale, which premieres at IDFA 2011, is VJGÄPCNÄNOKPCVTKNQI[ addressing the issue of rape in the Democratic republic of Congo. Ilse van Velzen talks to Melanie Goodfellow about their extremely engaged ÄNOOCMKPIUV[NG It is mid-October and Femke and Ilse van Velzen have just returned to the Netherlands from a trip to the Congolese capital of Kinshasa to screen a rough-cut version of their latest ﬁlm Justice for Sale at the Ministry of Justice. “We also held a workshop where we showed the ﬁlm to lawyers, judges, activists and NGOs working in the Congo,” explains Ilse van Velzen. For the identical twin ﬁlmmakers, who fell in love with the continent of Africa as 19-year-old students nearly a decade ago, the process of making a documentary goes far beyond the ﬁnal cut. Justice for Sale investigates the high levels of corruption within the Congolese justice system through the case of Masamba, a soldier, who was unfairly convicted in 2008 of raping his captain’s wife. It is the ﬁnal ﬁlm in a trilogy of documentaries addressing the issue of rape in the Congo. The sisters ﬁrst became interested in the subject while shooting their second documentary Return to Angola. “In 2003, we visited refugee camps on the Angola-Congo border and heard some of the ﬁrst stories about the rapes... at the time, the issue was not getting a lot of international attention,” explains van Velzen.
The trilogy kicked off with Fighting the Silence, focused on female victims of sexual violence, followed by Weapon of War, which examined the subject from the perspective of the perpetrators.
changed hands along the line somewhere,” says van Velzen. Through the workshops, the van Velzens met outspoken lawyer Claudine Tsongo who agreed to re-investigate the case. Despite uncovering several inconsistencies, Tsongo was unable to get the case re-opened.
Since the ﬁrst ﬁlm, the Congo’s rape record has captured the world’s attention and numerous international NGOs have set up local operations aimed at bringing rapists to justice.
The van Velzens are now hoping their ﬁlm could help build a case for Masamba’s conviction to be quashed, hence the screening at the Ministry of Justice in October.
The NGOs’ eagerness to put perpetrators behind bars, however, can lead to further injustices, argues Justice for Sale.
“High-ranking military court judges present at the screening told us Masamba’s case could be re-opened on the basis of the footage of the tribunal and with the support of a qualiﬁed lawyer,” says van Velzen.
Since the ﬁrst ﬁlm, the Congo’s rape record has captured the world’s attention
The documentary will also be the basis for a nationwide awareness campaign across the Congo against impunity and corruption within the legal system – which will include TV and radio ads as well as workshops informing people of their rights.
“While making Weapon of War, we spent four days ﬁlming public court hearings in September 2008 at which 10 soldiers were on trial, ﬁve to six of them on rape charges,” says van Velzen. “There was a lot of commotion around Masamba’s trial so we ended up paying special attention to it.”
the rape cases. The combination of intense pressure and moneyﬂow make the tribunals even less independent,” says van Velzen. “It’s a bit of a taboo to discuss this but that’s the reality.” “It would have been easier to make a ﬁlm that would have been welcomed by the international NGO community, about how victims of rape are unable to put their perpetrators behind bars, but we feel that the accused also have the right to an honest trial – whether they’re guilty or not,” she adds. “We make this point quite subtly part way through the ﬁlm.... We plan to show Justice for Sale to policymakers and NGOs to generate a debate about this issue and together look for solutions.” Justice for Sale looks set to prompt some interesting discussions following its IDFA premiere in November.
As with their previous productions, the sisters will take the feature on the road to communities across the Congo through their “mobile cinema” initiative which organises open-air screenings. The last such event attracted some 10,000 spectators.
“We were astounded by the proceedings. No evidence was ever produced and yet he was convicted. The issue for us wasn’t whether he was guilty or not but rather that he had not been given a fair trial... he went on to receive a ten year sentence.”
Beyond this and perhaps most importantly for the sisters, they are hoping the ﬁlm will bring about a shift-change in the way international NGOs tackle the issue of rape in the Congo.
“We screened our material to local lawyers and judges through a series of workshops to see what they thought of it and discovered it was not an isolated case... the suggestion was that money had
“Now more and more NGOs are getting involved. They organise tribunals, pay the salaries of the judges and lawyers and present
Justice for Sale Directors: Femke van Velzen, Ilse van Velzen Production: IFProductions Sales: Films Transit
Ilse and Femke van Velzen
A question of gender Michiel van Erp talks to Geoffrey Macnab of “a longing” he has had for several years to make a documentary exploring what it really means to become a transsexual. “I became aware of the fact that when you did have your operation, you have a very difﬁcult life,” the ﬁlmmaker reﬂects on the medical and social problems that often go hand in hand with a sex change. His ﬁlm I am a Woman Now premieres in IDFA Competition for Dutch Film. As a director of Lange leve... (Long Live), a popular Dutch “human interest” TV series, van Erp met several transsexuals and was startled by how difﬁcult their lives were. For example, two years ago, he encountered a transsexual who spent half the year conﬁned to bed. “His body had to get healthy again because the hormones attacked his immune system.” By chance, van Erp also learned the story of Georges Burou, a gynaecologist based in Casablanca who performed sex change operations. Burou was operating a quarter of a century ago, when his work was still illegal. The doctor’s main interest was in the medical challenge of performing the operation, not in the emotional upheaval facing his patients. As far as adjusting to their new lives was concerned, they were left to fend for themselves. “It sounds very romantic, that you travel to Morocco to have a sex change operation and then ﬂy home again to start your new life,” van Erp states. The reality was very different. Some of
Burou’s former patients didn’t want to be reminded of their “horrible operation.”
Many of the transsexuals are due in Amsterdam for the IDFA premiere of the ﬁlm.
Van Erp and his researchers tracked down 20 or so women who had had the operation in Casablanca. They were living all over the world. None had met each other. “After the operation, the doctor didn’t want to have any contact with his patients. He didn’t keep track of his patients. The only reason he did the operations was that he was very interested in the medical side – how you can make a man out of a woman. For him, it wasn’t that he wanted to liberate his patients.”
“I was very surprised that none of them really became real women. They became transsexual women – and that’s not the same,” one character suggests in the
The subjects all shared an urge to tell their story documentary. The director disagrees. Nonetheless, he can see the problems they faced. “They all had problems growing old,” van Erp reﬂects on their often troubled lives. ‘Real’ women (that’s to say, ‘born’ women) didn’t accept the transsexuals as being truly female, he maintains. Men with whom they had affairs rarely wanted to pursue long-term relationships. “In love, men like to have sex with you as a transsexual but they don’t like to have a relationship with you,” he notes, adding that these men realise “you can’t give birth to their children.”
In hindsight, Burou’s methods seem strangely detached. He didn’t provide any pastoral care to his patients or even consider the psychological effect his operation might have had on them. Two decades on, the transsexuals van Erp proﬁles in the documentary admit to very mixed feelings about the doctor. “Being an old woman was never their dream! Nobody regrets the operation but a few of them don’t have a very happy life.” The subjects all shared an urge to tell their story. A Belgian woman who features in the ﬁlm hadn’t told any of her friends made in the past 10 years about her operation. Even those closest to her in her new life had no idea she was once a man. As she told the ﬁlmmaker, she was worried what might happen if they discovered her gender switch after she died. “So in the movie, you also see her talking with her friend about the operation and she is in shock about it because she didn’t know – you can’t see it from the outside.”
Burou’s pioneering techniques are still largely the ones that are used in sex change operations today. The difference is that there is now far more pre and postoperation care available. Kids as young as ten in Holland now receive counselling about what a sex change might entail.
project into being when it was included in the 2010 Forum. Van Erp relished pitching the ﬁlm to commissioning editors during the festival, not that he was prepared to compromise. “The Forum was very positive but in the end, you need to make the movie you have in your mind. If 20 commissioning editors also want to like it, that can be very impossible!” Van Erp is currently preparing two TV series, one about crime and one about the Dutch aristocracy. He is also planning a new feature doc about the plight of old actors, “trying to survive on the stage. It is about becoming old and when you can’t remember your lines and express yourself in the way you used to.” Does he see that as a companion piece to I Am A Woman Now? The director pauses and replies: “I always like to ﬁlm the struggle of people trying to do the things they really want to do or to become the people they really want to be.” He adds that I Am A Woman Now is “a very romantic ﬁlm”. “It is not really about the techniques of the operation. It’s a ﬁlm about surviving and trying to be the person you want to be - trying to ﬁnd your identity,” he concludes.
I Am A Woman Now took around two years to ﬁnance. It was supported by, among others, the Netherlands Film Fund and Dutch broadcaster VPRO. Sales are being handled by Cat & Docs. IDFA actually helped coax the
I Am a Woman Now Director: Michiel van Erp Production: De Familie Distribution: Cinema Delicatessen Sales: CAT&Docs
Photo: Friso Keuris Michiel van Erp
Dutch Harvest IDFA Competition for Dutch documentary
About Canto (Over canto)
One Fine Day
Meet the Fokkens (Ouwehoeren)
Director: Ramon Gieling Production: Eyeworks Film & TV Drama, Prime Time (BE) Sales: NPO Sales. Just sometimes music, like true love, brings about a radical change in someone. Canto Ostinato, Dutch composer Simeon ten Holtâ€™s three-hour composition for four pianos, has achieved this. In an inventive mosaic the dramatic impact of this modern classical piece is shown; the life of a number of people would have been different if Canto Ostinato had not been composed. See pages 14-15.
Director: Klaas Bense Production: Eyeworks Film & TV Drama, Prime Time #& "QSPĂƒMFPGTJYQFPQMFXIPIBWFIBEBTJHOJĂƒDBOU BOEQPTJUJWFJOÂżVFODFPOTPDJFUZUISPVHIBTNBMM non-violent act.
Directors: Rob SchrĂśder, GabriĂŤlle Provaas Production: Submarine Sales: Autlook Filmsales. Sisters doing it for themselves in Amsterdamâ€™s Red Light District. Louise and Martine 'PLLFOTBSFJEFOUJDBMUXJOT'PSPWFSĂƒGUZZFBSTUIFZIBWF been working as prostitutes. They freed themselves from the control of their pimps, ran their own brothel, and set up UIFĂƒSTUJOGPSNBMUSBEFVOJPOGPSQSPTUJUVUFT
Gozaran - Time Passing
Jerome, Jerome (Jeroen, Jeroen)
The Sound of the Bandoneon
Director: Frank Scheffer Production: Pieter van Huystee Film & TV, Euro Arts (DE) Sales: Public Film. Composer Nader Mashayekhi dreams of a modern Iranian Philharmonic Orchestra. His dream becomes true - but then times change in Iran. See pages 12-13.
Directors: Petra Lataster & Peter Lataster Production: IDTV Docs. Autistic teenager Jerome needs constant attention. He loves provoking and testing his NPUIFS"OJUBBOEIJTDPBDI,FWJO6QDMPTF UIFĂƒMN shows how they cope with Jeromeâ€™s unpredictable behaviour.
Director: Jiska Rickels Production: Selfmade Films, NTVF Producties. A search for the sound and soul of the bandoneon, the instrument so inextricably linked to Argentina and the tango, on the brink of extinction.
Justice for Sale
900 Days (900 Dagen)
Director: Jeanette Groenendaal Production: G-netwerk The director returns to the idyllic Dutch Christian fundamentalist village of her youth to make sense of the exclusion and sexual harassment that she suffered. See pages 24-25.
Directors: Femke van Velzen, Ilse van Velzen Production: IFProductions Sales: Films Transit. When the system fails, everyone is a victim. Justice for Sale follows the young, courageous Congolese human rights lawyer Claudine who refuses to accept that justice is â€œfor saleâ€? in her country. See pages 16-17.
Director: Jessica Gorter Production: Zeppers Film & TV Sales: Deckert Distribution GmbH. A documentary about the Siege of Leningrad during World War II, 900 Days shows the struggle of the survivors, whose personal memories are at times overshadowed by the heroic myth.
Photo: Gertjan Miedema
IDFA Competition for feature-length documentary
IDFA ReďŹ‚ecting Images
Beer is Cheaper than Therapy
Kyteman. Now What?
Life? or Theatre?
Director: Simone de Vries Production: Zeppers Film & TV Sales: First Hand Films. â€œIâ€™m 22 years old and I must have killed 30 people. The same thing that you were given badges for, over in Iraq, you would be considered a serial killer for over here. Thatâ€™s a very weird thought to have running around in your head when itâ€™s dark, going to sleep or late at night.â€? There is no place for doubt, sadness and fear in the American army.
Director: Menna Laura Meijer Production: )BMBM1SPEVDUJPOT .JOU'JMN"ĂƒMN about the inner urge to let go of what you already have, and the creative search for what follows after.
Director: Frans Weisz Production: Quintus Films Before her death in Auschwitz, German-Jewish artist Charlotte Salomon created a 700-page painted autobiography that she called Life? or Theatre? This documentary unravels the mystery of her extraordinary life and reveals the contents of a previously unpublished letter, written before her death.
I Am a Woman Now
Things that Matter
Director: Michiel van Erp Production: De Familie Sales: CAT&Docs. Exploring what it really means to
Director: Jeroen Berkvens Production: ;FQQFST'JMN575IJTĂƒMNIJHIMJHIUT MJLF an exhilarating rollercoaster ride, all aspects of the "NTUFSEBNQPQUFNQMF UIF1BSBEJTPDMVC"ĂƒMNJOXIJDI UIFNVTJDJBOTBSFDFOUSBM JUJTĂƒSTU BOEGPSFNPTU BCPVU what it means to perform in front of an audience.
Director: Frans Bromet Production: Pieter van Huystee Film & TV An investigation into the modern-day societal zeitgeist is presented with a generous dose of typical Bromet humour, which helps to keep everything in perspective.
Photo: Diderik Evers
IDFA Competition for Music Documentary
become a transsexual. See pages 18-19.
IDFA Competition for First Appearance
Stories from Lakka Beach
Return Ticket to Heaven
Director: Daan Veldhuizen Production: BYDESIGN, Viewpoint Productions Sales: Illumina Films. In post-war Sierra Leone Stories from Lakka Beach reveals a surprising and vibrant mix of characters within the war-ravaged country.
Directors: Maasja Ooms, Ingrid Wender Production: Zeppers Film & TV. A documentary about the inner transformation that three people undergo after a near EFBUIFYQFSJFODF)PXEPZPVSFEFĂƒOFZPVSMJGFXIFOZPV have been on the verge of death?
Director: Aliona van der Horst Production: Zeppers Film & TV Sales: Doc & Film International. An ode to fertility, womanhood and the body. Honourable Mention at DOK Leipzig. Nominated for Golden Calf best feature-length documentary Netherlands Film Festival.
Dutch Harvest A Selection of Dutch Docs released in 2011/ Special screenings Living the Dance (Dans voor het Leven)
Dutch Weed (Nederwiet)
My Long Distance Friend
Director: Marijke Jongbloed Production: *OUFSBLU*O ĂƒWFEBODFSTESFBNFEPGB career in the limelight. Marijke Jongbloed and her camera followed them for thirty years on their way to the top - or to the bottom. Who managed to make their dream come true and who didnâ€™t?
Director: Hans Pool, Maaik Krijgsman Production: IDTV Docs. A unique insight into the both funny and worrisome cat-and-mouse game that suppliers, coffee-shop owners, the police and judges play around the coffee-shopâ€™s backdoor.
Director: Carina Molier (in cooperation with Maria Mok) Production: SNG Film. Having struggled to survive in Europe from the age of nine, the Zimbabwean Og attempts UPĂƒOECBMBODFJOIFSMJGFSelected at DocAviv International Documentary Film Festival, Netherlands Film Festival and DOK Leipzig (2011).
An Angel in Doel (De Engel van Doel)
Enjoy your Meal â€“ How Food Changes the World
Hold On Tight â€“ De Dijk
Director: Tom Fassaert Production: SNG Film, CinĂŠTĂŠ Filmproducties (BE) Facing the advancing Antwerp docks, the village of Doel and its few remaining inhabitants struggle against the inevitable. Honourable Mention FORUM Berlinale 2011. Selected at Jerusalem International Film Festival and doclisboa (2011).
Director: Walther Grotenhuis Production: Kleine Beer Films, Associate Directors (BE) Sales: Autlook Filmsales. Investigative documentary into the origin of food and the moral choices and dilemmas we are forced to confront.
Director: Suzanne Raes Production: IDTV Docs. As Dutch band De Dijk prepare to celebrate thirty years of success, its members are confronted by the death of special guest Solomon Burke.
Times Like Deese
Daughters of Malakeh
The Urk Male Choir HALLELULAH
Directors: Maarten Schmidt & Thomas Doebele Production: Zig/Zag. A search for the origins of the Blues and the rappers and hip-hoppers who continue the USBEJUJPO ĂƒOEJOHJOTQJSBUJPOJO"GSJDBO"NFSJDBOIJTUPSZ slavery, love, poverty, discrimination, the war in Vietnam, Afghanistan, God, the current economic crisis and the FYQFDUBUJPOTUIFZIBWFPGUIFĂƒSTUCMBDL1SFTJEFOU #BSBDL Obama.
Directors: Jet Homoet & Sharog Heshmat Manesh Production: Bonanza Films Sales: Taskovksi Films Ltd. Three generations of women, wedged between two worlds, struggle to give shape to their lives in present-day Iran. Selected at Hot Docs International Documentary Festival and Leeds International Film Festival.
Director: Kees Brouwer Production: Dieptescherpte. Talking together doesnâ€™t work, singing together does. The passionate singing of the 6SL.BMF$IPJS JONBHOJĂƒDFOUIBSNPOZ JTPWFSXIFMNJOH and the silence that follows can be breathtaking. And in that silence the feelings and thoughts of the choir NFNCFSTĂƒOEBIJEJOHQMBDF
Dutch Docs in production 2011/ Release 2012 The Journey (De Tocht)
Lâ€™amour des moules
Director: Ike Bertels Production: DNU Film, Serendipity Films (BE). Risking their lives for freedom after 500 years of colonisation, inhabitants now struggle with how to live in a globalised Mozambique.
Director: Simonka de Jong Production: IDTV Docs Sales: First Hand Films. A Tibetan brother and sister, raised in different parts of the world, decide to make the EJGĂƒDVMUUSFLCBDLUPUIFWJMMBHFPGUIFJSCJPMPHJDBMQBSFOUT high in the Himalayas.
Director: Willemiek Kluijfhout Production: Trueworks, Associate Directors (BE). Lâ€™amour des moules is a Dutch/Belgian co-production about the mussel and the people who play an important role in her life.
WAVUMBA, They who Smell of Fish
In My Motherâ€™s Arms
Zeynepâ€™s Marriage (Zeynepâ€™s Huwelijk)
Director: Jeroen van Velzen Production: SNG Film. In search of the reality behind his childhood memories in Kenya, the director once again allows himself to be led by BOPMEĂƒTIFSNBOUPBXPSMEXIFSFGBOUBTZ ESFBNT CFMJFG and reality cannot be differentiated from each another.
Directors: Mohamed Al-Daradji, Atia Al-Daradji Production: Human Film Sales: WIDE Management. A documentary that tells the story of Husham, a man that works tirelessly to build the hopes, dreams and prospects of the 32 damaged children in his care, in his small two-roomed orphanage in Baghdadâ€™s most dangerous district. Selected at Toronto International Film Festival and Abu Dhabi Film Festival.
Director: Carin Goeijers Production: Pieter van Huystee Film. After the honour killing of her daughter, Raife wants to break with the old Kurdish traditions as she attempts to build a home for abused women in Turkey.
Happily Ever After
Director: Tatjana Bozic Production: Jongens van de Wit, Zelovic Productions, Factum Films (HR). Happily Ever After is a merciless and IVNPSPVTQPSUSBJUPGUIFĂƒMNNBLFSkTMPWFMJGF*OBĂƒOBM desperate attempt to save her relationship with her great love she dives into her past and makes a kaleidoscopic journey past her former boyfriends.
Director: Chris Teerink Production: Doc.Eye Film With his radical conceptual principles Sol LeWitt, one of the most important artists of the 20th century, changed art forever.
Photo: Jeroen van Velzen
Discord in Childhood Jeanette Groenendaal’s personal and poignant Reformation will feature at IDFA 2011 Paradocs. The director talks with Nick Cunningham. A year ago, in a coastal village of south-west France, there was an exhibition of beautiful, often comic, paintings of happy people taking a shower on the beach. In most pictures the sand is golden and the sky is always clear, blue and optimistic. But when you study the pictures as a collective, a strange detail emerges. There is no water issuing from the shower heads. When the artist was asked why this was she said that she had a dread of showers because so many of her family were killed at Auschwitz. In her latest work Reformation, experimental ﬁlmmaker Jeanette Groenendaal takes a similarly elliptical path to reveal a painful memory. As she revisits the Dutch Bible Belt town where she grew up, Groenendaal weaves a web of metaphor and inference to tell how she was sexually abused as a child forty years ago. Words alone, she claims, are inadequate to tell her story, and a graphic visual re-telling is unacceptable. “It is very hard to ﬁlm things you cannot even talk about,” she stresses. “These are taboo memories about misuse, and it’s very hard to ﬁlm them in documentary style. It would be me doing the victimising. I cannot reproduce those images with children. So the images of absence are very present within this ﬁlm.” What emerges is a story of Groenendaal’s own eventual rite of passage towards redemption from her own traumatic, and shifting, recollections of that
period of her life. “It is a research on melting memories, on traumatized moments in youth,” she comments. “That is how it started. I was driving through the countryside where I grew up and there were ghost movies screaming out of the quagmire of this Dutch river landscape. I could not get rid of them so I decided to research them, because attached to these frozen memories were also the judgements that I formed about these people at the age of seven.”
is a fertile and robust one, and she discovers a quantum of salvation as a cast of female characters, clothed or otherwise, commune both with and within the vital Dutch landscape, “away from the male gaze”. One elderly woman talks eloquently of a witch descendant as she lies naked in her bath. A Korean woman prostrates herself to nature and screams her lungs out in the depths of a wood while another cannot stop crying at everything she sees. One is the shadow, explains Groenendaal, and one is the light. Another woman recreates part of Hieronymous Bosch’s Paradise by undressing to ride a pig.
These “people” were male Christian fundamentalists whose religion and politics, she claims, ban its women from voting (and even from wearing trousers) and outlaws standard communication outlets such as television and the internet. What’s more, in her ﬁlm, gratuitous sex seems a common and standard subject for their conversation. In the ﬁlm one farmer happily, and continually, talks about sex between animals and humans while in the company of an adolescent girl. Meanwhile, a farm labourer drinks milk directly from the udder of a cow.
voice choir and vowed to make a sanitised dvd version of the ﬁlm for the locals, despite their lack of televisions to watch it on. “My conclusion is that it is very interesting to reverse and review how you work through your preconceptions, so I offer the movie as it is,” she comments. “Now the ﬁlm will tell its own story. Everybody will read it differently, and I give them space for that.”
“I am a woman and when women are around me I go naked too. It’s political. When you are surrounded by nature you are more quickly initiated into this natural naked, fertile, lusty life, as you see when horses fuck each other,” Groenendaal observes. “This is important to realise. Nature is lusty. But Christians try to suppress this sense of fertility and procreation by making it sinful and secretive, and ultimately that is when the woman becomes the whore or the witch who must be punished.”
“That is the way I remembered these fundamentalist Christians,” Groenendaal recalls. “How they talked like that, and they wanted me to touch it, and they were helping me to put my hands into the vagina of a cow, and it was very explicit, and I remember all of that. But I thought that these were the memories of a seven year-old that I had made up. Then I went back there and I wanted to talk about religion and what happened in my youth, but the men were, just as I remembered, only talking about sex.”
Groenendaal is at pains to point out that the people who feature within her ﬁlm were not directly responsible for the abuse that she suffered. What’s more, there is a sense of reconciliation with the contemporary village folk as some of her preconceptions about life there are dismantled little by little, although she still retains a “fear of the upcoming religion today”. She may have felt like, in her words, “this daughter of the devil with this devil’s camera eye which is forbidden,” but nevertheless she gained a rapport with the village male
Despite this, the nature that Groenendaal conveys in her ﬁlm
Reformation Director: Jeanette Groenendaal Production: G-netwerk
â€œIt is a research on melting memories, on traumatized moments in youthâ€?
Michiel van Jeanette Groenendaal Erp
The challenge now is to replicate that local success abroad
Still: Position Among the Stars by Leonard Retel Helmrich
Export or die! EYE International and the Netherlands Film Fund discuss export strategies with Geoffrey Macnab Export or die! That’s one of the old truisms about international trading relationships and it applies as much to ﬁlm as to any other business. Filmmakers in the Netherlands, as elsewhere, want and need to see their ﬁlms travel beyond domestic borders. That’s why EYE International (formerly Holland Film) is pushing so hard to ensure Dutch movies are seen abroad. For the last 15 years, EYE International, under its managing director Claudia Landsberger, has worked tirelessly as a matchmaker and go-between, introducing Dutch producers to foreign distributors and sales agents. Sometimes, the agency has even helped the producers sell their movies. (For example, Landsberger and her colleagues worked closely with the producers of Elbert van Strien’s Two Eyes Staring as they sold the ﬁlm themselves to foreign distributors.) It has also masterminded the Oscar campaigns for Dutch ﬁlms. Such titles as Character, Antonia’s Line, Twin Sisters and Zus en Zo, which have either won Academy Awards or secured nominations, testify to the guile and ingenuity with which the Dutch have courted Academy members. Working on a relatively tight budget, EYE International has achieved some remarkable results. However, as Landsberger makes clear, the Dutch promotional body has been at a competitive disadvantage to rival promotional bodies. The French (through Unifrance), the Scandinavians and many other European territories have enjoyed
far greater resources to throw at showcasing their movies internationally. Their promotion bodies are seen as the interface between the local industry and the international marketplace.
This new funding comes out of the €300,000 per year that the Film Fund now devotes to all round distribution support. €10,000 is the maximum available for support of the foreign distribution of a Dutch documentary or feature ﬁlm. Meanwhile, up to €20,000 is available for the dubbing costs of Dutch ﬁlms abroad.
“It’s nice, of course, to have ﬁlms in the festivals but you really want these ﬁlms to get their commercial release in a cinema in whichever country in the world,” Landsberger says. One of her frustrations is that EYE International, with a total budget of €600,000, hasn’t been able to follow through as aggressively as these other European rivals. Now, ﬁnally, that looks set to change.
The emphasis on dubbing reﬂects the current strength of Dutch movies for kids. For many years now, ﬁlms like Winky’s Horse and Winter in Wartime have proved box-ofﬁce sensations in the domestic market. The challenge now is to replicate that success abroad.
In order to strengthen the international position of Dutch ﬁlms, the Netherlands Film Fund has implemented a new funding scheme to directly support foreign distributors and sales agents who handle Dutch ﬁlms and to support the dubbing of Dutch ﬁlms. This is despite the current squeeze on public spending. For Dutch producers, sales deliveries and festival costs are also supported. The ﬁrst application window for this new support scheme has recently closed, but as of 2012 applications can be submitted all year round.
Up to €6000 is available for sales deliveries (this is paid via the Dutch producer) and additional campaign support of up to €1500 is available when a Dutch ﬁlm is selected at an acclaimed international event. The new initiatives come as the Film Fund, under Boonekamp, has been striving to make Dutch ﬁlmmakers work on an international level. The Fund is putting an increased emphasis on co-production while also lobbying hard for a “soft money” scheme that will draw foreign producers (and inward investment) to the Netherlands.
Netherlands Film Fund CEO Doreen Boonekamp and Landsberger are both keen to ﬂag up the new initiatives to the international industry. The aim, as Boonekamp puts it, is to secure “a wider audience not just in the Netherlands but abroad” and “to make Dutch ﬁlms more attractive to the international market.” The message to foreign distributors is clear: if they acquire Dutch movies to show in their home markets, they can apply for backing.
“It is clear that it is very important for the Dutch ﬁlm industry that there is a wide range of instruments for ﬁnancing ﬁlm production,” Boonekamp says.
long been an aspiration, and she credits Boonekamp with acknowledging its importance. “We all know that the French support their distributors all over the world with aid for French ﬁlms. The Germans are doing it now and even the Swiss are doing it,” Landsberger notes. “I said, look, if we don’t do anything, a buyer who is looking at three arthouse ﬁlms from three different territories, if two have distribution aid, then he will go for those ones.” Providing extra cash for international distribution is only part of the equation. As she points out, the Dutch also need to continue waging a charm offensive on behalf of their ﬁlms. Even before the new funding became available, EYE/Holland Film was looking to help international distributors handling Dutch fare in any way it could. That activity won’t stop. What has changed is that Landsberger now has the marketing muscle that she has craved for so long. It goes without saying that even generous support schemes for distributors will be of little use unless the Dutch ﬁlms are good enough to entice the foreign buyers in the ﬁrst place. However, with the distribution support in place, the job of promoting Dutch fare abroad is bound to get that little bit easier.
While the Film Fund is providing the cash, EYE International is (of course) intimately involved in deciding how the money will be spent. As EYE’s Landsberger notes, offering support for international distributors has
Dutch Industry Short CutsNews
In September, Netherlands Film Festival audiences saw the restored version of Alex van Warmerdam’s classic Abel 25 years after the ﬁlm heralded the arrival of a new European auteur talent. The restoration was overseen by the EYE Film Institute Netherlands. “Van Warmerdam created an atmosphere (in Abel) which was simultaneously raw, original and sultry, naughty and somewhat malodorous,” commented Emjay Rechsteiner, EYE’s Curator for Contemporary Dutch Film, at the premiere, before going on to explain the restoration process. Three black and white positives were created from the colour negative, each representing, in grey tones, the colours red, green and blue. Stored under the right climate-controlled conditions these new separation masters should preserve their pristine qualities for thousands of years to come.
of Utrecht for When the War Ends while What the Cat Sees (Kim Brand, also a 2009 Wildcard recipient) was nominated for a Golden Calf for Best Short Documentary Film.
The Wildcard system is an initiative of the Netherlands Film Fund that is designed to award, every year, three emerging Dutch documentary ﬁlmmakers with a €40,000 cheque, enabling them to go out into the world and make a ﬁlm about any subject that takes their fancy.
Looking to the future, the Film Fund selection committee this year mulled over 27 high quality graduate submissions before announcing the 2011 Wildcard winners. They are Sarah Harkink, a graduate of the HKU School of the Arts, Hilversum, and two graduates from the Dutch Film and Television Academy in Amsterdam, Marta Jurkiewicz and Sjoerd Oostrik.
At the 2011 Netherlands Film Festival the ﬁlms of four previous Wildcard winners were screened. “And the results were very, very good, surprisingly good,” commented the Fund’s head of documentary Niek Koppen. 2009 Wildcard recipient Thijs Schreuder picked up the Film Prize of the City
When the War Ends by Thijs Schreuder
“Thus, time and again each new generation will be able to enjoy the transverse colour scheme, the original music, the slightly absurd acting and the impact that Abel had on 400,000 cinema goers back in 1986,” he pointed out. “Such is the importance of preservation.”
GETTING DOWN AT IDFA
This year, IDFA has organised a programme of international music documentaries in association with PLAY, the music ﬁlm festival organised by Amsterdam pop venue Melkweg. In the programme, ﬁfteen recent documentaries will compete for the IDFA PLAY Award for Music Documentary, valued at €2500. Alongside the screenings, a number of performances by Dutch and international artists who have a connection to the music in the ﬁlms will take place, both in the Melkweg and at other IDFA locations. The programme also includes Dutch music documentaries such as Paradiso by Jeroen Berkvens, a ﬁlm that covers every aspect of Amsterdam’s famous pop temple, focussing in particular on the musicians and what it means to perform in front of an audience. Asked to comment on the initiative, IDFA programmer Martijn te Pas kept his answer brief, subdued and to the point. “Let’s rock,” he screamed.
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, Asako Fujioka 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
HEDDY HONIGMANN PARIS RETRO Between November 5-17, the Pompidou Centre in Paris presents, in collaboration with the Institut NĂŠerlandais, a retrospective of the ďŹ lms of Heddy Honigmann. The retrospective coincides with the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Visionâ€™s November release of a boxed set of Honigmann dvds as part of its In Focus series. Later in the month the director will give a masterclass at the Binger in Amsterdam. The retrospective at the Pompidou Centre is the largest ever dedicated to Honigmann in France, and conďŹ rms her status as one of the leading ďŹ lmmakers of our time. Honigmann is the doyenne of Dutch documentary ďŹ lmmaking.
ARCHIVING HISTORICAL CULTURE
Born in Peru in 1951, she has spent most of her adult life in the Netherlands where she has built up a considerable body of work characterised by the empathic, intimate and candid rapport she develops with her subjects.
In May 2011 the unique and invaluable Desmet Collection, held at EYE Film Institute Netherlands, was included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, joining such cultural and historical artifacts as the diary of Anne Frank and the Gutenberg Bible.
Recent examples of her work include the much-lauded Oblivion (2008), which focuses on the obscene wealth disparity evident within her native capital Lima, and Forever (2006), a beautiful and poignant tour around Parisâ€™ PĂ¨re-Lachaise, the cemetery of â€˜artistsâ€™. The Underground Orchestra (1998) proďŹ les illegal immigrants who have ďŹ‚ed political persecution in their own countries, ďŹ nding solace and companionship playing music in the Paris Metro.
In the collection, ďŹ lms and ďŹ lm related-documents dating mainly from 1907 to 1916, provide a unique insight into the emergence of ďŹ lm distribution practices in the early 20th century. It includes 930 motion picture ďŹ lms on 35mm nitrate stock (ďŹ ction and non-ďŹ ction), 1050 ďŹ lm posters in several language versions, 2500 items of publicity and 700 stills material relating to these ďŹ lms, as well as 22 metres of shelving, containing around 100,000 items of company papers. â€œThe Desmet collection is a remarkable survival from the silent era,â€? commented archival consultant and author Ray Edmondson. â€œIt is not just the ďŹ lms themselves, many of them unique: it is the fact that their context - the business records and the publicity materials â€“ also survives that makes the collection an unparalleled resource for scholarship and a vital part of the Netherlandsâ€™, and the worldâ€™s, cultural heritage.â€?
CONTACT Sandra den Hamer CEO EYE Film Institute Netherlands ETBOESBEFOIBNFS!FZFĂƒMNOM Claudia Landsberger Head of EYE international EYE Film Institute Netherlands EDMBVEJBMBOETCFSHFS!FZFĂƒMNOM Doreen Boonekamp CEO Netherlands Film Fund E ECPPOFLBNQ!ĂƒMNGPOETOM Niek Koppen Head of Documentaries Netherlands Film Fund E OLPQQFO!ĂƒMNGPOETOM Jonathan Mees Head of Communications Netherlands Film Fund EKNFFT!ĂƒMNGPOETOM Netherlands Film Fund Jan Luykenstraat 2 1071 CM Amsterdam The Netherlands T +31 20 570 7676 WXXXĂƒMNGPOETOM EYE Film Institute Netherlands PO BOX 74782 1070 BT Amsterdam The Netherlands T +31 20 589 1400 W XXXFZFĂƒMNOM
Position Among the Stars Ambulante Gira de Documentales
The trajectory of Leonard Retel Helmrich’s Position Among the Stars has been nothing short of stratospheric since winning the top prize at +&(#6JGÄNOKUVJGÄPCN part of a trilogy about life in modern-day Indonesia and follows the multi-award YKPPKPIÄNOUEye of the Day (2001) and Shape of the Moon (2004) Selected at more than 40 festivals in 2011, Position Among the Stars has picked up a slew of further prizes including the World Cinema Special Jury Prize at Sundance, the Special Jury Prize at Sarasota and Best Film prizes at Zagreb and Durban. In addition, the ﬁlm has been nominated for Best Documentary at the 2011 European Film Awards and has received a nomination nod for the 2012 Academy Awards, which means that its stellar career is set to continue well into the future.
International Documentary Festival Amsterdam VPRO IDFA-award 2010; IDFA Award for best Dutch documentary Park City Sundance Film Festival World Cinema Special Jury Prize for Best Documentary Prague International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival - One World
Zagreb International Documentary Film Festival - ZagrebDox Big Stamp Award for Best Film of the International Competition
Cinema Copenhagen Doc Master
Thessaloniki Documentary Festival Images of the 21st Century
Australian International Documentary Conference Hong Kong International Film Festival
Belfast Film Festival
Bermuda International Film Festival
Warsaw International Documentary Film Festival Planete Doc Review
São Paulo International Documentary Film Festival It’s All True Nyon International Documentary Film Festival - Visions Du Réel
Durham Documentary Film Festival The Full Frame
Canadian International Documentary Festival Hot Docs
San Francisco International Film Festival
Sarasota Film Festival - Cine-World Documentary Feature Competition Special Jury Prize
Eskisehir International Film Festival
Belgrade International Documentary Film Festival Beldocs
rs Shanghai Television Festival Brussels International Documentary Film Festival Millenium
The Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival DocAviv
5JGHÄGNF International Documentary Film Festival 5JGHÄGNF Doc/Fest
Gortahork Documentary Film Festival Guth Gafa
Alba International Film Festival Best Long documentary
Washington Silverdocs Documentary Film Festival Special Jury Mention
Norwegian Short Film Festival
Los Angeles Film Festival Erasmushuis, Jakarta International Documentary Conference
Durban International Film Festival Best Documentary
Lemosos Documentary Film Festival fo Cyprus Seoul International Documentary Festival - EBS
Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Hawaii International Film Festival
Nomination Best Documentary European Film Award 2011
3WCNKÄECVKQP Academy Awards Oscar nomination