Antoniak and Van Gestel on Directorsâ€™ Fortnight pick Code Blue Dick Maas goes Saintly
The resurgence of Dutch animation
Michael John Fedun: Producer on the Move Carice Van Houten:
Issue #3 May 2011
A publication by the Netherlands Film Fund and EYE Film Institute Netherlands
View from the Edge Code Breakers
Pp 2-3 Image preview:
Pp 20-21 Injection of Youth:
P 4 Image preview:
Dutch films to look out for in 2011
Urszula Antoniak’s 2011 Directors’ Fortnight pick Code Blue Guest Column: Directors’ Fortnight Artistic Director Frédéric Boyer
Job Gosschalk’s debut Plenty of Time
P 5 Image preview:
David Verbeek has been selected for the 6th Cannes Cinéfondation Atelier. He talks to SEE NL
Pp 22-23 Dutch Harvest:
Pp 24-25 New Kids go Nitro:
Annecy competition film The Monster of Nix
Helmer Steffen Haars and producer Hans de Weers discuss the runaway success of the New Kids
P 6 Image preview:
Pp 26-27 Poetry in Motion:
Dutch legend Dick Maas’ Santa horror, Saint
P 7 Image Preview:
Paula van der Oest’s Black Butterflies
Pp 8-11 Getting Animated:
SEE NL talks to the leading lights of Holland’s re-emerging animation sector
Pp 12-13 A New Job:
Job Gosschalk talks to SEE NL about his directorial debut, Plenty of Time
Pp 14-15 COVER STORY Code Breakers:
Directors’ Fortnight chief Frédéric Boyer
Melanie Goodfellow talks to Paula van der Oest about Black Butterflies, her biopic of anti-Apartheid poet Ingrid Jonker
Dutch cinema is getting better and better, and a lot of people are becoming increasingly aware that the film scene in the Netherlands is not just centred around one Dutch director, Paul Verhoeven, who is a master. Many more filmmakers are making them selves known to international audiences. Why? Because they are making great films. We had Nanouk Leopold here in 2005 with Guernsey, and since then Cannes audiences have seen a lot of very good Dutch films.
Pp 28-29 Short Cuts: Dutch news
Pp 30-31 Producer on the Move: Michael John Fedun gets the
Dutch nod at Cannes 2011. He talks to SEE NL
Back Cover Dutch Star Profile: Carice van Houten
Interview with the producer/director team of Frans van Gestel and Urszula Antoniak on Code Blue, selected for 2011 Directors’ Fortnight
Pp 16-17 Rosto in Annecy:
This year we are very happy to have Urszula Antoniak with Code Blue, and I am going to give her an excellent first weekend slot so that the reception for her film will be huge. I saw another Dutch film that I regret I could not pick - I will not say what it was - but I can only choose 17 international titles. It’s not possible to choose every brilliant film I see.
Maverick director Rosto talks to SEE NL about his Annecy competition film The Monster of Nix
Pp 18-19 Critical Maas:
Dick Maas talks to SEE NL after his North American premiere of Saint
For me, there is something very specific about Dutch cinema, it has a particular authenticity. A long time ago Dutch cinema was always thought of in terms of period pieces, lots of costume dramas. Now it is much better. You have thrillers and you have arthouse films. You have films with great emotional depth and many films from female directors. For me, it is very good for cinema to promote women filmmakers and this is something the Dutch are very good at. And it
matches my criteria. In my Directors’ Fortnight selection this year I have 9 or 10 female filmmakers – almost 50%.
Director Urszula Antoniak and producer Frans van Gestel discuss their Directors’ Fortnight film, Code Blue
I have strong ongoing relationships with the film industry of The Netherlands. When I was at IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam) in November I saw a wonderful Dutch film – a total masterpiece - Leonard Retel Helmrich’s Position Among the Stars, but it was impossible for me to select it for the Fortnight because it went on to Sundance, and the Cannes rules do not allow me to select it. I cannot wait for this director’s first feature.
The film is about life and death, and the place in-between which I call Planet Hospital see pages 14-15
This year, I will visit the Amsterdam film school where there are a lot of very good video artists – it is important for my section in Cannes to be open and to welcome these artists. And for sure I will go to the Dutch Film Festival in Utrecht to meet the Dutch industry there - the people, the filmmakers, the producers - and to understand the different points of view that they can offer. We know what is happening in Belgium, where there is a lot of humour. We know about the UK’s social landscape by watching the films that come from there. And we know about the Nordic countries with their highly personal psychological portraits. But we are learning all the time about the Dutch, which is why it is wonderful to bring Urszula to Cannes to show us more, like Nanouk and others have done over recent years. From my perspective, I want to learn and understand so much more about Dutch cinema. In conversation with Nick Cunningham
Code Blue Director: Urszula Antoniak Script: Urszula Antoniak Production: IDTV Film Sales: Bavaria Film International
Rosto in Annecy
A New Job
Plenty of Time (Alle Tijd) Script: Job Gosschalk Production: NL Film
Casting director turned film director Job Gosschalk discusses his feature debut Plenty of Time.
He attracted the likes of Tom Waits and Terry Gilliam to voice the lead roles, now Rosto’s The Monster of Nix competes in Annecy.
Plenty of Time is an endearing, entertaining snapshot of modern Dutch life, in the vein of British cinema hits such as Love Actually or Notting Hill
“A lot of the characters have existed in my mind for a long time and are to be found in the universe I have been building since the 1990s”
see pages 12-13
see pages 16-17
Monster of Nix Director: Rosto Script: Rosto Production: Studio Rosto A.D Sales: Autour de Minuit
Director: Job Gosschalk
Dick Maas talks about his horror Saint which received its North American premiere at Tribeca.
In the film, as in earlier movies, the writer-director turns familiar ideas on their head. “I thought, well, what is our biggest figure that we have here,” Maas says of how he alighted on the idea of making St Nicolas the arch-villain. see pages 18-19
Poetry in Motion.
Paula van der Oest discusses Black Butterflies, about the life of anti-Apartheid poet Ingrid Jonker, starring Carice van Houten.
“Carice is a very talented, very vulnerable and interesting actress. She is one of the few actresses who is not just playing the surface” see pages 26-27
Saint Director: Dick Maas Script: Dick Maas Production: Tom de Mol Productions Sales: Film Factory Entertainment (Spain)
Black Butterflies Director: Paula van der Oest Script: Greg Latter Production: IDTV Film Sales: Bavaria Film International 6
business,” he suggests. It’s more work for more people over a longer period. Another obvious attraction of animated features is that they can sell internationally. Once movies are dubbed, they can easily be understood in other languages and cultures. They have a “long tail.” If successful, they can be exploited over many years and in many markets. “It’s easier to make money from an international animation coproduction than from a normal live action feature because there is so much more involved – the intellectual property and the merchandising,” agrees Snijders.
Geoffrey Macnab assesses the re-emergence of Dutch animation There is one glaring paradox about the Dutch animation sector. In recent years, Dutch animators have won prizes at festivals all over the world, including Oscars for the Michael Dudok De Wit short Father And Daughter and Børge Ring for Anna and Bella, and nominations for such as Paul Driessen (Three Misses) and Co Hoedeman for Sandcastle, as well as a host of other international prizes. New talents emerge regularly from the film schools. The artistry of the country’s filmmakers is unquestioned. And yet…it has been many, many years since the Dutch have made animated feature films. That is now set to change. When The Dutch Film Fund appointed Willem Thijssen as an animation consultant at the Film Fund in 2009, part of his brief was to kickstart feature animation. Thijssen produced the Oscarwinner Father and Daughter and is admired and respected within the industry. As he notes, countries throughout Europe have embraced feature animation – but the Dutch have been slow to join the bandwagon. Some have claimed that Dutch animators lacked ambition and that the industry suffered because no producers were ready to take on feature-length animation. However, when
Triple Trouble Director: Albert ‘t Hooft and Paco Vink Script: Jan Eduards Production: iL Luster Producties
“For visibility, it is crucial,” says the Film Fund’s Miranda Sloot, who oversees short animation. Winning prizes with shorts is all very well but, as she points out, “the general public doesn’t see very much short animated films. To have a sound base for your production companies and for the industry as a whole, it is crucial to have also feature animation films.”
Thijssen joined the Film Fund, he discovered applications dating back to 2002/2003 for animated feature projects. Several had been given development funding but none had actually been greenlit. It was invariably too difficult to finance them. Nonetheless, the desire to make them was clearly there. “It was a little bit of a chicken and egg situation where animators said ‘look, there are not enough animators to do this’ and people were fleeing abroad,” suggests Michiel Snijders of Utrecht-based production outfit, il Luster (founded in 1997) of the long hiatus in Dutch feature animation.
Furthermore, if the Dutch do make a regular supply of their own animated features, they will avoid the “talent drain” that has been a factor of the local industry for some years now.
There is camaraderie between the different Dutch producers as they race to get their animated features on to the screen
At present, several feature projects are in advanced development, at “animatic stage.” (That’s when a rough version of the film is made, using storyboards edited together on a temporary soundtrack.) Thijssen oversees a fund of €200,000 per year to invest in these animatics – and then the films will look to the Film Fund’s feature film dept for backing.
“The most talented people have gone abroad because there is no industry,” Thijssen states. A figure like the Hans Perk, co-founder of top Danish animation outfit A Film, is a prime example of an animator allowed to slip out of Holland’s grasp. Likewise, Paul Driessen, who now lives in both the Netherlands and Canada, or
Lee M. Ross of Spunky Productions is one of the Dutch animators looking to take the leap into feature film production. Ross points out that there are compelling commercial reasons for production companies to produce longer-form, larger scale projects. “When you do something on a larger scale, you get more continuity for your 9
Piet Kroon, directing in the US. Even so, the activities of the Netherlands Institute For Animation Film (NIAF), founded in 1993, testify to the continuing richness of the Dutch animation tradition. The Institute is based in the south of the country - it is to move from the Tilburg area to Eindhoven mid-2012. Like every other public body in the Netherlands, the Institute (which has a budget of around €750,000) is bracing itself for cuts. The Institute’s director Ton Crone highlights the artist in residence programme, masterclasses and workshops as the Institute’s key activities. NIAF also proselytizes tirelessly on behalf of Dutch animation, organising exhibitions of Dutch animated works, past and present, that travel all the over world. There is also an extensive animation collection at EYE. This is overseen by Leenke Ripmeester, who points out that there are many gems within it that the broader Dutch public doesn’t know about. These include work by Hungarian-born animation legend George Pal, who worked for Philips in Eindhoven in the 1930s, work from Joop Geesink and from the celebrated Toonder Studios. “With regard to Dutch animation, our most interesting titles are commissioned films,” Ripmeester states. For example, Philips commissioned huge amounts of work from Geesink – and much of this is in the collection. Meanwhile, in 2010, the Film Fund has started a new project called “Ultra Short” in collabo ration with Pathé cinemas. The aim behind this is to get short animation in front of the mass audience. (The shorts supported through the scheme are shown in many cinemas throughout the Netherlands, as supports to major international releases.) Leading figures in the Dutch animation community have been lobbying for several years for public funders and broadcasters to treat animation as seriously as they do features or documentary.
What was becoming self-evident was “that if you want to do something on a larger scale, you have to bring in Europe,” as Ross puts it. To be able to bear the cost of feature films, animators will often need to work with international coproduction partners.
Triple Trouble is a Dutch-Belgian coproduction. il Luster’s Flemish partners are Viviane Vanfleteren’s Vivi Film (whose credits include the Oscar-nominated Secrets Of Kells and Triplets Of Belleville). The €1.4 million movie should be in pre-production by the end of the year.
One film bound to have considerable international appeal is €3.5 million Miffy The Movie, currently being developed by Hilversum-based Telescreen. The stop-motion film is based on the best-selling children’s book series of the 1950s by Dutch author and illustrator Dick Bruna about the adventures of a rabbit called Miffy. Warner Bros will be releasing it in Benelux in 2012 and the film, aimed at younger kids, has already secured pre-sales throughout the world. It is on course to be the first animated feature from the Netherlands released in over two decades.
One nagging concern for producers of animated fare is the reluctance of Dutch broadcasters to support them. “The public broadcasters have no money at the moment to invest in featurelength animation or series,” Crone notes. “It’s terrible because we need their partici pation. Without it, it is hardly possible to get coproducers in Europe.”
Among the other features currently being hatched are Jonathan The Discoverer (coproduced by Spunky Productions and Spaghetti Films) and Triple Trouble (Trippel Trappel), a kids’ Santa Claus movie from il Luster Productions. Jonathan the Discoverer is a coming of age film about a young boy terrified of everything. In summertime, instead of going outside, he goes up on the roof. There, he meets a nutcase called Jan Willem, a “retired explorer” who tells stories of a fantastic land that he discovered far away. The director is Onno de Jong, who worked for many years in Hollywood. Intriguingly, the producers hope to finance the film entirely in the Netherlands through public funds and the Dutch Supplementary fund. This is one of a number of animated features that Spunky is developing in order to ensure continuity of production. “It (Jonathan) is already a success in that the (Dutch) Film Fund has financed the writing of a script for an animated feature and have financed the next phase, the animatic, too,” Ross suggests of the sea change currently underway in the sector.
Is there a danger that the wheel will turn full circle and that the Dutch animators who’ve been winning awards for so long will now be neglected? That won’t be the case, insists Snijders. He argues that a blossoming of commercial Dutch long form animation will increase opportunities for artistic filmmakers rather than reduce them. “Everyone realizes it’s the far sides of the spectrum,” Snijders stresses. “On the one hand, you have autonomous, independent filmmakers. On the other hand, you have people who just make animated crap for candy. Everybody realizes that you need both!”
When they attend international events like Cartoon Forum or Cartoon Movie, Dutch producers are – as one filmmaker puts it – “really caught with your pants down. Often, you are there with a beautiful project and everybody is there. They (the non-Dutch) have at least their local network behind them. That doesn’t even work in the Netherlands.”
“When you do something on a larger scale, you get more continuity for your business” There is camaraderie between the different Dutch producers as they race to get their animated features on to the screen. “In theory, there is always discomfort when you are all aiming for the same money and the same audience but our industry is too small, “ says Snijders. “We have to be good to each other.” It has been so long since the Dutch regularly made animated features that the new breed of producers can’t help but see themselves as pioneers. “We’re really inventing the wheel here,” Snijders suggests. “We have to make sure that anything we do doesn’t screw itself up for us later on.”
Jonathan the Discoverer Director: Onno de Jong Screenplay: Daan Remmerts de Vries Production: Spaghetti Rechten (Imko Nieuwenhuijs) & Spunky Productions (Lee M. Ross) 10
A New Job Top casting director Job Gosschalk makes his directorial feature debut with the “slice of life” tragiccomedy Plenty of Time, Melanie Goodfellow spoke to the filmmaker. Job Gosschalk’s romantic tragic-comedy Plenty of Time revolves around the relationship between the impetuous, chaotic Molly and her sensible, older, gay brother Maarten, who brought her up after their parents died when she was a child. When Molly moves out of the family home to live with her actor boyfriend, Maarten suffers a bout of empty nest syndrome. So Maarten adopts a dog and, following a chance meeting with Arthur, a young man from the provinces in denial about his homosexuality, falls in love. Set against the backdrop of the Dutch city of The Hague, Plenty of Time follows Molly and Maarten and a plethora of other characters that revolve around them - friends, lovers and others - as they muddle through life. Events take a tragic turn when Molly is diagnosed with breast cancer – a storyline inspired by the death from cancer of two of Gosschalk’s sisters.
them to like and sympathise with the characters in the film.” “I wanted to create family, not a conventional family, but a different one, like that in The Kids Are Alright, for example,” he continues. “In movies, where the audience get to know your family, it’s easier to tackle difficult issues like breast cancer.”
Maastricht theatre school, with a self-deprecating laugh. After a brief stint as an assistant director, Gosschalk went to work for Kemna Casting, eventually taking over the company. Over the years, he has cast hundreds of films including the Dutch hits Black Book, Antonia’s Line and Zus & Zo, as well as smaller parts on international productions such as Lars von Triers’ Dogville and Manderlay.
Gosschalk acknowledges that although not taboo, the portrayal of gay relationships in main stream features remains relatively rare.
Gosschalk sees his move into producing and now directing as a natural progression. “I was going to the theatre four or five times a week, reading scripts and watching plays and the urge just grew inside me. I wanted to start telling stories myself rather than only helping directors find actors,” he says.
“It’s true but I just wanted to make a movie about people and different relationships, like brothers and sisters, male lovers, old friends – for me, regular relationships. I know that not all the world is as emancipated as here, but being gay is not really an issue in Holland. It’s quite common to see gay relationships
in television series, if not films.” Plenty of Time might be billed as Gosschalk’s directorial debut, but in fact the 43-year-old has been in the film business for more than 20 years as one of the Netherlands top casting directors.
“I love films like Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, and even Terms of Endearment from years earlier,” says Gosschalk. “I love the way they draw the audience in and get
“I started out trying to be an actor like most casting directors, but they threw me out of acting school after one year due to lack of talent,” says Gosschalk, who attended the respected
“I didn’t tell him it was by me because I have done casting for about 20 years and I didn’t want someone to be polite,” says Gosschalk. “Once Paul was definitely on board I started to write the role to fit him, over ten drafts.” “I think he liked the role because there’s some depth, there’s something going on with the character. He’s happy, unhappy, in love, out of love, terrified,” says Gosschalk. “Paul shows a, softer, more loveable side – I think Dutch audiences will be surprised.”
He handed the day-to-day running of Kemna to his nephew Janusz and set about producing Joram Lürsen’s Love is All, a sort of Dutch Love Actually, which was a huge hit in the Netherlands.
“Once Paul de Leeuw was definitely on board I started to write the role to fit him, over ten drafts”
In spite of the serious issues within the backdrop, Plenty of Time is an endearing, enter taining snapshot of modern Dutch life, in the vein of British cinema hits such as Love Actually or Notting Hill. The similarity is not by chance.
Paul de Leeuw, not telling him that he was the scriptwriter. De Leeuw, who is known in the Netherlands for his flamboyant onstage antics and openly gay lifestyle, leapt at the chance to play the lead role of Maarten.
Subsequent productions included the television series The Sheep with Five Legs, a remake of a popular 1960s programme, and Blood Relatives, a drama series about a wealthy family. “While producing and directing I started writing the script. I knew if I didn’t start getting something down I would never do it. After about 80 pages or so I showed it to a good friend of mine, Jean van de Velde, who said you’ve got to make this,” recalls Gosschalk, referring to the writer and director of the Cannes 2009 Un Certain Regard entry The Silent Army. Gosschalk also sent a first draft to popular television host Dutch
Plenty of Time (Alle Tijd) Director: Job Gosschalk Script: Job Gosschalk Production: NL Film
Code Breakers Urszula Antoniak is back with her eagerly-anticipated second film, Code Blue. Nick Cunningham talks to her and her producer, IDTV Film’s Frans van Gestel
Dutch call ‘involuntary euthanasia’, which is a shady area, an excuse for someone to perform euthanasia without the standard procedure and bureaucracy.
“There are three phases in the movie-making process,” points out second-time helmer Urszula Antoniak, whose Code Blue is selected for Directors Fortnight at Cannes 2011. “In the first one you write, in the second one you shoot and in the third one you edit. But what is incredible is that each time you discover again what your movie is about.”
“The film is about life and death, and the place in-between which I call Planet Hospital, the purgatory where people go on transit to their death,” she underlines.
This was certainly her experience on Code Blue, but also on Nothing Personal (2009), Antoniak’s much lauded multi award-winning debut which revealed her to be one of the most unique and idiosyncratic talents working within contemporary European cinema. “As a first-time filmmaker you’re kind of scared, afraid to engage on the journey,” she continues. “But you have to allow yourself to take risks and to both discover and rediscover your material. With Code Blue, my second film, I was kind of mentally prepared, knowing that making a movie is taking a journey. I was less scared, more courageous.” Budgeted at €1.4 million, the film is produced by Frans van Gestel of Dutch production house IDTV Film, and tells the story of a nurse who allows herself a greater than usual degree of emotional engagement with her terminally ill patients. “In the Western world nurses are like white-uniformed, efficient distributors of help, but this woman is much much more,” Antoniak stresses. “She goes to extreme lengths to help her patients go over to the other side and commit the act that the
production that enables her to build her story through the development of themes. “It has to do with her level of thinking,” van Gestel comments. “She thinks more in terms of essays and themes. She takes a theme such as loneliness or intimacy or seduction and her preparation and research is rigorous and deep in a way that I really like. Her approach is intellectual but she chooses to tell the story simply. And her tone is very strong and very recognisable.”
This time around Antoniak was aware that people on and off set had a lot more confidence in her. A successful debut, she points out, can be a very effective calling card. “What’s more, it’s much easier to convince actors that the film is really going to be as you tell them,” she adds. “And to convince the financiers. But in general people take you more seriously as you have been there. If you are really honest and say, ‘I have made one film but now I want to go a little further – I can’t promise it will be exactly as I say, but I want to go higher than Nothing Personal’. If people hear
The appreciation is very much mutual. “Frans has everything a producer needs to have: experience, courage and an acquired taste,” explains Antoniak of Van Gestel. “To shape an author-driven and personal film like Code Blue together with him was a thrill and adventure. I hope I can make more movies with him because he can actually make my films much better, not only productionwise but also content-wise.”
Van Gestel’s slate for 2011 is filling up very nicely. He is currently shooting The Heineken Kidnap, a commercial thriller with Rutger Hauer, and is working on the follow-up to Joram Lürsen’s All is Love - “the biggest-grossing Dutch film of the past 20 years,” he points out. He also says that it is very likely that he will co-produce Post Tenebras Lux, the latest project of Mexican auteur Carlos Reygadas. As significantly, Van Gestel confirms that he is looking to shoot Antoniak’s next film, Nude Area, during Spring 2012. “It is about seduction as a process and about seduction as a work of art,” comments Antoniak. “And it is also about the perfect crime.” Having pitched her high-concept kids’ project Life According to Nino, about how two young siblings deal with grief, at the 2010 Netherlands Production Platform, Antoniak is happy now just to take a writing credit on it. “I decided to give Nino to another director who I hope will make a Dutch ET,” she concludes.
For Van Gestel, the process of producing Code Blue was relatively stress-free. Having acted as a minority co-production partner on the 2009 Danish Berlin competition film The Storm (Hans-Christian Schmidt) he cashed in his reciprocal chips with the Danish Film Institute and co-produced Code Blue with Zentropa. Bavaria International will sell the film, having per formed very ably on Nothing Personal. “It was a good coproduction, a strong partner, spending a lot of money in Copenhagen, getting Bavaria on board again, so we’re satisfied,” Van Gestel comments. “And it ends with the second film of Urszula Antoniak in Cannes.”
“As a first-time filmmaker you’re kind of scared, afraid to engage on the journey” this then they are interested.” Producer Van Gestel was looking for the opportunity to work with Antoniak ever since 1993 when he saw her graduation film Farewell, an existential thriller about a woman who discovers terrible secrets within the diary of her dead husband. What impressed him most was her profoundly academic approach in pre-
Photo: Yvonne Witte
Code Blue Director: Urszula Antoniak Script: Urszula Antoniak Production: IDTV Film Sales: Bavaria Film International
Urszula Antoniak and Frans van Gestel
Rosto in Annecy The animated musical The Monster of Nix, featuring the voices of Tom Waits and Terry Gilliam in lead roles, screens in the official selection of the Annecy Animated Film Festival in June. Melanie Goodfellow spoke to the director Rosto as he was putting his final touches to the film.
“A lot of the characters have existed in my mind for a long time and are to be found in the universe I have been building since the 1990s”
The Monster of Nix - a dark fairy tale that follows the adventures of a young boy called Willy after his village is destroyed by an all-devouring monster - is the latest work from avant-garde artist and filmmaker Rosto. Running into the forest in search of his grandmother, Willy meets a carnival of fantastical characters such as the petrified ranger, an evil black swallow called Virgil, strange, long-limbed, woody forest creatures called the Langemanne and a sweet-singing baby called Tomberry. Like all Rosto’s works, the 30-minute animation draws heavily on the characters and universe he first created for his online, graphic novel Mind My Gap (www.rostoad.com) that led to numerous spin-off short films. “A lot of the characters have existed in my mind for a long time and are to be found in the universe I have been building since the 1990s. I’ve never really told proper stories before. My previous work was more intuitive. I was working with dream structures rather than story structures,” explains Rosto. “However, the mythology of these characters was very real and very linear.” It was the interest of his son Max in this universe that prompted Rosto to put some of these
characters into a story and make The Monster of Nix.
sequences, which in turn led to modifications to the music.”
“He was particularly interested in the Langemanne stories,” recounts Rosto. “I thought I would experiment with a story – it was supposed to be a quickie in between projects. Little did I know that it would become my most ambitious project. Max was my target audience right from the very beginning. Whenever I had a rough version, I would show it to him. My rule was that when Max said it was cool, it was cool.”
The final soundtrack features the Dutch Metropole Orkest, American eyeball art rockers The Residents and French indie band The DØ. The development of the key characters of Virgil and the Ranger took their cue from singer Tom Waits and director Terry Gilliam who voiced their dialogue.
washed up TV presenter hiding away in a shabby, labyrinthine hotel, with the dead body of his on-camera side-kick. The film featured a performance by Rosto’s virtual band Thee Wreckers. “It will be dark and hardcore. I feel like I’ve got lot of dark energy I need to get rid of right now. I’ll put it into that project which will be called Lonely Bones,” says Rosto.
“It was very important to bring something of their soul and performance to the characters,” says Rosto. “Terry and I have been friends for quite some time. He has always appreciated my work, so it made sense to contact him. He happily agreed but actually hated it because I think the last time he did a voiceover was for his own animations in Monty Python. His voice was all over the place - which only helped the performance because that was the sort of vibe I was looking for.”
The resulting animation is a dense, multi-layered work seamlessly combining 2D and 3D animation with live action. Rosto worked with “a small army” of animators across Europe, based at his studios in Amsterdam as well as Brussels, Berlin, Paris and Prague.
“Tom Waits has always been a source of inspiration to me”
“Tom Waits, meanwhile, has always been a source of inspiration to me, especially his album, The Black Rider. I sent him my work and he was very enthusiastic about it. I originally wanted him to write the Virgil parts but this didn’t come off for various reasons. But he did agree to record Virgil’s voice and I think the result is amazing,” continues the filmmaker.
As in all his other works, Rosto started with the composition of the accompanying music. “Music is very important for me. There was a storyboard but it didn’t really speak to me until I had some demos of the music. I wrote it myself – not particularly through choice. I tried to work with other composers but somehow the gods didn’t want it that way,” he says.
This short in-between quickie film has, in the end, taken six years to complete. “For the last two years it has been all con suming – I have been up to my eyeballs in Nix,” says the director.
“Once I had both the storyboard and music in place I did a very basic animatic using basic Lego figures to puzzle out all the
Rosto’s next work will be a sequel to his short film No Place Like Home, which revolved around a
Monster of Nix Director: Rosto Script: Rosto Production: Studio Rosto A.D Sales: Autour de Minuit
Critical Maas In April Dick Maas was New York-bound. The Dutch filmmaker’s horror thriller Saint screened at Tribeca and was picked up for US release by XYZ Films. Geoffrey Macnab reports.
“The public awareness that the movie was coming has never been greater. You couldn’t wish for a better publicity campaign”
Saint arrived at April’s Tribeca Festival having already proved a minor box-office sensation last year in the Netherlands. It was also a success de scandale. No sooner had the Dutch posters gone up than Maas found himself embroiled in controversy. The film suggests that Saint Nicholas was, in fact, a bloodthirsty bishop who preferred killing children to giving them presents - an idea some Dutch observers took exception to. “Ever since we started this project, we got some flak,” the writer-director sighs. In both Holland and Belgium, he was accused of “making fun of a national figure” even before shooting began. Then, when the poster appeared, a fellow filmmaker launched a legal action to try to get the image of the sinister bishop with his crook removed. “The funny thing is that I was his coach at the film school,” Maas says of his unlikely antagonist. “He still says he is an admirer of mine but he was violently opposed to the poster! I am still friendly with him. I just think he has some strange ideas.” Yes, Maas reflects, all in all the controversy was “enormously” helpful for the film “It was all over the television and in the papers. The public awareness that the movie was coming has never been greater. You couldn’t wish for a better publicity campaign.” In the film, as in earlier movies, the writer-director turns familiar ideas on their head. “I thought,
well, what is our biggest figure that we have here,” Maas says of how he alighted on the idea of making St Nicolas the archvillain.
picked up by Vicente Canales’ new sales outfit Film Factory and distributors worldwide are poised to acquire it. In the meantime, Maas is already hard at work on his next project, Quiz. This is a “small, taut” thriller about a TV quiz show host whose wife and daughter are kidnapped. He has to answer a series of quiz show-style questions. If he gets them wrong, his wife and daughter will be killed. The movie is fully financed and currently casting. It has also received money from the Netherlands Film Fund (via the commercial commissioner Ate De Jong.)
Maas (born in 1951) is one of the few Dutch filmmakers of his generation who’ve consistently, and successfully, made genre fare. At a time when other directors were making solemn arthouse pictures aimed at international festivals, his preference was for making “movies with a strong story, where you can have strong emotions.” Growing up, Maas hated selfconscious French New Wave movies but was an admirer of films by Don Siegel and Alfred Hitchcock. Spielberg’s Jaws was also an inspiration – a film that, as he puts, “makes you jump out of your seat.” And’s that’s what he wants his work to do.
Growing up, Maas hated selfconscious French New Wave movies but was an admirer of films by Don Siegel and Alfred Hitchcock
Within Holland, he admired Paul Verhoeven. “He was one of the first attracted to more action kind of movies, like Soldier Of Orange…and he was always supportive of me from what I read in the newspapers.” Maas’ own rise up the feature film ladder began in earnest with his 1983 horror film, The Lift, “a Dutch film about a diabolical elevator” as the New York Times called it.
For three decades now, Maas has been turning out broad, mainstream fare like Killer Babes, The Flodder movies and Amsterdamned. He has worked with big international stars (for example, William Hurt and Jennifer Tilly on Silent Witness) and he has also enjoyed a parallel career directing pop promos for bands like Golden Earring. As ever, Maas has plenty of different projects currently on the boil. He has written between 10 and 20 unproduced scripts, some of which he is still shopping around. For example, he’d like to make an
“The Lift was the first genre movie ever made in Holland,” the director says. “I thought it would open up possibilities for other filmmakers because it was a huge success. It was sold worldwide.” Maas, who has his own company Parachute Pictures, produced Saint with Tom De Mol Produc tions. The film has now been
English-language remake of Killer Babes. Maas still relishes making movies, whatever the struggles he has faced in financing them. “I like working on the set. When I am busy, working with actors, that’s what I like…” he pauses and adds: “the in-between stuff, the setting up of a movie, that’s not very inspiring!”
Injection of Youth Dutch auteur David Verbeek’s new project Full Contact has been chosen for the sixth Cinéfondation Atelier, thereby renewing his relationship with the Cannes Film Festival. (Verbeek’s feature R U There screened in Un Certain Regard in 2010.) He talks to Geoffrey Macnab. David Verbeek recently had a complete retrospective of his work in Russia at the “Tigers In Moscow” Festival – quite an achievement for a filmmaker who is still only 30. In Russia there was plenty of material to show. He made his debut feature Beat (2004) in his second year at Film School on a budget of only €500. “I was just very excited about starting to make films, and I was always interested in themes and topics that would never fit into this extremely limited amount of time – five or 10 minutes,” he says of his decision to make Beat at full feature length. “We used some of the equipment we had at our disposal, got together some of our classmates who were also excited, got an actor interested – and we just did it!” Since Beat, Verbeek has racked up an impressive list of credits, among them Yu-Lan (2004), Shanghai Trance (2008), R U There (2010) and Club Zeus (2011). R U There was the story of a professional gamer, travelling the world to take part in tour naments, who is forced to break out of the virtual “bubble” and embrace real life. Full Contact has similar themes but its lead character is a pilot, not a gamer. Via satellite, he controls a “drone”, an unmanned aircraft that spies on and attacks terrorist
suspects thousands of miles away in Pakistan.
“It’s important for a filmmaker to stay busy and not always to wait for three years before the money is gathered,” he declares. That’s why he is always ready to take on smaller projects - and why, while waiting for the finance to come together for R U There, he embarked on another project, the “guerrilla” feature Club Zeus. The film, rapidly shot on a smallish budget, was set in a club in Shanghai where “host boys” cater to the whims of wealthy women. Now, while waiting for Full Contact to come together, he has been taking on some other assignments - among them a commercial for a washing “brand.” (“All this arthouse stuff might be very nice but it doesn’t feed me!”)
“This film goes much further (than R U There) because it is much more violent and much more extreme. It’s about the real act of murder,” Verbeek reflects. “He (the pilot) kills people without being in the same country or the same time zone.” He adds that Full Contact is “a road movie of the subconscious… more surrealistic and David Lynchian than my previous work.” No, this isn’t intended as an overtly political film. Verbeek’s desire was to explore “the sense of remoteness” and the struggle to “understand what is real.” However, he carefully followed stories in the news about the increasing prominence of drones in western-fought wars. He was fascinated by the idea of fighting wars by remote control.
Verbeek points out that he is far from the first filmmaker to explore the sense of “remoteness and alienation” in modern life
Verbeek points out that he is far from being the first filmmaker to explore the sense of “remoteness and alienation” in modern life. Forty years ago, he suggests, filmmakers like Antonioni were already probing away at the questions that now seem so pressing to the new “digital generation.”
change is faster than they can keep up with?” Even before he went to Asia, Verbeek was fascinated by questions of identity and freedom in a rapidly changing world where technology twists perceptions of reality. No, Verbeek suggests, there is no contradiction between being a proudly Dutch filmmaker and wanting to work abroad. “It is very Dutch to be very inter national,” he says. “I think the Dutch have always been a small country of traders and explorers. I like to see it in that tradition.” Full Contact is unlikely to have obvious Dutch elements. It will be shot in English and French. However, the director and much of the crew will be Dutch. In the future, the director adds, he’d like to work within home borders.
Verbeek describes Taiwan as “a second home” and has worked consistently in Asia since making Yu-Lan in China in 2004.
Full Contact is again being made through IDTV. The aim is to finance the film primarily through The Dutch Film Fund and Dutch broadcasters while also looking for an international coproduction partner.
“It is not my interest in the exoticism of that culture but the fact that the place just changed five times as fast as we (in Europe) have changed since the Second World War,” Verbeek says, when explaining what took him east. “The pace of that change is so extremely quick that I was interested in that – what happens to people when the pace of
Speaking via Skype from Taiwan, where he is writing a new draft of the screenplay of Full Contact, the prolific young director acknowledges that his philosophy is always to keep on working.
“Somewhere in the coming years, I will probably make a film in Dutch, that is about Holland.”
R U There Director: David Verbeek Script: Rogier de Blok Production: IDTV Film Sales: Films Boutique (Ger)
Dutch Harvest At Cannes 2011: Directors’ Fortnight
Cannes Market 2011 Animation
Bringing Up Bobby
Plenty of Time
Monster of Nix
Director: Urszula Antoniak Script: Urszula Antoniak Production: IDTV Film (NL) in co-production with Family Affair Films (NL), Zentropa (DK) Sales: Bavaria Film International The increasingly desperate efforts of a middle-aged nurse to make contact with other people finally push her to the extreme... Release: September 2011 See pages 14-15 for an interview with director Urszula Antoniak and producer Frans van Gestel
Director: Famke Janssen Script: Famke Janssen Production: Dutch Tilt Film (US), Rinkel Film (NL), Fu Works (NL) Olive is an Eastern European woman who charmingly cheats her way through life. In an attempt to start anew she arrives in conservative Oklahoma with her son Bobby. Olive’s charm gets them far, until her past begins to catch up with her... Release: September 2011
(Alle Tijd) Director: Job Gosschalk Script: Job Gosschalk Production: NL Film A film about an unconventional theme: love. Because love is forever and always. Release: April 2011 See pages 12-13 for an interview with director Job Gosschalk
Director: Jim Taihuttu, Victor Ponten Script: Jim Taihuttu, Victor Ponten Production: Habbekrats A road movie about three Dutch-Moroccan friends who have to deliver an old taxi to Rabat in a short amount of time. Release: June 2011
Director: Diederik van Rooijen Script: Diederik van Rooijen, Marnie Blok Production: NL Film Hunted down through Buenos Aires by corrupt cops, a couple finally see what they share and are about to lose. Release: September 2011
Director: Rosto Script: Rosto Production: Studio Rosto AD Sales: Autour de Minuit An animated existentialist musical fairy tale which tells the story of young Willy who is trying to fight the destructive force of an all-devouring monster in the village of Nix. Release: tbc See pages 16-17 for an interview with director Rosto
The Other Side of Sleep
Selected Dutch Releases 2011
Me & Mr Jones
Goltzius & the Pelican Company
Lost in Space
Director: Margien Rogaar Script: Tijs van Marle Production: Pupkin Film After grandfather Bob becomes seriously ill, the Verbeek family cancels its holiday. Each family member is forced to deal with death in their own way.
Director: Paul Ruven Script: Marian Batavier, Paul Ruven Production: Talent United Film & TV Sales: Film Fan Holding Five years after the disappearance of high school girl Natalee Holloway on Aruba, an ambitious journalist tries to force a breakthrough in the case. Release: tbc
Director: Peter Greenaway Script: Peter Greenaway Production: Kasander Film (NL), FAME (UK), CDP (Fr), MP Film Productions (Cro) Sales: Bankside Films In 1590, the Dutchman Goltzius, illustrator of erotic printed books, persuades a German prince to pay for a new printing press by offering him six Old Testament erotic stories dramatised very candidly by his company of printers and actors. Release: tbc
Director: Frodo Kuipers Script: Frodo Kuipers Production: il Luster Productions What do you do when your spaceship crashes on a lonely planet and there is no mechanic in sight? Release: tbc
Director: Rebecca Daly Script: Rebecca Daly, Glenn Montgomery Production: Fastnet Films (Ire), Rinkel Film (NL) and KMH Film (Hung) Sales: Memento Films One winter morning Arlene wakes in the woodland to find herself lying beside the body of a murdered young woman. As she’s forced to question whether or not she’s responsible, she is drawn into the woman’s world and to those left behind: her younger sister and her teenage lover who is suspected of the murder. Release: September 2011
Director: Paula van der Oest Script: Greg Latter Production: IDTV Film (NL), Riba Film International (NL), Comet Film (DE), Spier Productions (SA) Sales: Bavaria Film International The riveting love and life-story of young South African poet Ingrid Jonker. Release: March 2011 See pages 26-27 for an interview with director Paula van der Oest
New Kids Go Nitro With Turbo behind them and Nitro on its way, Nick Cunningham talks to helmer Steffen Haars and Eyeworks producer Hans de Weers They may divide opinion with their decidedly up-pc approach to women and gays, and their puerile and boozy antics may continue to offend critics, but there is no denying that the eponymous layabouts of New Kids Turbo have arrived. The film, produced by the local office of international production juggernaut Eyeworks, pulled in 1.15 million punters in the Netherlands in 2011, grossing €8.8 million in the process. And now co-directors Steffen Haars and Flip van der Kuil are gearing up for a sequel, New Kids Nitro, which will shoot in July ahead of a pre-Christmas 2011 release. In Turbo, the pair’s directorial debut, five jobless and mulleted friends from the Dutch provincial town of Maaskantje, decide that their response to the credit crunch will be to refuse to pay for anything. When it becomes obvious that the local consta bulary can do little to combat this lawlessness, people all over Holland see the advantages of such an approach to personal finance, and anarchy breaks out. The New Kids started life on the cable show Comedy Central, where they grew a significant fanbase both in the Netherlands and beyond. So when Haars and Van der Kuil expressed a desire to put their comic creations up on the silver screen, Eyeworks was quick to respond. “When we first talked to Eyeworks the first thing we told them was that we’ll only do it if we can do exactly what we want,” Haars points out. “But this was something that Eyeworks believed in too. We do it for the
comedy - that’s all we think about when we are writing.”
really wanted to see the movie. And two weeks before the release a lot of cinemas had received a lot of reservations for tickets, which is a unique indication.”
Eyeworks’ Hans de Weers concurs. “I really wanted to see the script and I could feel that here was a story that was strong and comprehensive enough to include all their humour, fun and ideas,” he stresses. “They have just the right sense of humour and know exactly how authentic their jokes should be. They are a brand.”
The film opened in Germany late April and went straight to the top of the box-office chart, pulling in more than 200,000 admissions over the first weekend. Key to the characters’ appeal in Germany is the way that they are dubbed into low-grade German, using a regional Dutch accent. “It sounds really crappy but it works, it’s really cool,” stresses Haars.
When Haars and Van der Kuil expressed a desire to put their comic creations up on the silver screen, Eyeworks was quick to respond
De Weers reveals that the film will be represented by Parisbased sales entity Elle Driver. “I think it will mainly sell to European territories and some Asian territories like Korea and Japan, perhaps Thailand, as they like this kind of humour,” he comments. “Selling to Englishspeaking territories is always difficult because of the language. However the Fantastic Festival in Austin saw it and loved it and promised a great presentation there in September. They think it may have the potential for a wider US release.”
So the film was made, and it proved immediately satisfying to a wide cross-section of Dutch movie-goers. “It’s sort of strange to see that the whole country likes it across all different ages and types of people,” expresses Haars. “The type of people we have in the movie - they like it, but also intellectuals, and students.”
So what of the follow-up, New Kids Nitro? Haars points out that the film will be about the New Kids and illegal street racing. “Which just about says it all,” he adds. The budget will be hiked to €2.5 million (from Turbo’s €1.4 million) in order to finance more action sequences, a longer editing period and cgi special effects. Post-production commenced April 2011 and cameras will roll in July. “When we were shooting New Kids Turbo we were always having plans for a sequel, so let’s see how it goes,” Haars comments. “Right now we’re just living for the moment.”
All of which came as no surprise to De Weers who could see signs of the film’s potential box-office weeks prior to release. “I was pretty sure that it would do 500-600,000 admissions, but then two or three weeks before the release I thought that this could do one million,” De Weers explains. “There were very positive reactions to the trailer and I felt that lots of youngsters
“Two or three weeks before the release I thought that this could do one million admissions”
New Kids Turbo/Nitro Directors: Steffen Haars and Flip van der Kuil Script: Steffen Haars and Flip van der Kuil Production: Eyeworks
Poetry in Motion. Paula van der Oest’s biographical feature Black Butterflies captures the tragic life of anti-Apartheid poet Ingrid Jonker, a legend in her native South Africa who is less well known internatio nally. Melanie Goodfellow spoke to the director about making the film and working with top Dutch actress Carice van Houten in the lead role. Paula van der Oest is nervous. She has just received confirmation that her latest feature Black Butterflies, about South African poetess Ingrid Jonker, will premiere in South Africa at the Durban Film Festival this July. “It’s the country’s biggest film festival. It’s good news but also kind of scary because Ingrid Jonker is a true icon over there. And here I come, a Dutch filmmaker making an Englishlanguage film about a South African legend. I’m expecting a bit of turbulence but I think I’ve succeeded in capturing her the way she was,” explains Van der Oest, who also attended the Tribeca Film Festival in New York with the film at the end of April where Van Houten picked up the best actress gong. The late Jonker was elevated to iconic status in South Africa when President Nelson Mandela recited her 1963 poem The Child was Shot Dead by Soldiers in Nyanga in his inaugural address to the country’s first democratic parliament on May 24, 1994. Van der Oest, whose previous works include the Oscarnominated Zus & Zo and Moonlight, first came across the poet, sometimes described as a South African Sylvia Plath, nearly a decade later when her friend Saskia van Schaik made a documentary about her life in 2003.
“She introduced me to Jonker’s poetry. I was affected by her [Van Schaik’s] enthusiasm and her search for Ingrid Jonker. Her fascination stemmed from the fact that Mandela had recited her poetry. She wanted to find out who the woman was,” says van der Oest.
outside Cape Town where she spent her childhood. “What was remarkable was that everyone I spoke to loved her even though she was difficult, hard to deal with or have a relationship with. Everyone wanted to take care of her. They said she was an enormous talent but very troubled and very unhappy,” Van der Oest comments.
Black Butterflies spans a six-year period leading up to Jonker’s suicide by drowning in 1965, focusing on her romantic involvement with writer Jack Cope as well as her destructive relationship with her father Abraham Jonker, who was unable to show his daughter affection.
Left to run wild on the local beaches as a child, Jonker had a deep appreciation of the sea and nature which she channelled into the imagery and language of her poetry. Van der Oest was keen to capture this in the film.
agreeable parts of herself. She searches for a connection with the character so she can play it like it is part of herself,” the director continues. The film, which was released in the Netherlands in April, has received a warm response at home. “I’ve been doing a lot of Q&As around the country and it’s so good to see that people are really touched by the film. I think it’s a combination of the subject, the actress and the South African landscape that makes it work,” Van der Oest concludes.
“The sea plays an important part in her work because when she was young she would stroll along the beach. It was an immense pleasure to go into her poems. Along with the director of photography, we picked the poems apart, looking for elements of the poems we could translate into images. It was a very organic way of finding ideas for the cinematography” she says.
Black Butterflies spans a six-year period leading up to Jonker’s suicide by drowning in 1965
Shooting of the film finally took place from March to April 2010 with leading Dutch actress Carice van Houten playing Jonker. Playing opposite Liam Cunning ham as Cope and Rutger Hauer as her father, this is one of Van Houten’s most important English-language roles to date. “She is a very talented, very vulnerable and interesting actress. She is one of the few actresses who is not just playing the surface. She doesn’t take the easy option,” stresses Van der Oest.
South African scriptwriter Greg Latter spent months at the library of Rhodes University in Grahams town researching Cope’s archived correspondence and diaries to build up a picture of the writer’s relationship with Jonker. “Greg initially wanted to focus on the love story between Cope and Jonker but as the film developed it expanded to explore her difficult relationship with her father,” says van der Oest. The filmmaker spent two and a half weeks in South Africa in 2008 tracking down Jonker’s friends and acquaintances as well as visiting key locations in the poet’s life, such as Gordon’s Bay just
“The sea plays an important part in her work because when she was young she [Jonker] would stroll along the beach”
“In the case of Ingrid Jonker -who was a very difficult woman, who drove people crazy, because she was too so demanding -Carice had to look into the less
Black Butterflies Director: Paula van der Oest Script: Greg Latter Production: IDTV Film Sales: Bavaria Film International 26
Paula van der Oest
Dutch Industry News
Short Cuts Colophon SEE NL is published four times per year by EYE Film Institute Netherlands and The Netherlands Film Fund and is distributed to international film professionals. Editors in chief: Claudia Landsberger (EYE), Jonathan Mees (Netherlands Film Fund) Executive editor: Nick Cunningham Contributors: Geoffrey Macnab, Melanie Goodfellow, Frédéric Boyer Concept & Design: Lava.nl, Amsterdam Layout: def., Amsterdam Printing: Roto Smeets Grafiservices Printed on FSC paper Circulation: 3300 copies © All rights reserved: The Netherlands Film Fund and EYE Film Institute Netherlands 2011
April 2011 saw the muchanticipated launch of the Ximon pay-per-view platform that aims eventually to offer Dutch and international audiences the majority of films and tv productions made in the Netherlands since the invention of the medium. Ximon is funded to the tune of €2.5 million by the Ministry of Culture, Education and Science (€1.5 million) and the Eye Film Institute, the Netherlands institute for Sound and Vision and the Dutch Producers’ Association, with the support of the Netherlands Film Fund. Its launch meets a parliamentary requirement that the newlydigitised national archive (a process that cost €120 million) should be made available to the general public. With prices running at between 99 cents and €4.99 per stream, the rights holder sees a 65% return on the transaction. Speaking after its launch, Ximon md marc Juergens commented: “People like the catalogue which is fairly substantial with more than 500 titles and 700 hours. We’ll extend that to 1500 hours in 12 months time. We put the ship in the water and it didn’t sink.”
New EYE website
foreign release boost
The EYE Film Institute has revamped its website, creating an information one-stop-shop that folds in the previously independent websites of the film museum, the film bank and the NIF Film Education department. The Holland Film site continues to remain a separate entity, although it can be accessed easily from the new EYE site using the EYE International button.
Just prior to Cannes 2011 the Netherlands Film Fund offered clarification about the level of funding available for Dutch films that gain an international release or selection at a major film festival. Dutch features with a production budget up to €2 million or docs with a budget up to €600,000 can apply for a maximum of totally €20,000 distribution and dubbing support.
“It is a huge improvement,” commented EYE web developer Annelies Termeer. “But it is still a work in progress, and there will be many changes integrated into it in the future. It depends upon your point of entry but you can find what ever information you need whether you are a Dutch professional, an international professional or a member of the general public. It’s accessible and bi-lingual and for the professional it integrates features and Dutch news from Screen International, Variety and filmmaker.com.”
For the international theatrical release of Dutch features/docs the Film Fund can pay 40%, up to €10,000 per production within up to two territories. For dubbing costs the Fund can pay up to 50% of the total costs, up to €20,000 per production. Dubbing of Dutch youth films will be given priority treatment. Support is given as a conditional loan from the Fund to a foreign distributor or sales agent. Fund director Doreen Boonekamp commented, “establishing an annual budget for the export of Dutch film will give an extra impulse to the international appeal of the Dutch film industry.”
See www.eyefilm.nl/en/ eye-international
See www.filmfonds.nl/ internationale_promotie_en_ distributie_nederlandse_film
new hfm chief
“This year’s Holland Film Meeting (HFM) will be my first one and I am very much looking forward to welcoming frequent guests as well as newcomers,” comments incoming HFM chief Signe Zeilich-Jensen. Every year in September the Holland Film Meeting, the international heartbeat of the Netherlands Film Festival, seeks to stimulate activity between professionals from the European audiovisual sectors and their Dutch counterparts, especially within the field of co-production. In 2011 the Meeting will focus on the Scan dinavian industries, and will be produced with the help of New Nordic Films, the annual Scan dinavian co-production market in Haugesund, Norway. The deadline for the submission of projects for the 2011 Netherlands Production Platform (NPP) co-production forum will be June 15. The NPP is a core element within the Holland Film Meeting. “This is an interesting time within European history, where global ization is a trend but where an interest in authenticism, roots and traditions is also growing. I am interested in how this will influence the kind of films that are being made in Europe in the future,” she said.
a Happy Crowd
Later this year the seven Dutch cultural funds, which include the Netherlands Film Fund, will launch a crowd-funding website to boost the finance of Dutch productions. As yet unnamed, the initiative will focus on small and medium projects from the art, culture and creative industries. Professionals and amateurs will be able access the site to present their own project to the “crowd” in order to bolster production coffers. The site will be accessible by private funds too, as they decide how best to apportion their monies. In the meantime, when Roel van de Weijer was looking for production funding for his own shorts he turned to his potential future audience and created CineCrowd. He is now in the process of
Rinkel in Cannes
financing a slew of other projects as well.
Reinier Selen of Rinkel Film attends Cannes 2011 as minority co-producer on two films receiving their world premieres there; Rebecca Daly’s The Other Side of Sleep which screens in Directors’ Fortnight, and Bringing Up Bobby, directed by Dutch actress and muse Famke Janssen, which screens in the Cannes market.
Launched earlier this year, the original plan for CineCrowd was to fund three pics, but by the end of 2011 it is likely that six films will be fully funded and that the initiative will have expanded into three other EU countries, the UK, France and Belgium. In the two months to mid-April 2011, Van de Weijer and his team had raised over €30,000 in funding.
The main producer on The Other Side of Sleep is Fastnet Films (Ireland) with whom Rinkel collaborated on Urszula Antoniak’s multi award-winning Nothing Personal (2009). KMH Film (Hungary) completes the co-pro credits.
“CineCrowd offers something both filmmakers and film fans have been looking for for a long time,” Van de Weijer comments. “In the end crowd-funding won’t be the sole answer to get movies funded, however it will definitely become one of the cornerstones for the successful financing of any movie.”
Bringing Up Bobby is produced by the US production entity Dutch Tilt Film. Rinkel shares co-production duties with Amsterdam-based Fu Works. “Both are great films, both are completely different and both have great scripts,” commented Selen before Cannes. “In terms both of our relationship with these producers and our track record it’s very important that we, as Dutch producers, get attached to these kinds of English-language films that have a much wider appeal and a greater chance on the international marketplace.”
Professionals and amateurs will be able access the site to present their own project to the “crowd” in order to bolster production coffers
Contact Sandra den Hamer CEO EYE Film Institute Netherlands E firstname.lastname@example.org Claudia Landsberger Head of EYE international EYE Film Institute Netherlands E email@example.com Doreen Boonekamp CEO Netherlands Film Fund E firstname.lastname@example.org Dorien van de Pas Head of Feature Film Netherlands Film Fund E D.van.de.Pas@filmfonds.nl Ger Bouma Head of Intl. Co-productions Netherlands Film Fund E email@example.com Jonathan Mees Head of Communications Netherlands Film Fund E firstname.lastname@example.org Netherlands Film Fund Jan Luykenstraat 2 1071 CM Amsterdam The Netherlands T +31 20 570 7676 W www.filmfonds.nl EYE Film Institute Netherlands PO BOX 74782 1070 BT Amsterdam The Netherlands T +31 20 589 1400 W www.eyefilm.nl
Producer on the Move Michael John Fedun is the Netherlands’ ‘Producer on the Move’ at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Melanie Goodfellow speaks to him and explores the history of this European Film Promotion initiative, now in its 12th year. Amsterdam-based producer Michael John Fedun is partner CEO of the multi-platform cross-media production house Corrino Media Group that he founded more than a decade ago with partners Atilla Meijs and Joyce van Diepen. “We’ve been through thick and thin together,” says Fedun. “We built the company from the ground up – with blood, sweat and tears.” Fedun’s inclusion in the European Film Promotion’s annual “Producers on the Move” initiative - aimed at highlighting up and coming European producers through a series of networking events on the Croisette - comes at a timely moment for the Montreal-born Dutchman, and for Corrino. Over the past two years, Corrino’s feature film activities have taken off, firstly with Hanro Smitsman’s Dutch-language teen murder mystery Dusk and then the English-language The Devil’s Double, starring Dominic Cooper and Ludivine Sagnier, and directed by Lee Tamahori (Once Were Warriors). The film is based on the life of Uday Saddam Hussein’s body double. The company also has a slate of projects in development. Projects on the boil include Smitsman’s first English-language feature The Lost Son, about a British soldier in Afghanistan who is kidnapped by tribesmen,
first-time feature director Josephine Mackerras’ Beautiful Child’, a coming-of-age tale set in London, and an adventure film entitled Jack Storm. Fedun is also associate producer of Shot, written and to be directed by Menno Meyjes about the life of famed photographer Robert Capa. “Our slate has really kicked into a higher gear over this past year,” comments Fedun.
Fedun follows in a long-line of now established Netherlands producers to have made it to the Croisette in the early stages of their producing careers, thanks to the European Film Promotion initiative. Previous Dutch participants comprise: Reinier Selen of Rinkel Film, Petra Goedings of Phanta Vision International, Leontine Petit of Lemming Film, Stienette Bosklopper of Circe Films, Jeroen Beker of Motel Films, Hanneke Niens of IdtV Film BV, Jan van der Zanden of Waterland Film & TV, San Fu Maltha of Fu Works and Els Vandevorst of Isabella Films.
Corrino Media’s ability to finance development and produce features revolves around the company’s well-honed, multidisciplinary approach. “When we set up the company ten years ago, our aim was to make feature films but we quickly realized that if we wanted to do that as an independent in the European Union, or indeed anywhere, we needed to create another form of cash flow to give us some freedom to develop anything we wanted,” explains Fedun.
The Hamburg-based European Film Promotion (EFP) launched the initiative in Cannes in 2000 in a bid to promote new European producers as well as help them find their way around the festival and market.
“We built the company from the ground up – with blood, sweat and tears”
To that end, Corrino branched into a plethora of audiovisual production activities, ranging from production design to shooting commercial content, to providing media services for live events to in-house post production, morphing into a cross-media company with some 24 permanent staff.
comments EFP vice president Claudia Landsberger, referring to the Marché’s annual coproduction meeting. “For a young producer, Cannes could be a bit of a zoo.” “What we wanted to do was, on the one hand, to give new producers and their projects exposure and on the other to foster networking opportunities between the participants,” continues Landsberger, who helped create the initiative. Since then, 218 producers have hit the Croisette as Producers on the Move, and the annual meeting has fostered a number of working relationships as well as, most importantly, several European co-productions. An example of how fruitful Producers on the Move can be was when Rinkel’s Selen attended in 2008 and met Irish producer Macdara Kelleher of Fastnet Films who ended up coproducing Selen’s Nothing Personal in 2009. Selen joined forces with Kelleher again as a co-producer on Rebecca Daly’s The Other Side of Sleep, screening in 2011 Directors’ Fortnight. “This is one of the most satisfying elements of the event,” says Landsberger.
Under the criteria, each of the 32 European national film agencies belonging to EFP – including the EYE Film Institute Netherlands has the right to put forward a producer for the event. They must be under 45 years of age and working on their third or fourth feature.
“That machine now allows us to develop ideas and projects that wouldn’t make it to a fund but we find worth developing or investing in, or English-language content which isn’t really done on a culturally bound national level,” explains Fedun. “Seed money isn’t very easy to come by but we now have the freedom to purchase an option and commission a first draft if we want to.”
Since 2000, 218 producers have hit the Croisette as Producers on the Move
“We forget how different things were 12 years ago - the coproduction scene was not as developed, there was no Producers Network, for example,”
The Devil’s Double Director: Lee Tamahori Script: Michael Thomas Production: Corsan (B), Corrino Media Group and Staccato Films (both NL) Sales: Corsan World Sales 30
Michael John Fedun
Star Profile Carice van Houten Carice van Houten is the current doyenne of Dutch film acting talent. Respected in The Netherlands for her body of theatrical, film and television work, and internationally for her high-profile incursions into Hollywood, her work is charac terised by both a vagabond curiosity and an intense professionalism. After collecting Netherlands Film Festival Golden Calves for her roles in Martin Koolhoven’s Suzy Q (1999) and Vincent Bal’s Minoes (2001),
Van Houten reached international audiences in Paul Verhoeven’s Black Book (2006), a role which garnered for her a third Golden Calf. Her mesmeric performance in Black Book led to star roles in Valkyrie (2008), opposite Tom Cruise, and Repo Men (2010), alongside Jude Law and Forest Whitaker. Between these, she gave a powerful performance in Reinout Oerlemans’ A Woman Goes to the Doctor (US title: Stricken 2009) in which she played a woman diagnosed with
breast cancer. She received a Best Actress Rembrandt Award for her performance. In 2010 she acted in two further Dutch films, the comedy The Happy Housewife by Antoinette Beumer, in which van Houten played a socialite wife who is forced to swap canapés for nappies, and Paula van der Oest’s English-language film Black Butterflies, in which she plays the poet Ingrid Jonker (see pages 26-27). Van Houten won her fourth Golden Calf for The Happy Housewife and the best actress award at Tribeca 2011 for Black Butterflies.
Last summer she also played opposite Clive Owen in Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s horror/thriller Intruders. The film will be released internationally in October 2011. Van Houten continually underlines her approach to her craft, based on using her own personality to define a role. “I don’t have the feeling I am transforming, really,” she points out. “I don’t believe you can get into somebody’s character but more that somebody comes into you. You just use yourself. In everything I play, I feel like it is me. I just say different things at different times and look different.” Photo: Frans Jansen