Kauwboy in Berlin
Top producers assess
future Änancing Nova Zembla:
Holland’s ﬁrst 3D feature Forum nod for Hemel
Issue #6 February 2012 The IFFR / Berlin Issue
A publication by the Netherlands Film Fund and EYE Film Institute Netherlands
Index Pp 2-3 and cover
Pp 28-29 Short Cuts:
Image preview: Boudewijn Koole’s Kauwboy View from the Edge: Berlinale Generation chief Maryanne Redpath on why it is easy to programme Dutch children’s Ãlms
News from the Dutch Ãlm scene
P 4 Image preview:
P 30 Festival Bonanza: Showcasing the top international festivals based in the Netherlands
P 31 EYE Transplant:
Fow Pyng Hu’s Nick
The spectacular new EYE building will open for business April 2012
P 5 Image preview:
P 32 Star ProÄle:
Berlin Forum selection Hemel by Sacha Polak
Hannah Hoekstra, star of Sacha Polak’s Hemel
P 6 Image preview:
Nova Zembla by Reinoud Oerlemans
P 7 Image preview:
Süskind by Rudolf van den Berg
Pp 8-9 COVER STORY New Generation:
Kauwboy is one of three Dutch features selected for Berlinale Generation 2012. Director Boudewijn Koole talks about his debut feature
Pp 10-11 Life’s a Pitch: Three Dutch projects have been selected for CineMart 2012. The Ãlmmakers talk to See NL
Pp 12-13 Being Nick: Fow Pyng Hu talks to See NL about his Rotterdam 2012 selection
Pp 14-15 Searching for truth: SEE NL talks to Ãlmmaker Sacha Polak about her personal Berlin Forum Ãlm Hemel
Pp 16-19 Taxing debate: Three leading Dutch producers discuss the future of Dutch Ãlm Ãnance
Pp 20-21 Taking the 3D Challenge: Cinematographer Lennert Hillege talks to See NL about shooting the 3D movie Nova Zembla – on an Icelandic glacier!
Pp 22-23 Dutch Releases:
Boudewijn Koole’s Berlin Generation selection is about a boy from a broken home who befriends a jackdaw.
A listing of the current crop of completed Dutch features and selections at IFFR and Berlinale
Pp 24-25 In the Pipeline: A listing of Dutch features currently in production
“The initial idea grew out of a childhood memory of a crow that came to my window for three months one spring.”
Pp 26-27 Less is More: Rudolf van den Berg talks to See NL about his highly anticipated Holocaustthemed Süskind
See pages 8-9 Kauwboy Directors: Boudewijn Koole Production: Waterland Film Sales: Delphis Films
View from the edge this year was not only the assistant director on Snackbar, she also has a short ﬁlm, Brother, in Generation*. These ﬁlms are right out there. They are fabulous ﬁlms for children and youth. We are delighted to have them in selection. The Netherlands ﬁlm industry really is an old and valued customer of ours and the Dutch ﬁlms we have screened in the past have been landmark works from highly talented and ﬂuent story-tellers.
Maryanne Redpath, director Berlinale Generation Section The Generation section is dedicated to creating a platform for brilliant and innovative ﬁlms for children and young people – ﬁlms of the highest quality from the most talented of international ﬁlmmakers.
Lemming Film is a company that is both proliﬁc and quality-driven and is responsible for this year’s selections Patatje Oorlog and Snackbar. To conclude, the Generation section is a beneﬁciary of a Dutch industry that puts great store by the excellent product it creates for younger audiences. And the Dutch industry beneﬁts in turn from our great and continuing interest in the ﬁlms it produces. Long may the collaboration last.
Eep! (2010) was a fabulous ﬁlm, and a very good example of the type of children’s arthouse ﬁlm that we are really keen on screening. We have featured the ﬁlms of Mijke de Jong (Joy 2010, Katja’s Sister 2009, Bluebird 2005), all of which are very challenging in terms of young audiences. We have also selected ﬁlms by leading Dutch directors Ben Sombogaart and Maria Peters. We have screened many Ineke Houtman ﬁlms over the years. Madelief (Scratches on the Table, 1999) was a wonderful ﬁlm as was her Polleke (2003).
For us, the Dutch ﬁlm industry has, over the years, been a source of such ﬁlms par excellence. It is an industry acknowledged across the world as one of the leading providers within the genre. This year we have selected two Dutch ﬁlms in our Generation Kplus section and one in Generation 14plus. Patatje Oorlog (Taking Chances) by Nicole van Kilsdonk takes place in the fantasy world of a little girl who is constantly calculating the odds of her father, a doctor working in a war zone, coming home safely. Also in Generation K Plus is Boudewijn Koole’s Kauwboy in which a small boy desperate for his father’s love ﬁnds and nurtures a baby jackdaw that is in equal need of care.
We selected the great Minoes by Vincent Bals and starring Carice van Houten. Then we had Mischa Kamp with her Where is Winky’s Horse (2007), which was a classic children’s ﬁlm and a big success, and a very good example of how Dutch children’s ﬁlms can invoke great emotional feelings within their audience. Lemming Films’ Dunya and Desie (Dana Nechustan, 2008) was a big hit here and their Schnitzel Paradise (Martin Koolhoven, 2005) was so much fun - and so utterly non-pc. I think it is really good for German audiences to see ﬁlms such as these, ﬁlms that really break the boundaries.
For Generation 14 Plus we selected Meral Uslu’s Snackbar, about the relationship between a hard-edged gang of Moroccan youths and the old and trustworthy proprietor of the cafe where they meet. What’s more, the Dutch director Sacha Polak, whose Hemel screens in Forum
* See page 23 for a full listing of Dutch Ãlms selected in Berlin Generation
Fow Pyng Hu returns to Rotterdam with a complex character study of a man in search of the perfect truf¿e – and himself.
“It’s like he subconsciously wants to escape himself, he’s sick of himself, but he can’t… it’s only when he gets into the wild that he ﬁnds some sense of peace.” See pages 12-13 Nick Director: Justice for Sale Fow Directors: Pyng Hu Production: Femke van Velzen, Topkapi Ilse Films van(NL), Velzen De Productie (NL) Production: IFProductions Sales: Films Transit
Director Sacha Boudewijn Koole’s Polak Berklin discusses Generation her drama feature selection is about a Hemel , partly boyuenced from a by broken home who in¿ her own befriends a jackdaw. relationship with her father.
“I wanted “The initial toidea make grew a ﬁlm out of a childhood about two people memory who have of a crow a symbiotic that came relationship to my window and are really for three having months one spring.” difﬁ culty in parting from each other.”
Photo: Victor Arnolds
See pages 16-17 See pages 14-15
Hemel Director: Sacha Polak Production: Circe Films (NL), Bella Cohen Films (NL), Jaleo Films (ES)
It is the Ãrst 3D feature from the Netherlands – and it couldn’t be more ambitious, charting the ill-fated 16th century attempt to cross the North Pole by ship.
“Nova Zembla was a big challenge! When director Reinoud Oerlemans came to me, explained the story and also told me he wanted to do it in 3D, I was ﬂabbergasted.” See pages 20-21
Nova Zembla Director: Reinout Oerlemans Production: Eyeworks Film & TV Drama, Inspire Pictures (NL)
Rudolf van den Berg’s latest Ãlm is a Holocaust-themed drama which was Ãnanced locally – and a lot more efÃciently.
“I’m used to working within modest budgets, which is tough but not always a bad thing.” See page 26 Süskind Director: Rudolf van den Berg Production: Fu Works (NL), Cadenza Films (NL) Sales: Beta Film
New generation Director Boudewijn Koole has been capturing the lives of troubled children for nearly two decades within the documentary genre. Now he brings this experience to bear in his Ärst full-length feature, the powerful children’s drama Kauwboy, about a 10-year-old boy from a broken home who Änds comfort in a friendship with an abandoned baby jackdaw. Melanie Goodfellow reports.
The picture’s young protagonist Jojo is coping with a difﬁcult home life – his mother is inexplicably absent and his father suffers from violent mood swings. “I’ve always been interested in the father-son relationship,” says Koole. “I had a complicated relationship with my own father… I also ﬁnd it interesting how children can sometimes be cleverer, both socially and emotionally, than their parents.”
Kauwboy, due to premiere in the Berlin Film Festival’s Generation K Plus programme aimed at younger audiences, tackles some tough issues, ranging from death to domestic violence. But ultimately the tale is an uplifting
Producer Jan van der Zanden of Amsterdam-based Waterland Film, boarded the project at development stage together with NTR’s Sandra Beerends, having been impressed by Koole’s previous 50-minute ﬁlm Maite was here, about a young girl who decides to stop her cancer treatment and face death.
“I’ve watched the ﬁlm a number of times now and I still spend most of the ﬁnal part in tears.” one. “The initial idea grew out of a childhood memory of a crow that came to my window for three months one spring,” recounts Koole. “I read later that these birds can become very attached to humans if they are separated from their parents at an early age.” The title of the ﬁlm translates quite literally as Jackdaw Boy. “I co-wrote the script with Jolein Laarman. We really found a great match in each other. She and editor Gys Zevenbergen, who is my ﬁlm-making soul-mate, were key to the creative development of the ﬁlm,” he continues.
date was drawing close. “What immediately struck me about Rick was the way he sat back on his chair and looked into the camera in a sort of cool way as if to say, ‘why should I get involved in this’ and then by chance in the background I heard the cry of jackdaw… it was a strange coincidence.”
“I was looking for a child who was a bit edgy, rough.” “He was far and away the strongest candidate but he wasn’t easy to work with either. He’s got a really short attention span and is rather hyper. He could focus for an hour or two and then we’d have to let him go and play soccer or something,” adds Koole. “But he gave us such an amazing performance.”
“I thought his idea was very intriguing and new. The story of this young boy living with an aggressive father is rather tough – it wasn’t an easy subject,” says Van der Zanden.
documentary work means I am used to shooting things spontaneously. A number of the scenes are improvised,” explains Koole, whose documentaries include Letters from Belfast, following the lives of children growing up amid the conﬂict in Northern Ireland, and Surviving in the Netherlands, about children who have to ﬁght hard for their existence. Koole and his director of photography Daniel Bouquet managed to coax wonderfully natural performances out of Lens and the other young cast members. “For some of the scenes, I’d ask the children what they wanted to do… we would direct them but the scene would come out of their energy. There’s a scene, for example, where the children are running through a ﬁeld, playing hide-and-seek. That comes from them,” says the ﬁlmmaker. “I think that’s why Jojo’s smile is so real in that scene. You feel real joy.”
The “character” of the jackdaw was recreated on screen using six young jackdaw birds, born to domesticated parents as it is against the law to use wild birds. Animation work was completed by Amsterdam visual effects company Shosho.
“The result is very powerful… I’ve watched the ﬁlm a number of times now and I still spend most of the ﬁnal part in tears,” continues the producer, who raised the €1.0 million budget through the Netherlands Film Fund’s Cinema Junior initiative - aimed at children’s features Public Broadcaster NTR, Mediafund, CoBO and distributor BFD.
The ﬁlm was shot on the northern eastern fringes of Amsterdam’s urban sprawl over 26 days in May and June 2011. “We had to shoot in the late spring, early summer because we were using live birds so the production was linked to their birth cycle,” says Koole.
Koole says he looked at hundreds of potential boys before discovering ﬁrst-time actor, 10-year-old Rick Lens. “I must have seen between 200 to 300 children. I was looking for a child who was a bit edgy, rough,” recounts Koole, who was sent Lens’ screen test as the shooting
Working with a young boy with a short attention span and six young jackdaw birds may sound like quite a challenge, but Koole’s past work making documentaries about children served him well. “I asked for a really small crew. My
Kauwboy Directors: Boudewijn Koole Production: Waterland Film (NL) Sales: Delphis Films
Life’s a pitch At IFFR’s CineMart 2012 three Dutch projects will be presented to the massed ranks of top international co-producers. Nick Cunningham reports. Urszula Antoniak, whose Nothing Personal cleaned up prize-wise at Locarno 2009, is back at CineMart this year with her project Nude Area, an essay on seduction. The ﬁlm is described as a “hypnotic portrait of female adolescence and sexuality” in which a teenager from Amsterdam’s afﬂuent South sets out to seduce a beautiful Moroccan girl living in the poor Amsterdam West ‘hood’. Nude Area will be produced by Frans van Gestel, formerly of Dutch powerhouse IDTV Film, now of the recently established Topkapi Film. “The heart of the ﬁlm is the examination of a seduction,” he comments. “And an added complexity is that it is a seduction between two girls from different cultures.” Van Gestel is determined that the ﬁlm will be a co-production. Budgeted at €925,000, and with €526,000 already sourced from the Netherlands Film Fund, Van Gestel is eyeing up Poland (Antoniak’s country of birth), France and Germany as potential partners. The pair’s last collaboration, Code Blue (Cannes Directors Fortnight, 2011), proved tough viewing for some audiences as it dealt quite graphically with the theme of (in)voluntary euthanasia. Van Gestel argues, however, that the theme of seduction is one more palatable to audiences. “On one hand you want to make a ﬁlm that is accessible for a fuller
audience than Code Blue,” he notes. “But on the other hand Urszula Antoniak is one of the few authors to whom I would like to give, and who needs, complete freedom to make her art. Nevertheless, in Nude Area her approach will be much closer to Nothing Personal than to Code Blue.” Netherlands director Joost van Ginkel describes his feature project Our Sun as a ‘mosaic’ about six immigrants making their way in 21st century Amsterdam. The ﬁlm is inspired by Van Ginkel’s experiences while working in the Amsterdam docks unloading and parking thousands of Nissan cars.
Amsterdam to work as a model, and the Korean conductor Kwon who comes to lead the city’s Concertgebouw for two years.
a dramatic situation and I was getting this macro effect, like an out of body experience, not actually in the situation.
Given the disparate backgrounds of the characters, the ﬁlm will use many languages – Dutch, Polish, Korean, Serbo-Croat – but the unifying lingua franca will be English.
“What I ﬁnd most interesting is that the whole ﬁlm is moving from space to space, and what I like the most is the energy between the people and the space - like the energy between two worlds - and to capture that in one frame,” he continues. “I want to touch the viewer by offering them a framework that confronts them with their own perspective of time passing, time lived and time experienced. With this ﬁlm I want to try to capture the perception of time that changes.”
“I’ve been living in Amsterdam for 10 or 12 years, and I now realise that if I meet somebody in the street the chance of getting a response is greater if I speak in English than in Dutch, because there are so many cultures living there,” he comments. “This surprises me very much.”
“I was working hard on another script at the time but I needed to pay the bills, so I decided to take a job so that could keep my head clear,” Van Ginkel explains.
“Her approach will be much more closer to Nothing Personal than to Code Blue.”
For Van Ginkel, however, the most interesting part of the job was when he and his co-workers would drive together in a minibus to the loading bays.
Peter Hoogendoorn’s project Between Ten and Twelve will recount, in real time, the period during which a family hears of the death of one of its members. The ﬁlm, to be produced by relative newcomer Keren Cogan Galjé and the co-pro doyenne Petra Goedings, is based on the same experience suffered by the director when in his teens.
“There was this Egyptian guy who went bankrupt and was kicked out of home by his brother. There was an Iranian guy, who spoke very little, as he was tortured. There were Yugoslavian guys who had suffered during the war. It took a lot of time to connect with these guys and hear their stories, but they made a huge impression on me.”
This will be the debut feature of both director Hoogendorn and producer Galjé. “After ﬁlm academy we talked about this idea and I wanted to do something with it, so she recommended the Binger, where I developed the project, and she was always part of the process,” he points out. “It’s my ﬁrst ﬁlm. I am not nervous. I just want to make it - ﬁnd my actors, ﬁnd my DOP and develop the script as far as it can go.”
“The framework of the ﬁlm is the police car coming to the house and telling the tragic news to a boy and his girlfriend,” comments Hoogendoorn. “And after that they travel on to his father and then his mother. That was the real situation in my own life – my journey with the police. It was a strange world. It was such
So the idea of shooting a ‘gritty tale of migration’ in which six stories play out and conclude simultaneously within the same cityscape became ﬁxed in Van Ginkel’s mind. His subsequent ﬁlm subjects include the Polish Reja who pays a high price for her naivety after arriving in
Joost van Ginkel
Being Nick Director Fow Pyng Hu talks to Melanie Goodfellow about Älmmaking, nature and his passion for ramen noodles. After a six-year hiatus director Fow Pyng Hu returns to the Rotterdam Film Festival this January with his complex character study Nick. The picture revolves around the outwardly charming, yet inwardly tortured, young chef Nick who sets off on a journey from the Netherlands to Croatia in search of the perfect trufﬂe - and himself. It opens on a scene of Nick chasing pigeons on the street like a small child. The playful atmosphere evaporates suddenly when he kicks out and strikes one of the birds, bringing it crashing to the ground. “The whole point about Nick is that he is not sympathetic. He’s a complex character,” says Hu. “I wanted to signal that difﬁcult side of him from the start and then let the audience come to accept him for what he is as the ﬁlm progresses.” “I got the initial inspiration for the script from an interview with a Dutch artist in which he said his favourite video clip was Michael Jackson’s Leave Me Alone,” continues Hu, referring to the amusement park-themed video, lampooning the media’s depiction of the late singer’s private life. “This got me thinking about other people around me who have this inability to connect, this awkwardness but who are very conscious of how they are,” continues Hu. “I think it must be a painful state of being and feel sympathy for such characters. If there is any one reason why I made this ﬁlm it is
to show that we should accept such characters as part of us.”
“Trufﬂes can also be found in France and Italy but Croatia has an edgier, wilder atmosphere which I thought would ﬁt the story better,” says Hu. “The journey was key to the development of Nick’s character. It’s like he subconsciously wants to escape himself, he’s sick of himself, but he can’t… it’s only when he gets into the wild that he ﬁnds some sense of peace.”
Merijn de Jong plays the title role. The accomplished, 30-year-old actor broke into acting as a nine-year-old in the role of Gavroche in a Joop van den Ende production of Les Misérables. “Initially I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to cast a Dutch person in the role. I’m generalising but the Dutch tend to be more direct and uncomplicated in their behaviour. I thought the role would suit a Belgian or British actor better,” says Hu.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of wild animals which end up in the civilized world… either through domestication, or animals that somehow end up in an urban setting by mistake. Nick is like one of these animals, there is still something wild about him, which is why he relates to the animals he encounters in the ﬁlm and ﬁnds peace in the natural setting of the forest.”
“The whole point about Nick is that he is not sympathetic. He’s a complex character.”
Housed in Amsterdam’s Chinese supermarket Toko Dun Yong, Hu experimented with the retail project over a two-month period just before Christmas. “We set up on a temporary basis at the store to see if the format worked. I planned it in such a way that I would be free for Rotterdam. We’ll open again once the festival is out of the way,” he says. “Filmmaking is such a ﬁnancially precarious activity that it’s good to have another source of ﬁnance.”
Nick is Hu’s ﬁrst feature since the 2004 Paradise Girls, about three young women in different parts of the world whose lives have been disrupted by the behaviour of the men. The picture screened in competition at Rotterdam 2005.
“But then by chance we did an audition with Merijn,” he continues. “What struck me ﬁrst was the way he introduced himself. He wasn’t that friendly and seemed to have doubts about the ﬁlm and why we were making it. It wasn’t very easy communicating with him. One of my collaborators said, ‘he’s going to be difﬁcult to work with’. In fact, he was very easy to work with but the initial contact was awkward. He was exactly the kind of character I was looking for.”
Prior to that, his debut ﬁlm Jacky, jointly directed with Brat Ljatiﬁ, premiered in Un Certain Regard in 2000 at the Cannes Film Festival. In between times, Hu has been living a split existence between Amsterdam and Tokyo with his Japanese wife, working mainly as a graphic designer and shooting occasional shorts and commercials. The culinary allusions in the ﬁlm, meanwhile, are no mere coincidence. After ﬁlmmaking, food is Hu’s other big passion. The Dutch-born son of Chinese restaurant owners has just achieved a long-held ambition to open a ramen noodles shop in Amsterdam.
The ﬁlm was shot over two months in Autumn 2010 ﬁrstly in the Netherlands and then Croatia, where the character goes on a trufﬂe hunt before ﬁnding a sense of peace in one of the country’s forests.
Nick Director: Fow Pyng Hu Production: Topkapi Films (NL), De Productie (NL)
Searching for truth “Finding truth in my work” is the mission statement of 29-year-old director Sacha Polak, who will be in Berlin this year with her debut feature, Hemel, in Forum, a short Älm in Generation (Brother) and an assistant director credit on the Generation 14plus selection Snackbar. Geoffrey Macnab speaks with the director. Hemel, like Sacha Polak’s 2008 short Craving (Drang), is about a young woman looking for love. The epomymous character, played by Hannah Hoekstra, has a suffocating relationship with her father. He has brought her up since the early death of her mother. She is promiscuous and sexually daring but also insecure emotionally and when her father begins a relationship with a young auctioneer, she feels particularly threatened. The ﬁlm makes heavy demands on lead actress Hoekstra. The director recalls being struck at the very ﬁrst audition by Hoekstra’s mix of conﬁdence and vulnerability – as well as her beauty. “I saw her in the audition and I felt immediately that she was going to be Hemel. I needed an actress who was willing to be really open and ready to dive into thee part.” Hemel may be scripted by Helena van der Meulen but there are elements of Polak’s own autobiography within the ﬁlm. Like her character, she grew up in Amsterdam and was brought up by her father, a documentary director. (Her mother died when she was only 11 months old.) “I said I really want to do something about a girl who was
raised by her father,” the director remembers telling Van der Meulen. “I don’t have the same relationship as Hemel does with her father but I wanted to make a ﬁlm about two people who have a symbiotic relationship and are really having difﬁculty in parting from each other.”
styles in it but it’s still one thing. I love the way it starts. You really believe in the girl (Samantha Morton) even though she cuts her boyfriend into pieces!” Since leaving ﬁlm school six years ago, Polak has made shorts and pop promos. She has tried to earn her living primarily through directing…but occasionally has taken on other assignations, such as lecturing to high school students. “That was really horrible!” Polak recalls. “I remember I was telling them everything about ﬁlmmaking – how you do it, how you make storyboards etc etc. The teacher said ‘well, you can do all that but you can also just take a camera and make a ﬁlm.’ Then he left.” At which point, chaos broke out. “No-one paid attention any more and I really felt like crying!”
With a father who is a ﬁlmmaker too, Polak grew up around cinema. “I always knew about ﬁlm,” she declares. “My stepmother (Merel Uslu) is also a ﬁlmmaker. I really grew up in this ﬁlmmaking home. We also sometimes work together. If they don’t have a boom operator, I will do that.” Last summer, Polak worked as assistant director on her stepmother’s new feature ﬁlm, Snackbar, which is selected for 2012 Berlinale Generation 14 Plus. Hemel (party inspired by the work of French auteur Maurice Pialat) was produced by Circe Films’ Stienette Bosklopper, who talented-spotted Polak when she graduated from the Dutch Film Academy in 2006. Bosklopper admired Polak’s short ﬁlm Teer (2006) and was keen to work with her.
The promo shows a dreamy and deﬁant young woman wandering round town on her own, getting into scrapes with shopkeepers and the cops. In surreal scenes, we see her dragging around a stuffed zebra. The director acknowledges that several of her ﬁlms have been about the inner lives of strong and troubled young female protagonists. “There is some truth to that. It is a subject I am interested in – probably because I am female myself!”
But as her work began to be noticed internationally, Polak was invited to the Berlin Talent Campus. “I remember it was very cold there, a lot of snow,” she recalls. She wanted to spend her time watching movies (as she does at the Rotterdam Festival where she’ll see four ﬁlms a day) but it didn’t work out. She ended up spending most of her time in workshops.
The pair are planning to collaborate on a new ﬁlm that Polak is writing – a sprawling family saga about a Turkish family of migrants living in the Netherlands. Meanwhile, Polak is also working with Helena van der Meulen on Luna (working title), a ﬁlm about a grief-stricken woman trying to cope with the death of her truck driver husband.
It’s doubtful she’ll have much time seeing other people’s ﬁlms in Berlin this year either. Not only is Hemel in ofﬁcial selection but she also has a short ﬁlm (Brother) screening in the festival’s Generation section – so she’ll be busy with her ofﬁcial duties. Polak was recently hired to direct a pop video for up and coming band, Lola Kite. The song is “Everything’s Better,” from the band’s debut album, Lights. Even here, you can see thematic overlaps with Polak’s other work.
Ask about Polak’s inspirations and she immediately cites Scottish director Lynne Ramsay’s Morvern Callar (2002.) “I always look at it when I make a ﬁlm,” she states. “It has a lot of different
Photo: Victor Arnolds
“I really grew up in this ﬁlmmaking home.”
Hans de Weers
Frans van Gestel
San Fu Maltha
Making it work Geoffrey Macnab talks to three of the Netherlands’ leading producers about their approach to the business of sourcing production Änance.
co-productions in South Africa. Meanwhile, he is working with Pandora on the new Carlos Reygadas ﬁlm Post Tenebras Lux. He collaborates frequently with Flemish partners, for example on the new ﬁlms by Patrice Toye and Felix Van Groeningen. He was also the producer of The Heineken Kidnapping, starring Rutger Hauer, one of the most talked about ﬁlms released in the Netherlands last year.
Dutch producers are famously resilient. Place the most daunting obstacle in their path and, rather than be downhearted, they will see it as a challenge. Speak to some of the country’s most senior industry ﬁgures and it quickly becomes apparent how adaptable they are. They work in every conceivable genre, from kids’ movies and documentaries (forms at which the Dutch have long excelled) to thrillers and art house drama. They’re outward looking, ready to co-produce when it makes sense, but also prepared to keep budgets down and tailor their wares at the domestic market.
“When there are difﬁcult times, you have to get together.”
The box-ofﬁce results underline how successful they have been in spite of the difﬁcult climate in which they often have had to operate. Dutch movies used to have a domestic market share of less than 5%. This has shot up over recent years. The audience share in 2011 soared to 22.38% while the box-ofﬁce share reached 21.88%. “That is a substantial win,” leading producer Frans van Gestel (who recently split off from IDTV Film to set up his own company Topkapi Films) declares. “A lot of Dutch people want to see Dutch ﬁlms and that (the market share) is still growing. The market is asking for Dutch ﬁlms.” Van Gestel is currently coproducing Pia Marais’ Layla Fourie with Pandora Film. This is one of several recent examples of Dutch producers working on
now, Nova Zembla, Eyeworks has enjoyed consistent recent success at the box-ofﬁce. Nonetheless, leading producers (De Weers among them) note that market conditions are growing ever tougher. “When there are difﬁcult times, you have to get together. Only with a strong bonding quality will you survive,” Van Gestel notes of Dutch producers’ increasing emphasis on striking international alliances.
This is indicative of how, with grit, ingenuity and lateral thinking, Dutch producers are continuing to make movies on the grand scale. In putting together the €6.3 million 16th century-set 3D epic Nova Zembla, Amsterdam-based Eyeworks Film was able to secure ﬁnancing from the distributor (Benelux Film Distributors), from the Matching Fund and from an Icelandic tax shelter. By mid-December, a few weeks after release, Nova Zembla had already racked up over 600,000 admissions.
These remarks chime with the philosophy of Fu Works boss, San Fu Maltha. On his new ﬁlm Süskind, budgeted at around €4.5 million and described by many as a “Dutch Schindler’s List,” Fu Works (who produced alongside director Rudolf van den Berg’s Cadenza Films) worked with neighbour Belgium in order to use its tax shelter. He also secured support from Telescoop (which backs two or high proﬁle ﬁlms a year with a single investment of €1.8 million), the Matching Fund and MyM (Make Your Movie.) The ﬁlm’s international pedigree was underlined when leading German sales outﬁt Beta Cinema came on board to handle international sales just before the American Film Market in early November.
“We are picking our projects very selectively, looking at the commercial potential and putting ﬁlms together in a way that we think will be commercial,” says Hans De Weers, Managing Director of Eyeworks Film & TV Drama. He points out that producers are also becoming increasingly astute about the way they market their ﬁlms. With titles ranging from The Happy Housewife and A Woman Goes To The Doctor to New Kids Nitro and,
Six years ago, Maltha and Van Gestel were the producers on Paul Verhoeven’s €18 million Second World War epic Black Book (2006) – by some stretch, still the biggest budget ﬁlm yet made in the Netherlands. Such a project, Maltha cautions, would be very hard to make on a similar scale today, without the help of the UK’s sale and leaseback-type ﬁnancing and the support available from German tax shelter, VIP Media Fund.
As the producers point out, a natural consequence of the current lack of a proper Dutch tax scheme is that the country’s post-production sector is suffering. There is a talent drain, with technicians heading abroad and Dutch-based post-production companies increasingly feeling the pinch. On a co-production, a ﬁlm’s editing is likely to be done in the country that provides the tax break or ﬁscal incentive. There will be a requirement to guarantee a level of ‘spend’ in that country – so investment will be taken away from the Netherlands. “Several post-production companies are really having a hard time because of the spending obligations in foreign countries,” Van Gestel states. If the Dutch had their own tax incentive, he adds, it would not only lure foreign producers to the country but would help the local industry to “stay alive.” “Indeed, it would be very good if we did have a tax shelter,” agrees Hans De Weers. “It would make it easier to ﬁnance the budgets and participate in co-productions.” Alongside a tax shelter, the producers are calling for the Dutch to set up the equivalent to the regional funds that have made Sweden and Germany such magnets for international production. But soft money is still available – and remains an essential part of ﬁlm budgets. Producers work with the Netherlands Film Fund and CoBO (a TV fund that supports co-production.) They also look to co-produce with countries like Belgium, Luxembourg or South Africa that have tax incentives. They rely heavily on the commissioning editors at the broadcasters.
So far, so traditional. However, in this new digital age, producers are now also trying to access new funding streams. For example, San Fu Maltha is exec producing the Nazis on the moon fantasy adventure Iron Sky, which was partially ﬁnanced through crowd funding. He is also looking to use crowd funding on his forthcoming production The Bombardment.
proclaims. “Apparently, they (the politicians) want us to keep the same market share, increase the quality and export (our ﬁlms) but we can only do that if we have tools! Compared to our European colleagues, we are handicapped.” Even if they do still feel they are at a competitive disadvantage to many of their European rivals, the producers retain great conﬁdence in their own ability to identify new talent, make quality ﬁlms and retain the ongoing interest of the Dutch ﬁlm-going public.
The producers retain great conﬁdence in their own ability to identify new talent.
As Maltha puts it: “I am optimistic in the sense that I always see that something is possible and I am always willing to ﬁnd new ways.”
“There is also another possibility – that we (the Dutch ﬁlm industry) would set up our own lottery,” Maltha identiﬁes an idea already currying strong support from producers. Whatever changes are put in place, Maltha is calling for future ﬁlm funding schemes to “reward people who’ve managed to ﬁnd an audience.” He also advocates the enlarging of the recently established Abraham Tuschinski Fund Foundation. The ongoing success of Fu Works, Eyeworks, IDTV/Topkapi and several other companies shows how buoyant Dutch production remains. Nonetheless, the producers fret that Government cuts in funding for ﬁlm risk “ruining everything we’ve built.” They’re keen for politicians to acknowledge the economic importance of the creative industries. “We are the cultural entrepreneurs,” Maltha
Paul Verhoevenâ€™s Black Book (2006), produced by a.o. San Fu Maltha and Frans van Gestel.
Taking the 3D challenge You’re making your Ärst 3D Älm, a complicated enough endeavour anyway, but you’re in the frozen limits of Iceland. Some challenge. DOP Lennert Hillege explains to Geoffrey Macnab how he rose to it. Cinematographer Lennert Hillege acknowledges that director Reinout Oerlemans’ Nova Zembla was – by some distance – the toughest (and coldest) movie physically he has ever had to work on. “If you do 3D in a studio, it’s already very challenging but now we had to go up to a glacier!” he says. “It was very intense for everybody – not only for the crew, but for the actors too.” The €6.3 million Eyeworks production tells the story of a young Dutch writer on a merchant vessel in the late 16th Century. The crew is hoping to discover a new trade route to Asia but plans go disastrously awry when the ship gets caught up in the ice. “Sometimes, we felt we were the ship’s crew, and we were freezing our ﬁngers off,” the cinematographer jokes as he reminisces (not altogether fondly) about shooting days in freezing wind, rain and ice. “I think that every element that we had to face was at its most extreme. We had to ﬁght our way through the whole shoot. It was as beautiful as it was horrible!” Hillege had worked with director (and Eyeworks CEO) Reinout Oerlemans on his debut feature Stricken (a.k.a A Woman Goes To The Doctor). That was a heavy and intense drama about a young woman desperately trying to come to terms not just with cancer but with a philandering husband. In terms of its logistics,
though, it was straightforward enough.
hits as Esther Rots’ Can Go Through Skin and David Verbeek’s R U There. Nova Zembla was very different. In terms of working with the actors and using the camera as a tool, he acknowledges the ﬁlm was “less intimate.”
“Nova Zembla was a big challenge! When he (Oerlemans) came to me, explained the story and also told me he wanted to do it in 3D, I was ﬂabbergasted,” the cinematographer recalls.
“Normally, you have more tools as a cinematographer to help a scene or to make dramatic choices. With 3D, there are also a lot of things you can do but you’re not as ﬂexible and not as quick. It’s not as easy to adapt to an actor’s input. It is more technical in a way.”
Ever since James Cameron’s Avatar, 3D has been embraced by ﬁlmmakers everywhere. However, as Hillege notes, not everyone realized just how complex shooting in the format would prove to be. “Of course, everyone said ‘Yeah, great! We’re going to do it.’ Then we slowly started to get more knowledge of what it really means (to work in 3D).”
While shot primarily in Iceland other locations included Canada, Belgium (where old Amsterdam was recreated), and on the North Sea. On a slightly surreal level, the crew also built ice-bound sets in an old ﬁsh factory.
“The experience was as beautiful as it was horrible!”
Hillege was able to see the rushes in full 3D. A few months on as he prepares for other assignments (among them the thriller Daylight, also being produced by Eyeworks), it is clear that Hillege won’t ever forget the experience of shooting Nova Zembla. “There were a lot of times when we all looked to each other and silently thought ‘what the fuck are we doing!’ But in the end, it was all worth it.” At the premiere in Amsterdam, the cinematographer was ﬁnally able to feel satisfaction. “With 3D, you can talk about it for months and months but there are very rare moments when you get the opportunity actually to see what you have done!”
Hillege and his colleagues researched the project exhaustively, studying old paintings and sketches from the period. Working closely together with production designer Harry Amerlaan, they made sure “we had good accurate sets.” At the same time, they wanted to keep a creative freedom. “But we also went our own way with it.”
One challenge was to choose the equipment. Eventually, Hillege plumped for an Element Technica rig as well as a smaller Pulsar rig and two Epic cameras. One novelty for the cinematographer was working with a “stereographer” (Jurrien Steenkamp) who could advise on the technical aspects of the production.
This was an exhilarating ﬁlm to make, even if it was hugely gruelling. Hillege talks about dragging heavy equipment over glaciers and rushing to get the ﬁlm done in time, before winter set in. He mentions “ice climbing and going with humongous cars and pulling things up the mountains…endless, endless man hours and sweat.”
“Also for him, it was his ﬁrst feature and his ﬁrst dramatic piece of such a length,” Hillege recalls of Steenkamp. He likens the stereographer to “an Indian in a little wigwam, sitting in a little tent on the set…he was a technical, crazy guy and half the time you didn’t have an idea of what he was talking about.”
In Reykjavik (a six or seven hour drive from their location), there was one cinema that could project 3D. Just occasionally,
Hillege’s recent credits include such notable arthouse/festival
Nova Zembla Director: Reinout Oerlemans Production: Eyeworks Film & TV Drama, Inspire Pictures NL
Photo: Victor Arnolds
IFFR/Berlin/Clermont Ferrand selections
Dutch features IFFR
World premieres include: Drama
Photo: Victor Arnolds
Director: Fow Pyng Hu Script: Fow Pyng Hu Production: Topkapi Films (NL), De Productie (NL) Nick is his own worst enemy and he knows it, so to escape reality he embarks upon a journey to Croatia. See page 12
Director: Nicole van Kilsdonk Script: Lotte Tabbers Production: Lemming Film (NL), A Private View (BE) Sales: Delphis Films Kiek devises a unique way of dealing with her worries about her father. Festivals and awards: Best Dutch Film, Cinekid 2011
Peace vs Justice
Director: Klaartje Quirijns Production: Submarine (NL) Sales: Autlook Film Sales Festivals: Toronto International Film Festival 2011, International Film Festival Ghent 2011, Warsaw Film Festival 2011 (Competition).
I am Still Alive
Director: Peter van Houten Production: Anna-Zharkov-Film Poetic documentary about the last days of an elderly Polish lady
Director: Sacha Polak Script: Helena van der Meulen Production: Circe Films (NL), Bella Cohen Films (NL), Jaleo Films (ES). Hemel is ﾃトhting a guerrilla war with every man in town, looking for the difference between sex and love. See page 14
Director: Boudewijn Koole Script: Jolein Laarman, Boudewijn Koole Production: Waterland Film Sales: Delphis Films Jojo is caught between his love for a jackdaw and his loyalty to his father. Finally he decides that enough is enough. See page 8
Director: Meral Uslu Script: Stan Lapinski Production: Lemming Film (NL), Volya Films (NL) A ﾃネm which is as hard, funny, tragic, wild and unpredictable as life itself.
Dutch shorts Berlinale: Generation
Clermont Ferrand: International competition
Other Dutch releases
New Kids Nitro
Director: Michiel van Jaarsveld Script: Amarins Romkema Production: Lemming Film Hannah is shocked when her father decides to return to his home country Argentina.Trying hard to deal with the loss, she discovers that their shared love for the tango can help her feel close to him. Festivals & Awards: Cinekid 2011
Director: Adriaan Lokman Script: Liesbeth Konink, Adriaan Lokman, Sebastien Ors Production: Valk Producties (NL), Autour de Minuit (FR) Sales: Autour de Minuit After X Ãnds a mobile phone beside the road, he is pursued by a number of interested parties in a race towards life or death… See page 28
The Path of a Hare
Comedy Director: Steffen Haars & Flip van der Kuil Script: Steffen Haars, Flip van der Kuil Production: Eyeworks Film & TV Drama (NL), Inspire Pictures (NL), Bridge Entertainment Group (NL), Tip of the Blanket (NL), Steffen Haars and Flip van der Kuil (NL) Sales: Elle Driver Back for their second adventure, The New Kids fall out with the local hooligans, but both gangs must join forces to face a greater evil…
Drama Director: Diederik van Rooijen Script: Diederik van Rooijen, Marnie Blok Production: NL Film (NL) Hunted down in Buenos Aires by corrupt cops, a married couple Ãnally sees what they share and are about to lose.
AlÄe the Little Werewolf
Photo: Diderik Evers
Children Director: Joram Lürsen Script: Tamara Bos Production: BosBros (NL), Ciné Cri de Coeur (BE) Sales: Delphis Films When AlÃe suddenly turns into a werewolf on the night of his seventh birthday, he hasn’t a clue what to do…
Director: Lotte van Elsacker Script: Lotte van Elsacker Production: Lotte van Elsacker, AKV St. Joost A small hare grows up with his mother from whom he learns everything. Their bond is strong, but nature always goes on and never stops. Something that the little hare soon learns. Festivals: Netherlands Film Festival 2011
Director: Dan Geesin Script: Dan Geesin Production: Rots Filmwerk Sales: KurzFilmAgentur Hamburg White foreigner Thomas’ Ãrst nightshift at the petrol station turns a little odd. Festivals & Awards: Winner Golden Calf Best Dutch Short Netherlands Film Festival 2011.
Children Director: Mischa Kamp Script: Mieke de Jong Production: Lemming Film (NL), ma.ja.de Ãlmproduction (DE), U-Film (BE) Sales: Delphis Films The story of little Tony, whose father rises from crane driver to Secretary of State.
Ataraxia – Poodle Shaving for the Blind
Director: Sander Blom Script: Sander Blom Production: seriousFilm (NL) An exploration of ‘Life’s Manual’, ie how to survive the boredom of paradise, penile shrinkage, treacherous breakfasts & much much more.
Drama Director: Reinout Oerlemans Script: Hugo Heinen Production: Eyeworks Film & TV Drama The epic story of the shipwrecked 16th century ship whose Dutch crew had to survive the gruesome polar winter. See page 20
Director: Sacha Polak Script: Gerry de Hoogh Production: Lemming Film Left alone for the weekend with her older siblings, Lauren feels desperately excluded and decides to take a step she’s not (yet) ready to take.
Dutch Älms in the pipeline Coming soon...
Photo: Jaap Vrenegoor
Director: Arne Toonen Script: Melle Runderkamp Production: Hazazah Pictures (NL), Orange Film (NL) On the day before his wedding, retired criminal Jos Vreeswijk wakes up next to a dead man…
My Dad’s a Detective: The Competition
Director: Will Wissink Script: Zebi Damen Production: A’dam Films (NL) Just how far will some people go to win?
The Girl and Death
Director: Jos Stelling Script: Jos Stelling, Bert Rijkelijkhuizen Production: Jos Stelling Films (NL), ma.ja.de Ãction (DE) Sales: Meridiana Films A timeless love story in which the only obstacles to happiness are wealth, materialism and death.
Director: Anna van der Heide Script: Tamara Bos Production: BosBros (NL) Sales: Delphis Films Fidgety Bram is a little boy who just cannot sit still. Which becomes a problem when he starts school.
Director: Max Porcelijn Script: Max Porcelijn Production: LEV Pictures (NL), CTM (NL) Ridding himself of debt sets in motion for Ronald a sequence of events that may lead to his salvation or downfall.
Director: Pieter Kuijpers Script: Marcel Lenssen Production: Pupkin Film (NL) Max is sick of the rude behaviour he has to deal with. Encouraged by comedian Felix, he decides to strike back.
Director: Dick Maas Script: Dick Maas Production: Tom de Mol Productions (NL), Parachute Pictures (NL) Not every question has an answer.
My Life on Planet B
Only Decent People
Director: Iván López Núñez Script: Rogier de Blok, Iván López Núñez Production: Topkapi Films (NL) Being a teenager just isn’t easy.
Director: Lodewijk Crijns Script: Lodewijk Crijns Production: Topkapi Films (NL) When David discovers that his “ideal woman” is from a different social class, he begins to suffer an acute identity crisis.
Swchwrm, My Adventures
Director: Will Koopman Script: Lex Wertwijn Production: Column Film (NL) When a plastic surgeon gets into Ãnancial difÃculty she accepts help from an old friend. But what does he want in return?
Director: Froukje Tan Script: Helena van der Meulen Production: Flinck Film (NL), Kasander Film (NL) Sales: Delphis Films Every adventure begins with a single sentence…
Director: Michiel ten Horn Script: Anne Barnhoorn Production: Pupkin Film (NL) When a Dutch family meets a perfect German exchange student, they suffer an identity crisis and decide to reinvent themselves.
Director: Rudolf van den Berg Script: Rudolf van den Berg, Chris W. Mitchell Production: Fu Works, Cadenza Films, Rinkel Film (NL) Sales: Beta Film. Süskind tells the true story of Jewish resistance hero Walter Süskind who saved almost a thousand Jewish children from deportation. See page 26 Horror
Director: Erwin van den Eshof & Martijn Smits Script: Tijs van Marle Production: Talent United (NL) A group of friends must arm themselves against an invasion of zombies.
Director: Roel Boorsma & Berend Boorsma Script: Roel Boorsma, Berend Boorsma, Heather Imani Production: Fu Works (NL), Samson Films (IE) A failed kidnapping, an unusual friendship and a violent confrontation forces Milo (10) and his parents to embrace the imperfections in their lives.
Cool Kids Don’t Cry
Photo: Jaap Vrenegoor
Goltzius and the Pelican Company
Director: Peter Greenaway Script: Peter Greenaway Production: Kasander Film (NL), CDP SARL (FR), Film & Music Entertainment (UK), Mainframe Film Production (HR) Sales: Bankside Films. A Dutch engraver entices a nobleman into paying for an extraordinary and erotic book of pictures.
Director: Dennis Bots Script: Karen van Holst Pellekaan Production: Rinkel Film (NL), Bijker (NL), Living Stone (BE) Soccer-loving Akkie is diagnosed with leukemia. Only through her love for a boy in her class, can she face the inevitable.
Director: Vincent Bal Script: Vincent Bal Production: BosBros (NL), N279 Entertainment (NL), Prime Time (BE) Sales: Delphis Films When Nono (13) meets master-burglar Felix the boy discovers the true history of his father and mother, and much about himself.
Less is more It seemed obvious from the start that Rudolf van den Berg’s Süskind would make a perfect co-production with Germany, reports Nick Cunningham. The story of the German Jew Walter Süskind who saved over 1000 Dutch children from deportation to the concentration camps would attract a big German star, and would subsequently stimulate considerable German fund involvement. It all sounded so easy. “But it didn’t happen that way at all,” admits Van den Berg who, together with producer Jeroen Koolbergen, runs the Amsterdambased production company Cadenza Films. “The ﬁrst stage of development was to ﬁnd co-producers. But that just didn’t work, so we went to San Fu Maltha at Fu Works.” Koolbergen and Dutch producer Maltha were at that time working together on Van den Berg’s Tirza, which went on to open the 2010 Netherlands Film Festival and subsequently win the festival’s Golden Calf for Best Director. From the start, Maltha was very clear in his approach to the ﬁnance of Süskind. Yes, they could go down the co-production route, and Maltha’s ﬁlofax contained more than enough top European contacts to make this a realistic option. But an international co-pro can take many years to produce. Why not drop the budget instead and have it ﬁnanced within The Netherlands within twelve months? “So we took that decision, as recommended by San Fu. He is an advocate of keeping the ﬁnance simple and I think that that’s one
of the reasons why he is so productive. In the end I was happy that we followed his advice,” the director explains.
celluloid, and Van den Berg’s Süskind is bound to draw comparisons with ﬁlms such as Roman Polanski’s The Pianist and Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. Are such comparisons a boon or a burden?
The ﬁlm’s budget was thus reduced to €4.5 million and the ﬁnance was indeed raised within the year, sourced from the Netherlands Film Fund, CoBO, public broadcaster VARA, the Belgian tax shelter and through private investment. But how did this tightening of production purse strings affect Van den Berg’s approach to the ﬁlm?
“They are neither, and certainly not a burden,” he replies. “In preparation for this ﬁlm I watched and re-watched lots of ﬁlms that deal with the Holocaust. Some were very good and some were less good. Schindler’s List and The Pianist are great movies and I certainly used them for groundwork.
“Well, that is, of course, the story of my life. I’m used to working within modest budgets, which is tough but not always a bad thing,” he stresses. “It forces you to think about what is essential and what is not. It helps you to cut pages. It helps you to cut shots that are superﬂuous.
“But Süskind is a different movie from these in the way it tells us a lot about the Holocaust in Holland. How the Netherlands was host to the most exemplary and efﬁcient machine the Nazis had in Western Europe. What the ﬁlm also tells us is basically that you don’t need to have bloody murderers to commit genocide. You need obedient and ﬂexible civil servants who don’t have scruples. They start by setting people apart, segregating them, and then they stigmatise them and then it ends with murder. So, more so than Schindler’s List or The Pianist, my ﬁlm shows the mechanics of genocide.
“Schindler’s List and The Pianist are great movies and I certainly used them for groundwork.”
den Berg claims, reaction to the ﬁlm has been very favourable both among international buyers and test audiences at home. “Now I am very curious to see what happens with the ﬁlm. If it’s a small success then life goes on as it’s been doing for ages, but if it’s a real success, a real blockbuster, then it might enhance my chance of bigger budgets for my next ﬁlms.” These include two projects long in gestation, one a telling of the classical Orestes myth (to be produced by senior producer Pierre Spengler, the third partner of Cadenza Films). The other is a political thriller about the Dutch philosopher Spinoza, currently being rewritten by Süskind writer Chris W Mitchell. “The Spinoza project is also with San Fu,” conﬁrms Van den Berg. “I have been working on that for four years now and I hope to get it ﬁnanced this coming year. San Fu is very excited about it. He has wanted to do a Golden Age picture for years so this is exactly his cup of tea. Once he says yes to a project, he is more than capable of getting it off the ground.”
“For audiences it should not be too difﬁcult to see or at least sense that the ﬁlm also refers to contemporary politics, where in many areas new forms of racism and genocide have become an almost automatic dimension of social conﬂict. That may explain the caption that I inserted after the end of the ﬁlm: ‘To those who are being humiliated and persecuted today’.”
“With Süskind there were fewer shooting days than I would normally want and we tried to spend the money on the things that would be visible on screen. So I really had to think about every scene, every shot. What is the essence of it? Can I shoot it more economically? You have to lose a lot of ornamentation which, at the end, can be very good for a ﬁlm.”
The ﬁlm has been picked up for international by the German sales entity Beta Film and so far, Van
The Holocaust is a subject that has been examined often on
Süskind Director: Rudolf van den Berg Production: Fu Works (NL), Cadenza Films (NL), Rinkel Film (NL) Sales: Beta Film
Dutch Industry News
CUT TO THE CHASE
Dutch animation director Adriaan Lokman’s short ﬁlm Chase has been selected for the Lab competition of the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival. The 13-minute ﬁlm, described by Lokman as “a chase that leaves you gasping for breath”, took over four years to complete. Geometric, triangular and abstract in concept, the whole production process kicked off with an edit of chases and pursuits from wellknown ﬁlms. “The next step was to try to imitate their tension and feel with animated triangles,” Lokman explains. “But sometimes a certain shot stayed totally unrecognisable whatever I tried. So I had to redo, or rethink, complete sequences many times. There is a limit to what you can tell and explain when triangles are your only means of expression.”
Photo: Victor Arnolds
EURIMAGES SUPPORTS DUTCH PROJECTS
Two more Dutch ﬁlm projects have been granted support in the latest round of funding from the Council of Europe funding institute Eurimages. This takes Eurimages investment in Dutch co-productions (majority and minority) to €2.680.000 in 2011. The project Heaven on Earth by director Pieter Kuijpers (TBS, 2008) received €280,000. The ﬁlm earlier received €515,000 development and production support from the Netherlands Film Fund. The majority producer is the Dutch production entity Pupkin Film, with the Belgian Caviar Films performing minority co-production duties. Maverick writer/director Alex van Warmerdam received €550,000 of Eurimages funding for Camiel Borgman. The ﬁlm, presented at CineMart 2011, previously received funding to the tune of €750,000 from the Netherlands Film Fund. The majority stakeholder is the Amsterdam-based Graniet Film, while the Belgian production company Epidemic and Angel Films/The Danish Film Studios (Denmark) are co-production partners. This means that in 2011 three majority Dutch projects received Eurimages support of €930.000 (the other was Nicole van Kilsdonk’s Generation Kplus selection Patatje Oorlog which received €100,000). Since it was set up in 1988, EURIMAGES has supported 1420 European co-productions with a total amount of approximately €429 million.
Lokman sat on the ClermontFerrand Lab jury in 2010 when his short ﬁlm Barcode (2001) featured during the opening ceremony, but this is his ﬁrst ofﬁcial selection at the prestigious event. “I was very pleased with the selection - the festival is very dear to me,” he continues. “I love the Lab competition for its experimental and artistic level. The ﬁlms shown always differ very much from each other. It ‘s a kaleidoscopic view on the experimental part of ﬁlmmaking.”
MARKET SHARE HIKE
Dutch audiences turned to domestic ﬁlms in their increasing millions in 2011. Audience market share rose 6.5% from 15.88% in 2010 to 22.38%. The total audience for Dutch ﬁlms was a very pleasing 6,810,000, itself a 52.16% hike on the 2010 ﬁgure of 4,475,760. Receipts for Dutch-produced product were equally impressive, soaring from €32,350,371 in 2010 to 52,500,605 in 2011, an increase of 61.39%. The overall market share for Dutch ﬁlms rose from 14.83% in 2010 to 21.88% in 2011. Top of the pile was Will Koopman’s Gooische Vrouwen (Independent Films) which attracted over 1.9 million cinemagoers and amassed over €15 million in box-ofﬁce revenues. In fact Gooische Vrouwen was tops on all counts, beating Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two (WB) and Pirates of the Caribbean 3 (WDS) into second and third place respectively. “These ﬁgures, coupled with the increasing number of Dutch ﬁlms selected at international festivals is a great incentive for Dutch ﬁlm professionals to further expand and exploit the potential of Dutch ﬁlm in the coming years,” commented Netherlands Film Fund director Doreen Boonekamp.
COLOPHON SEE NL is published four times per year by EYE Film Institute Netherlands and The Netherlands Film Fund and is distributed to international Ãlm professionals. Editors in chief: Claudia Landsberger (EYE), Jonathan Mees (Netherlands Film Fund) Executive editor: Nick Cunningham Contributors: Geoffrey Macnab, Melanie Goodfellow, Maryanne Redpath Concept & Design: Lava.nl, Amsterdam Layout: def., Amsterdam Printing: Roto Smeets GraÃservices Printed on FSC paper Circulation: 2000 copies © All rights reserved: The Netherlands Film Fund and EYE Film Institute Netherlands 2012
FILMS FOR CHILDREN: A DUTCH BRAND
Inspired by the interviews and research they conducted for their book Van Abeltje tot Zoop, about the history and success of Dutch children’s ﬁlms, ﬁlm producer Sabine Veenendaal and ﬁlm marketeer Esther Schmidt have written an additional booklet on the subject for the international ﬁlm audience.
The Amsterdam-based Binger, one of international cinema’s leading centres for the development of features and documentaries, will kick off 2012 with an industrious IFFR.
Entitled The Dutch Touch: Vision and Passion for Children’s ﬁlms in the Netherlands, the booklet will be co-produced by EYE Film Institute Netherlands and launched at Berlinale 2012. As well comprising a comprehensive listing of all Dutch children’s ﬁlms from 1989 onwards, the booklet will contain a short overview of the sector with emphasis placed on the ground-breaking ﬁlms and the key ﬁlmmakers over this period. What’s more, it will be richly illustrated with pictures, images and quotes from the ﬁlmmakers.
In CineMart selection is the project Between Ten and Twelve (Peter Hoogendoorn, see page 18) alongside the ﬁve international Boost! projects that were developed within the unique coaching trajectory devised by the Hubert Bals Fund, CineMart and the Binger.
Schmidt explains why the international version picks up the history of Dutch ﬁlms for kids from 1989. That was when Ben Sombogaart made My Father Lives in Rio, a ﬁlm generally regarded as marking a turning point in the industry. “For the ﬁrst time the target audience of the ﬁlm was taken seriously,” she comments. “It was like a new severe type of drama for children, not like adventure or a couple of kids solving a problem or discovering a secret or whatever. It was really like an adult way of telling the story of a child and his problems.”
During IFFR the Binger will again present its own Human Film Festival, during which trailers for the new ﬁlms developed at the ﬁlmlab can be accessed onto smartphones. via tattoo stickers and t-shirts bearing QR codes.
“Since 1989 Dutch ﬁlms for kids have been very successful abroad, both at festivals and in the marketplace,” she continues. “So successful that nowadays Dutch children’s ﬁlms are a brand and a very important export product for the Netherlands.”
Current Binger writer Dominga Sotomayor presents his De Jueves a Domingo in Tiger Competition while and Ezequiel Erriquez is in attendance for the World Premiere of his A la Cantabrica.
CONTACT Sandra den Hamer CEO EYE Film Institute Netherlands E sandradenhamer@eyeÃlm.nl Claudia Landsberger Head of EYE international EYE Film Institute Netherlands E claudialandsberger@eyeÃlm.nl EYE Film Institute Netherlands PO BOX 74782 1070 BT Amsterdam The Netherlands T +31 20 589 1400 W www.eyeÃlm.nl Doreen Boonekamp CEO Netherlands Film Fund E d.boonekamp@Ãlmfonds.nl Dorien van de Pas Head of Feature Film Netherlands Film Fund E D.van.de.Pas@Ãlmfonds.nl Ger Bouma Head of Intl. Co-productions Netherlands Film Fund E g.bouma@Ãlmfonds.nl Jonathan Mees Head of Communications Netherlands Film Fund E j.mees@Ãlmfonds.nl Netherlands Film Fund Jan Luykenstraat 2 1071 CM Amsterdam The Netherlands T +31 20 570 7676 W www.Ãlmfonds.nl
As in previous years, all 27 writers, directors and producers of the Binger Writers Lab will be in attendance at CineMart to observe at ﬁrst hand the delicate and intricate, but essential, process of pitching and networking.
Film festivals NL The Netherlands is home to some of international cinema’s most important festivals, markets and platforms. See below a selection of must-attend events for industry professionals.
Cinekid Children’s Film Festival - Amsterdam, October 291 international projects
Imagine Film Festival and Fantastic Children’s Film Festival - Amsterdam, April
(Screening Club & Co-production markets)
29 international industry guests
largest childrens Ãlm festival in the world
International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA) - Amsterdam, November
350 international industry guests
largest documentary festival in the world 878 international projects: 328 international Ãlms in selection 60 international projects at the Forum 490 international Ãlms in Docs for Sale 2504 international industry guests
12.000 visitors Go Short Nijmegen, March
International projects: Industry Day, Go Short video library with Dutch Platform
and Go Short Student Campus 51 international industry guests
152.000 visitors 340.000 visitors
Netherlands Film Festival (NFF) - Utrecht, September largest multi-day media event in the Netherlands 7 Dutch and 13 European Ãlm projects in the
International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) - January
Netherlands Production Platform 2011 228 international industry guests
19.500 visitors Holland Animation Film Festival - March, Utrecht 13 International projects
largest multi-day cultural
114 International guests
event in the Netherlands
HAFF exposition SUN-XUN at
Central Museum: 30.000 visitors (2010)
36 projects 600 international participants:
leading professional and public
154 Dutch participants: (incl. 44 from Rotterdam)
platform for animation
75 participants to Rotterdam Lab 4 day workshop with: 6 panels, 4 speed date sessions and 7 presentations 2500 international industry guests
EYE on design
Over the past two years Amsterdam residents have watched in awe as construction of the magniÄcent and modernist EYE building has continued on the northern bank of the city’s River IJ. But for public and professionals alike, the waiting is set to come to an end. The EYE building will open ofﬁcially April 2012. The building’s exterior has already assumed iconic status with its sleek lines, geometric planes and uncompromising angles. (Among other designs by renowned
Cinema 1 is the largest space, containing 315 seats, and will be used for the premieres of contemporary and classic ﬁlms, and special screenings. The space also includes a restored organ which will accompany silent classics. Cinema 2 has a high-tec scaffolding system that enables easy transformation into a multi-purpose space, whether for dining or dancing. Cinema 3 – the Black Box – is dedicated to auteur cinema and allows no illumination other than projected light to enter the space. Cinema 4 invokes the spirit of the former Filmmuseum’s Cinema Parisienne, originally situated within
architects Delugan Meissl Associated Architects of Vienna is the striking Porsche Museum in Stuttgart.) The building’s interior is equally ground-breaking as form and function combine to provide a dynamic space for visitors to digest a vast array of cinematic offerings, both new and historic. Four cinemas, each with unique characteristics, and an exhibition space measuring 1200 square metres can be accessed from a central arena that incorporates a café/restaurant.
Amsterdam’s Vondel Park. LED lighting projected onto textile recreates the art nouveau designs of the original wall-panelling, while alternative lighting creates myriad other effects and patterns. A Treasure Room is dedicated to EYE’s extensive digital archive, accessible for free, and the delightful Room with a View affords visual access to the stunning Amsterdam skyline across the river. EYE staff are based in the building too, and will practise a revolutionary clean-desk policy as they continue their necessary work.
Hannah Hoekstra Hannah Hoekstra makes her big screen debut this year in the title role of Sasha Polak’s dramatic Hemel, which is due to premiere in the Forum section of Berlinale 2012.
The 24-year-old Hoekstra stars as Hemel, a young woman whose exclusive relationship with her widowed father Gijs is turned upside-down when he falls in love with a woman at the auction house where he works. “The story and scenes are quite intense. I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to do it without any experience
in ﬁlm or television. But when I met Sasha Polak I was enthusiastic right away. With her as a director I dared to play this role, she inspired me,” says Hoekstra. Polak says of the young actress: “I don’t really know how to explain it but I thought there was something strange about her but also something really loveable… She was
so at ease and trusted me, and opened herself. I think she was really amazing.” Hoekstra is currently starring opposite Anneke Blok and Anne-Wil Blankers in the play Jealousy, a tale of three women, which is touring the Netherlands. Melanie Goodfellow
Photo: Bas Losekoot