the success of women in Dutch film Van Gestel on his Cannes
Hollandâ€™s filmmakers get animated in Annecy EYE Opener:
new building open for business The remake appeal of Dutch films
Issue #7 Â May 2012 Cannes Issue
A publication by the Netherlands Film Fund and EYE Film Institute Netherlands
Now also available as app! 1
View from the edge
Alissa Simon, Senior Programmer, Palm Springs International Film Festival
Page 3: Introduction
by EYE director Sandra den Hamer and the Netherlands Film Fund’s director Doreen Boonekamp
Page 4: In the Fog
Stills from Cannes competition selection In the Fog, co-produced with Dutch production company Lemming Film
Page 5: Post Tenebras Lux
Stills from the Cannes competition selection Post Tenebras Lux, co-produced by Topkapi Films
Pages 6-7: Women Out There
Dutch films need foreign investment and they need to be promoted back to global audiences. SeeNL talks to three women who know how to do international
Pages 8-9: Fog of War
Interview with Dutch co-pro enthusiast Leontine Petit about the Russian Cannes competition entry In the Fog
Pages 10-11: After the Darkness, Light
Prolific producer Frans van Gestel talks to SeeNL about Carlos Reygadas and co-producing the Mexican auteur’s Post Tenebras Lux, selected for Cannes competition
Pages 22-23: Behind the Scenes
Dutch women hold down many leading roles behind the camera. SeeNL reports
Pages 24-25: Femmes Festival
The IDFA, Netherlands Film Festival and Cinekid chiefs – all women – discuss the international reach of their events
Pages 26-27: Short Cuts News from the Dutch film scene
Pages 28-29: (First) Made in Holland
Alissa Simon, Senior Programmer, Palm Springs International Film Festival and Variety reviewer Dutch cinema represents a trusted brand at the Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) where we show most of the long list of films submitted for the Best Foreign Language Academy Award. After all, the Netherlands has chalked up wins for Fons Rademakers’ The Assault, Marleen Gorris’ Antonia’s Line and Mike van Diem’s Character, all of them PSIFF audience favorites. Naturally, we like to think that the rapturous PSIFF viewer response to Martin Koolhoven’s Winter in Wartime had some thing to do with it making the long list of foreign film Oscar nominees and getting picked up for American distribution. And certainly our crowd was rooting for this year’s submission, Maria Peters’ Sonny Boy, which was voted among the top ten “Best of the Fest” features. With titles such as Bride Flight and Twin Sisters (directed by Ben Sombogaart) and Zus and Zo (directed by Paula van der Oest) among the festival’s all-time favourites, it would seem that the Palm Springs audience favours glossy historical dramas and popular melodramas. Even so, we programmers try to broaden
When it comes to genre, the Dutch come into their own - and they know how to exploit their material to the max
Page 30: Ria Brava
Ria Jankie, the doyenne par excellence of film finance talks to SeeNL
Page 31: Holland to Cannes
Screening in Cannes. Dutch films at the world’s leading film market
Back Cover: Producer Profile The 2012 Dutch EFP Producer on the Move, Trent
Simone Galavazi (page 22- 23)
Pages 12-13: Dutch Master Oscar-winning Marleen Gorris discusses her ground-breaking body of work as well as her current and future projects
Pages 14-15: Three of the Best
Directors Will Koopman, Maria Peters and Mijke de Jong discuss the business of film, from a female perspective
Pages 16-17: The Write Stuff
Leading female screenwriters Tamara Bos, Helena van der Meulen and Mieke de Jong talk screenplays
Pages 18-19: Short Circuit
There’s a large crop of Dutch fare at Annecy, the world’s leading animation event. SeeNL assesses what is on offer
Pages 20-21: EYE Opener
The new EYE building is now open for business, and has the Queen’s stamp of approval
their perception of Dutch cinema by including grittier contem porary features and documen taries in our selection. This year, during the U.S. premiere of Lena, viewers became so involved that they were talking to the screen, telling the troubled teen heroine, “don’t do it” as she headed towards the bedroom of her boyfriend’s father. Likewise, the feature debut Time To Spare, about the life, loves and maladies of two Dutch siblings and directed by Job Gosschalk, also elicited a warm response. Offbeat thrillers always go over well, and we had great responses to Off Screen (directed by Peter Kuijpers) and Nothing Personal (directed by Urszula Antoniak). Ditto for exotica such as Sander Francken’s musical morality tales Bardsongs and Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth’s Altiplano. Of course, the Netherlands has a strong documentary tradition, and Heddy Honigmann is one of my favourite documentary makers working today. We showed a number of her films, including Forever and Crazy. In 2010, I was on the Dutch documentary jury at IDFA and was introduced to a number of new filmmakers whose work I now track. Another way we discover new Dutch voices is through the Palm Springs ShortFest each June. Last year, Cat and Mice (Kattenkwaad) directed by Nova Van Dijk won the Jury award for Best Live Action Short 15 minutes and under. Here’s hoping that Nova follows in the footsteps of 2012’s exciting new directors such as Sacha Polak and Boudewijn Koole and will have a feature for us soon.
We are lucky in the Netherlands. We have very talented directors. We have very talented producers. We have acting talent that will make you cry your hearts out, or make you laugh your socks off. We have great editors, the precisest of line producers and the most dedicated of policy makers. We know the business of finance, production and sales. Distribution. Promotion. Exhibition. You name it. We can do it. And we have the people who can do it as good as, if not better than, most. And to reflect local and global population patterns, more than half of the people who do these things as good as, if not better, than most - are women. In fact, in the Netherlands right now, it is women who are most prominent in the actual running of our industry, across all departments, sectors and disciplines. This special issue of SeeNL is a celebration of the women who have contributed so much to the success of Dutch film, from the directors whose films have moved thrilled and delighted us to the festival directors whose annual events have reshaped the business of independent film finance and distribution. From the women who so ably export and promote Dutch films around the world to the behind-thescenes creatives whose artistry contributes so much to what we see on the screen. A 32-page magazine does not supply sufficient space to profile all of those women whose contribution to Dutch film culture has been so significant (a size limitation which we very much regret), so we offer you this sample. And we look forward to many more years of nongender oriented collaboration and friendship with all of our colleagues and partners across the inter national film industry. Sandra den Hamer CEO EYE Film Institute Netherlands
Doreen Boonekamp CEO Netherlands Film Fund
Photo: Peter Dellenbag
Page 2: View from the Edge
Women in Film
Photo: Lukas Göbel
Post Tenebras Lux Carlos Reygadas is in Cannes competition with a film coproduced by Frans van Gestel of Topkapi Films.
“I can connect with Carlos' work. He’s a very free spirit.” See pages 10-11
In the Fog
Leontine Petit discusses co-producing Sergei Loznitsa's Cannes competition selection
“It is very strong visually but it’s also like a Dostoevsky story… there’s a very strong ethical element.” See pages 8-9 In the Fog Director: Sergei Loznitsa Production: ma.ja.de (GER), Lemming
Post Tenebras Lux Director: Carlos Reygadas Production: NoDreamsCinema (Mex),Mantarraya Producciones (Mex), Le Pacte (Fr), Topkapi Films (NL), ARTE (Ger/Fr), The Match Factory (Ger)
Film (NL), GP Cinema Company (RUS), Rija Films (LV), Belarus-film (BY) and ZDF (GER) in association with ARTE 4
Women Out There
“You really have to work hard in this industry… and a lot of women I know in this business don’t work for their own ego,” declares Dorien van de Pas, head of Feature Film at the Nether lands Film Fund and represen tative for the Netherlands at Eurimages, when asked why so many women hold top admini strative positions in the Dutch industry. “In Dutch institutions, the powerful people - a lot of those are women,” agrees Dominique van Ratingen, who runs the EU MEDIA Desk in the Netherlands. “I think the film industry is quite equal if you compare it to other industries.” Claudia Landsberger, who heads up EYE International (the body that promotes Dutch cinema abroad) expresses similar sentiments. “Already, from the very early start (of Dutch cinema), there were women directors. Then, we had a generation of women producers,” Landsberger notes. “When a young girl says she wants to be a director, nobody (in the Netherlands) will look at her as if she is crazy.” Van Ratingen took up her job at the MEDIA Desk a decade ago and since 2009 has been a member of the Commission Film at the Council for Culture, the legal adviser of the government. “What I like about the MEDIA Desk is the combination. There is
a lot of policy work. I am the intermediate between Brussels, the Ministry and the Dutch industry. You are involved on a project level but also at financing stage,” she says of her job.
successful in getting Dutch films into major international festivals (even if breaking into the Cannes competition has remained a struggle). “With my relationships, I think I can make people watch the movie. I cannot make them like the movie but at least I can make them watch it. That is already important because there are thousands of films that will never be watched.”
Landsberger (also the Dutch representative at European Film Promotion) makes sure that the leading international festivals know exactly which new Dutch films are coming up. She courts the international press. She is a matchmaker extraordinaire.
One key strategy is to lure festival programmers to Holland, so “they can see the colours, the lights, the people.” That way, the programmers can place the films and understand the culture from which they emerge.
“In the cultural world, women play a very big role.”
The financing for most of these films comes from the Nether lands Film Fund. Dorien van de Pas is in the hot seat there. In 2011 the Fund invested € 34 million in development and production of Dutch Animated films, experimental films, features and documentaries (including minority coproductions). 70% of her job at the Fund consists of evaluating appli cations for financing. “Rejecting a project is sometimes really tough,” she acknowledges. “But when I bring the bad news, I try to bring it as honestly and clearly as possible.”
“Every year, it is as if I have a new bunch of children who have to be pushed into the international world,” the EYE International boss says of the new Dutch filmmakers whose interests she represents. Landsberger’s contact book stretches to over 4000 names in the film world, among them festival directors, TV buyers, distributors and sales agents. These names are invaluable to directors and producers trying to establish themselves in the international market. After taking the reins at Holland Film (the predecessor of EYE International) in the mid 1990s, Landsberger persuaded the Ministry of Culture to support Oscar campaigns for Dutch movies. “I raised the money by knocking on the door of the Ministry and convincing them that this was really necessary.” The dividends were immediate, with both Mike Van Diem’s Character and Marleen Gorris’ Antonia’s Line winning Oscars. Landsberger has also been
from the Netherlands that apply to Eurimages has increased and Dutch producers have enjoyed a corresponding increase in European support. “It is inspiring to work within Eurimages, because of the diversity of all the different European projects. The co-production and financing structures give you a lot of insight in the variety of local and European rules and procedures. It gives me a better perspective on the films from our own country and I can also see clearer what the Dutch can bring on a European level,” Van de Pas stresses. In her work for the MEDIA Desk, Van Ratingen has also tried to persuade the Dutch industry to look more to Europe. “What I noticed when I came here was a very negative attitude towards Europe,” she recalls. “That has gone. People know where to find us. And now the Netherlands belongs to the 10 best performing EU member states in the MEDIA Programme, and I am very proud of that”. All three women - Landsberger at EYE International, Van de Pas at the Film Fund and Eurimages and Van Ratingen at the MEDIA Desk - have been instrumental in persuading the Dutch that a truly robust national industry needs a truly international perspective.
Van de Pas also represents Dutch interests at Eurimages (the Council of Europe Coproduction and Distribution Fund.) Together with her boss, Film Fund CEO Doreen Boonekamp, she has presided over a period in which the Dutch have taken an increasingly positive attitude towards Europe, with coproduction at the heart of film policy. Since 2009 the number of majority and minority projects
Photo: Yvonne Witte
They’re focussed and supremely well organised. Their contacts are extensive. They’re flexible and outwardlooking. They know how to negotiate and how to network. Geoffrey Macnab meets the women who represent Dutch filmmakers on the international stage.
Dominique van Ratingen, Dorien van de Pas and Claudia Landsberger
Fog of War Amsterdam-based producer Leontine Petit of Lemming Film talks to Melanie Goodfellow about co-producing Sergei Loznitsa’s Cannes competition picture In the Fog and how the company hopes to finance Marco van Geffen’s next film In Your Name on the Croisette too. Producer Leontine Petit and Joost de Vries, co-founders of Amsterdam-based film and television production company Lemming Film, are set for a busy Cannes Film Festival. Aside from walking the red carpet as co-producers of Sergei Loznitsa’s competition film In the Fog, the producing team will be busy trying to close financing on Marco Van Geffen’s next film In Your Name, which is one of the projects selected for Cannes’ prestigious L’Atélier networking and promotion event. Lemming’s involvement in Ukrainian filmmaker Lotznitsa’s Russian-language, World War Two drama In the Fog stems from a long-time relationship with Heino Deckert of German production company ma.ja.de. “I’ve known Heino since 1995 and we’ve done several films together including Sergei’s first film My Joy, also in competition at Cannes,” explains Petit. Other collaborations with ma.ja. de. include Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth’s Peruvian Andes-set drama Altiplano (and the pair’s previous film Khadak) and Victor Kossakovsky’s minimalist documentary Vivan las Antipodas!. “Whenever Heino has a project he thinks might interest me, he gets me to read it. In the case of
Sergei’s work, I immediately fell in love with his way of telling stories,” says Petit. Set against the backdrop of German-occupied Belarus in 1942, In the Fog revolves around a village railway worker wrongly accused of being a collaborator by partisan fighters. To prove his innocence, they challenge him to commit an inhuman act. “It is very strong visually but it’s also like a Dostoevsky story… there’s a very strong ethical element. I like this combination,” says Petit. “The central character faces a moral dilemma, a choice between good and evil.” A minority co-producer this time round, Lemming contributed to approximately 10 percent of the budget, raising finance through the Netherlands Film Fund, Dutch distributor Contact Film and Eurimages. “In terms of the creative elements, we suggested Dutch sound designer and mixer Michel Schöpping who also worked on Vivan las Antipodas! and My Joy,” says Petit.
around an alienated Polish au pair working in Holland – premiered at Locarno in August before heading to Toronto. Lemming is looking for another €600,000 to complete the €1.4 million budgeted In Your Name. French sales outfit Elle Driver, which handled sales on Among Us, is set to start pre-sales at Cannes.
“I am a product of EAVE, a MEDIA child if you like.” Co-producers already on board include German Titus Kreyenberg of Unafilm, Janja Kralj of Paris-based KinoElektron and Belgian A Private View. Lemming started working with Unafilm’s Kreyenberg through their joint involvement in Mexican director Amat Escalante’s upcoming feature Heli, which is currently shooting in Mexico. Petit and de Vries founded film and television production company Lemming Film in 1995. The company recently expanded its activities into Germany with the creation of a Berlin-based company called Hamster Film, focused on family entertainment. With co-production at the heart of their business model, Petit and de Vries have built up a vast network of co-producing contacts during Lemming Films’ 17-year history. “I am a product of EAVE, a MEDIA child if you like… I am still working with people I met there to this day,” says Petit who participated in the European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs training programme in 1995.
Lemming’s In Your Name, to be directed by Petit’s husband Marco van Geffen, will be a majority Dutch co-pro. “We’re hoping to meet a lot of people in Cannes. We just got backing from the Netherlands Film Fund for the film and we’d like to finalise the budget there,” comments Petit. The second title in Van Geffen’s Vinex trilogy, In Your Name is about a happy Dutch couple who fall apart when they lose their firstborn child. It is due to start shooting this October for eight weeks. Van Geffen’s first film in the trilogy Among Us – revolving
“After EAVE, I joined the producers network ACE and through these two organisations I met a lot of people.” “Roughly 75-80% of our films are majority co-productions,” she reveals. “Some projects don’t lend themselves to co-productions. We’re developing a bio-pic on Dutch folk singer André Hazes, for example, and we probably won’t get a lot of money out of Europe apart from Belgium, where he also had a following… the subject is too Dutch.” Other Lemming co-productions in the works include Dutch director Lourens Blok’s second feature A Christmoose Story about a young boy whose Christmas is transformed when a moose crashes through the roof. It will be, arguably, the first real Dutch Christmas movie. The € 2.6 million production is due to shoot this summer in Sweden for a Christmas 2013 release. The key co-producers are Swedish companies Svensk Filmindustri (SF) and Davaj Film alongside Belgian Anchorage Film. “Some Dutch producers, don’t get involved in co-producing but for me it’s important. It opens up what you can do and broadens your horizons… It can take a lot of time to maintain all the contacts but in the end it is worthwhile,” concludes Petit.
In the Fog Director: Sergei Loznitsa Production: ma.ja.de (GER), Lemming
Film (NL), GP Cinema Company (RUS), Rija Films (LV), Belarus-film (BY) and ZDF (GER) in association with ARTE 8
After the darkness, light Mexican auteur Carlos Reygadas is in Cannes competition this year with Post Tenebras Lux. Dutch co-producer Frans van Gestel talks to Geoffrey Macnab about working this unique talent. Carlos Reygadas has had a long relationship with the Dutch film industry. His feature debut Japon (2002) premiered at the Inter national Film Festival Rotterdam, where it was rhapsodically received. The widescreen cinematography dazzled the critics who were also startled by its portrayal of an affair between a man and a much older woman. (There was a small outcry that the film was not included in the Rotterdam Tiger competition.) Reygadas’ subsequent films have all screened in the festival and he has also taken his projects to Rotterdam’s co-production event, CineMart. It was in Rotterdam that Dutch producer Frans van Getsel first met Reygadas and his producer Jaime Romandia. Van Gestel is now the Dutch co-producer on the new Reygadas film, Post Tenebras Lux (screening in competition in Cannes.) “I really like his work. With his debut film Japon, he proved that he was a very strong filmmaker... and what’s not unimportant is that he (Reygadas) is a very pleasant personality!” Van Gestel enthuses of the Mexican. They first worked together on Reygadas’ Silent Light, a meditative, beautifully shot film about a Mennonite in Mexico struggling with a crisis of faith after he has an extramarital affair. Revered by critics, the film included Martin Scorsese among its many admirers.
“During the post-production of Silent Light (which was done in the Netherlands), I had the pleasure of having some dinners and drinks with Carlos. His views on politics and on the world are very smart,” the Dutch producer reflects. “He has that high standard of thinking that I really like. I think you can connect that with his work. He’s a very free spirit. For example, after the shooting of Silent Light, he and his wife went to Vietnam for a few months to edit the film there on his laptop.”
admires Reygadas’ earlier films is likely to respond positively to it. “I was surprised by the quality, which was even higher than I thought it would be,” stresses Van Gestel. The film was produced through Reygadas’ own company NoDreamsCinema. Topkapi is one of the co-producers alongside Jean Labadie’s Le Pacte and Mexican outfit Mantarraya Producciones. “I have to be very modest about my role!” Van Gestel says. “Our investment in the film is not too big. We are helping them with the image post-production in the Netherlands. The sound they’re doing in Mexico.”
“Reygadas has that high standard of thinking that I really like.”
Post Tenebras Lux will be released in the Netherlands through Pim Hermeling’s Wild Bunch Benelux. (It is yet to be decided when it will appear in Dutch cinemas.)
Van Gestel (who launched his new company Topkapi Films last year after splitting from IDTV) adds that, from a business point of view, it makes sense for the new outfit to be associated with “world class filmmakers.”
As to whether the relationship between Topkapi and Reygadas will continue, Van Gestel won’t be drawn. “I really like to work with Carlos and his producers but, on the other hand, film financing and especially co-producing are also based on reciprocity. When the possibility with Mexico is available, it might be possible. I don’t know - if it is written in the stars... I would really like to continue co-producing with Jaime and Carlos. But, on the other hand, you want something back in the end. I don’t know what the possibilities in Mexico are.”
In advance of its Cannes screening, details about Post Tenebras Lux are skimpy. Van Gestel himself had not yet seen the completed movie at the time of this inter view. “It’s more in the mood of Silent Light than Battle In Heaven (Reygadas’ 2005 film.) But, in a way, it is a completely new Carlos Reygadas you are going to see here. I’ve seen some edited scenes and they were exactly what I expected - an impressionistic slice of life drama.”
Whether or not Topkapi becomes involved in any of the Mexican director’s future projects, co-production still remains fundamental to the company’s plans. At present, Van Gestel has several other co-productions on
No, van Gestel acknowledges, this isn’t an easy movie to pitch. Reygadas is an adventurous and experimental filmmaker whose work resists easy categorisation. However, anyone who knows and
the boil, among them Felix van Groeningen’s The Broken Circle Breakdown and Patrice Toye’s Black Spiders. He is busy putting the last of the financing together on Urszula Antoniak’s new feature Nude Area, which is likely to be a co-production with Poland and is due to shoot in the summer. Topkapi is also working with Zentropa on a crime thriller that will be shot in the Nether lands in 2014. Three years ago, when Van Gestel co-produced another LatinAmerican film, Adrian Biniez’s Gigante, the film went on to win a Silver Bear at the Berlinale. Topkapi is already aboard Biniez’s new feature The Midfielder, which was presented in Rotterdam’s CineMart earlier this year. Now, the company is turning its gaze towards the Riviera. This will be the first Cannes Van Gestel has attended since splitting off from IDTV to launch Topkapi. If Carlos Reygadas’ previous record at festivals is taken as the measure, Post Tenebras Lux is likely to be one of the Cannes contenders that most entices reviewers and juries.
Post Tenebras Lux Director: Carlos Reygadas Production: NoDreamsCinema (Mex), Mantarraya Producciones (Mex), Le Pacte (Fr), Topkapi Films (NL), ARTE (Fr), The Match Factory (Ger) 10
Frans van Gestel
Ask if her success had an important symbolic influence that benefited other female directors in the Netherlands and she replies: “I should hope so!” “There weren’t that many women working in the industry at that time. That has grown rather a lot,” Gorris continues. “It’s difficult enough to get an Oscar whatever your sex but, at least, Antonia’s Line showed it was a possibility for women as well.” In general, the Dutch director believes, “women’s stories are not considered to be as interesting as men’s... as far as the big commercial films are concerned, they are mostly interested in male characters.” Back in 1982, Gorris provoked a ferocious debate in Holland and abroad with her debut feature A Question Of Silence, which portrayed three women killing a male shopkeeper after a row involving stolen merchandise. “The feminist cause will not be well served,” tut-tutted the New York Times of the movie, a Golden Calf (Grand Prize of Dutch film) winner. Others were markedly more enthusiastic. Gorris herself was perplexed by the storm. “At the time I had no idea it would become so controversial.” She had written the screenplay herself. In spite of her lack of
experience, she was allowed to direct it too. Her desire was simply “to tell a story about the female condition.”
actress loves to be in a good role and Mrs Dalloway was a wonderful part. The person Shirley MacLaine played was also quite lovely... every actor first says yes to the part and then they start looking at the director. For a director, an actor is always intimidating because you have to get across what it is you want to do. The most important vehicle for that is an actor.”
The film had ardent champions and equally impassioned detractors. This convinced Gorris she had managed to touch a nerve. Gorris went on to make the equally confrontational Broken Mirrors (1984) about the daily grind of the life of a prostitute working in a brothel and about a serial killer who starves his victims.
On the other hand. Gorris points out, every actor or actress, however famous or obscure, “wants to be directed” and so the nerves go both ways. Although she directed the TV series Rembrandt and Me, Gorris has recently put her directorial career on hold. She admits she was deeply disillusioned when Heaven And Earth, with Pierce Brosnan and Natsha McElhone, a long cherished project about 19th Century British surgeon James Barry (who may have been female), was abandoned at very short notice. The British producer had revealed that the money wasn’t in place just two days before shooting was due to begin. “It was a totally traumatic experience for me and I was somewhat fed up with the whole business of making films.”
“Every actor or actress wants to be directed, and so the nerves go both ways.” Antonia’s Line came a decade later. The film was very difficult to finance, even though the budget wasn’t so high. In the end, UK co-producer British Screen enabled the project to be made. “It was hugely complicated and I don’t know who benefited most from what this film finally paid out but it certainly wasn’t me,” she notes ruefully. Antonia may have won an Oscar and sold all over the world but it it didn’t make its director rich.
in whether or not certain films should receive production funding. She was one of the early champions of road movie Jackie, directed by Antoinette Beumer with Holly Hunter and Carice van Houten in the lead (this is due for release in May). Gorris also supported Barbara Bredero’s kids’ movie Mees Kees and Bombardement, Ate de Jong's film about the bombing of Rotterdam in 1940. As for her own career, Gorris is now planning further features. She will be collaborating again with producer Hans De Weers on a long gestating project My Father’s Notebook, a relatively large international project set partly during the Iranian revolution and partly in the Netherlands a decade later. Throughout her career, Gorris has made films that foreground women characters and women’s issues and, no, she is not going to stop now. “That’s definitely not a coincidence. I like making films about women because I think not enough films are made about women and we are half, if not slightly more, of the world’s population,” she declares. “Most of my films are about women.”
At this point, Head of the Netherlands Film Fund Doreen Boonekamp asked Gorris to work as a consultant at the Fund. “I thought, yes, let’s try that for the moment.” She relished the chance to re-immerse herself in the Dutch film industry, to read scripts and to identify new talents. “What is difficult is that you have to occasionally disappoint people.”
Even so, Gorris now had a burgeoning international reputation. She has gone on to work with some of the most celebrated actresses in the UK and Hollywood. There was Vanessa Redgrave in Mrs Dalloway (1997) and then Shirley MacLaine in Carolina (2003.) Yes, she acknowledges, they are formidable women. “But every
Photo: Bas Losekoot
When Marleen Gorris won a Foreign Language Oscar for Antonia’s Line in 1995, she was making history, reports Geoffrey Macnab. Gorris was the first female director ever to have won an Academy Award for a feature film. Her Oscar came well over a decade before that of Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker.
Gorris advises the Fund on commercial projects to select for development. She also has a say
Three of the best Geoffrey Macnab talks to Will Koopman, Maria Peters and Mijke de Jong, three of the Netherlands’ leading directors. For a director whose last film was seen by 1.9 million people in the Netherlands alone, Will Koopman strikes a determinedly modest note. Gooische Vrouwen, based on the popular Dutch TV drama series of the same name, may have out-performed all-comers from Hollywood and beyond at the Dutch box-office but Koopman still isn’t crowing. “This success, no, I never expected it,” she states. Ask her why the film hit such a chord and she simply points to its humour. “Comedy is not so well known in Dutch cinema.” Koopman has been in the business for 30 years, working as both a producer and director. “I never had a problem finding a job because I was a woman. Not at all!” In 2009, after many years working on TV dramas, she made the transition to feature films with The Dark House. Later this autumn, her new feature The Renovation (De Verbouwing) will be released in Dutch cinemas. “I’ve made three films in three years,” she says of her recent burst of productivity.
Photo: Bas Losekoot
But why the decision to direct for the big screen? “I don’t want to be in the comfort zone anymore. On television, you have to know your public, and that until 9pm you can’t do sex or all those forbidden things. With a movie, I thought for the first time I would just let it go...and it worked! Get out of your comfort zone, let it go and let your feeling talk.“
Mijke de Jong
Koopman worked for eight years at Endemol. Then, three years ago, she helped start the production entity Talpa with Linda De Mol. Her dual career as director and producer means that she knows far more about budgeting and spreadsheets than most filmmakers.
oddity when she started out. “In my generation it became more normal for women to direct, but in film school we were still considered strange creatures,” she recalls. “I’m happy that it isn’t an issue anymore. When I teach students, it is never an issue if you are a boy or a girl. They accept the difference as they accept the weather.”
“That’s also a problem because I know the budget! Sometimes, the cameraman will say ‘let’s do it with a steadicam’ and I say ‘no, we don’t have the money,’” she says of the challenge of balancing business demands and creativity.
“I never had a problem finding a job because I was a woman. Not at all.”
Koopman had a traditional apprenticeship. She went to film school at 19, graduated at 24 and then started working as “a script girl and assistant director.” Eventually, she was given the chance to direct. Not that filmmaking was her first love. “My ambition was to become a doctor,” she laments.
Peters adds how the shift in gender attitude is now complete. “I feel that in Holland, it is very good for female directors. At the Film Fund, there are now two women at the top (Doreen Boonekamp and Dorien van de Pas). They’re doing a really great job. They’re really involved and they know all the filmmakers.” When Peters travelled on the festival circuit with Sonny Boy, she was asked constant questions about how the system worked in Holland. She realised quickly that, in many other countries, female directors are not given the same opportunities.
Ask why the switch and she talks of her love of the work of Aaron Spelling, the US producer behind glossy series The Love Boat, Charlie’s Angel and Hotel. “I saw his name when I was 9 years old and I thought - that’s what I will become.” Maria Peters, director of Sonny Boy (last year’s choice as the Netherlands’ Oscar contender), recalls that when she went to film school, there was positive discrimination. “They (the Film Academy) wanted to have more women.” Consequently Peters, like Koopman, stresses that she has never been hindered because of her sex.
Women may be in the ascendancy within the Dutch film scene but De Jong nevertheless cautions against glib generalisations about the differences between male and female directors. “There is so much more that makes you a director - your personality, your interests, your background,” she suggests. “And yes, when during preparation we have to decide about the car of the main character, all the men will wake
Director Mijke de Jong (Katia’s Sister, Bluebird) broadly agrees although she concedes that female film students were considered something of an
up and every little detail will count. And there is more male energy on the set when we have to create a rainstorm than when we have to shoot a long scene between two sisters in a small room. I like this difference and I think you need both to make a good film.” There is an obvious camaraderie between the female directors. They follow one another’s successes and talk enthusias tically about each other’s work. However, Peters jokes when she contemplates Marleen Gorris’ Oscar and her work with actresses like Vanessa Redgrave and Shirley MacLaine, “I am really most jealous of her...her career that is!” As for the success that women directors currently enjoy in the Dutch industry, De Jong suggests it’s about time. “I would say just celebrate it because the industry was dominated by men for ages and I think it’s much more interesting when you also pay attention to the other half… Let’s surrender and enjoy the difference!”
“If the children were fidgeting, I knew they weren’t really into the film,” she says with a laugh. Not confined to children’s fare, De Jong also co-wrote the screen plays for Martin Koolhoven’s South and Winter in Wartime. Neither Van der Meulen nor De Jong think their gender has had a big impact on the way they write or their ability to get a script made. “Look at Shame (Steve McQueen), a film that has been compared a lot with Hemel. The writer was a man but I don’t think he treated the subject matter that differently from me. Both films refer a lot to sex but ultimately they are about intimacy,” says Van der Meulen. Tamara Bos, meanwhile, a mother of three children who juggles writing with the school run and soccer practice, says her offspring are a constant source of inspiration. “A lot of the stuff I have written comes from my sons and their friends. Attending soccer practice or going on the school trip is research,” she says. Bos, who is the daughter of family entertainment producer Burny Bos, was writing children’s films long before having her own. “I was always writing as a child. My father said to me ‘you should be a writer’, although I didn’t see it… I wanted to be an actress,” recalls Bos. It was while working as an assistant at her father’s production company in the early 1990s that she got her first big break, writing seven episodes of the popular childrens series Class Dismissed (Dag Juf, tot Morgan).
“My central characters tend to be outsiders, who have a hard time adapting.” “I can’t really explain where my ideas or inspiration come from,” says Van der Meulen. “I write my scripts from the inside of the character. In fact, I consider the characters as my story… They tend to be outsiders, not well adapted, mostly by their own choice.” Mieke de Jong has made her name with idiosyncratic children’s films, combining fantasy with a harsher reality in the backdrop. The nine-year-old protagonist of Lepel is being brought up by a nasty grandmother. The central character in Bonkers looks after a bi-polar mother. Tony 10 is played out against a backdrop of parental disunity. The writer developed her understanding of what would work for children on screen, while working as an educational film programmer.
Bos broke into cinema with her adaptation of Dutch writer Annie M.G. Schmidt’s classic Minoes about a cat that turns into a young woman, which was directed by Vincent Bal. Other credits include Winky’s Horse, about a young Chinese girl who is desperate for a horse for Christmas, for which Bos won the Golden Calf for best screenplay at the Netherlands Film Festival. Like de Jong, Bos hasn’t confined herself to children’s fare. She has also written for the popular television series Gooische Vrouwen, the Dutch equivalent of Desperate Housewives, and co-wrote a bio-series on M.G. Schmidt with de Jong last year. “I like to write for adults too. It’s something I would like to explore more, although I might wait until the kids have left home,” signs off Bos with a laugh.
Mieke de Jong
Photo: Victor Arolds
(Tussenland) about the unlikely friendship between an illegal Sudanese immigrant and an aged Dutchman. Subsequent screenplays have included Bluebird and Joy, both directed by Mijke de Jong. She has just written her first “adultfriendly” children’s film Swchwrm, my adventures. The film, directed by Froukje Tan, opened in the Netherlands in April, one week after Hemel.
Photo: Victor Arolds
Tamara Bos, Mieke de Jong and Helena van der Meulen are among the Netherlands’ top screenwriters. You may not be familiar with their names but you will probably know their work. Melanie Goodfellow reports. Van der Meulen wrote the screenplay for Hemel, Sandra Polak’s tale of a sexually promiscuous young woman, which premiered in the Berlinale Forum section earlier this year. De Jong is known for quirky children’s films like Bonkers and also created the complex teenage protagonist of Christophe Van Rompaey’s Lena, which debuted at Toronto last September. Bos’ long filmography includes children’s films such as the 2001 Carice van Houten-starring box office hit Minoes, which was re-released by Music Box in the United States last year, and Winky’s Horse. A former film critic at Dutch film magazine Skrien, Van der Meulen got her first screen-writing break as a result of an interview with filmmaker Heddy Honigmann on Mind Shadows (Hersenschimmen). “In retrospect I was a lousy interviewer. I did all the talking. I dissected her film and told her what I liked about it. At the end of the interview, she asked me if I wanted to write the screenplay for her next film. It came completely out of the blue… I’d never thought of myself as a screenwriter,” recalls Van der Meulen. Based on a love triangle idea from Honigmann, the resulting picture was the 1995 film Au Revoir (Tot Ziens). Van der Meulen broke through with her own material with the 2002 Sleeping Rough
Photo: Victor Arolds
The Write Stuff
Helena van der Meulen Tony10, written by Mieke de Jong and directed by Mischa Kamp
Short Circuit From the cutting-edge 3D Chased to the eagerly awaited Junk Yard by Hisko Hulsing, the cream of Dutch short animation will be on show at Annecy this June. Melanie Goodfellow looks over the line-up. The Netherlands’ short animation scene will be out in force at Annecy’s International Animation Festival this year with a record nine films selected to play at the lakeside event, running 4-9 June. Five short films featuring Dutch directors or producers - Aalterate, Audition, Chase, Junk Yard and Oh Willy… - are set to screen in competition, four of them international co-productions. Another two Dutch works, Now You Know It Anyway and Oedipus, have been selected for an out of competition slot. Dutch graduation film Mac ‘n’ Cheese and music video I’ll Take you With Me are also in the official line-up. “This really is an exceptional year for Dutch animation at Annecy. Usually we have one or two films at the festival,” says Miranda Sloot, who oversees the €1 million budget earmarked for animation shorts at the Netherlands Film Fund. The five Dutch works in competition at Annecy will go up against 49 other short films for the festival’s coveted Cristal award. Hisko Hulsing’s Junk Yard is the highly anticipated follow-up to his critically acclaimed short Seventeen. It revolves around childhood friends, who go their separate ways as adults, but meet once again in strange circumstances.
“Hisko is a filmmaker who has the potential to go on to make a feature film. He has a story to tell and a style which will make even Hollywood sit-up,” says Michiel Snijders, co-owner alongside Arnoud Rijken of animation house il Luster, which coproduced Junk Yard as well as Oh Willy..., Now You Know It Anyway and Oedipus. Adriaan Lokman’s 3D Chase is a groundbreaking work, pushing the boundaries of animation as well as stereoscopic filmmaking. An abstract chase featuring cascading 3D triangles, the film premiered at Holland’s Inter national Animation Festival in April. It was produced by French Autour De Minuit and Dutch Valk Productions.
Portuguese Christobal De Oliveira’s Aalterate was coproduced by French De Minuit and Dutch Valk Productions, which put up a minority stake. “Aalterate is very strong visually. A woman drives a car into a lake, goes underwater and gets tangled in the weeds… it’s a very beauti ful, detailed image,” says Sloot. Belgian director Emma de Swaef and Marc Roels’ Oh Willy…, was a co-production between Belgian Beast Animation, il Luster and French companies Polaris and Vivement Lundi. “We have a long history of working with Flemish companies Beast and S.O.I.L. It’s a typical Annecy story. First, we got drunk together, then we became friends and then we started working together,” says Snijders. Featuring knitted puppets by Swaef and the directing and photography skills of Roels, the short follows a man who returns home to look after his sick mother who lives in a nudist camp. Utrecht-based il Luster also produced both out of competition titles. Bastiaan Schravendeel’s Now You Know it Anyway follows a girl as she tries to sell her made-up stories at a flea market. The quirky Greek myth parody Oedipus is the latest film from veteran animator Paul Driessen, co-produced with the National Film Board of Canada. Alongside a packed slate of shorts in development and production, il Luster is also about to embark on its first feature-length animation, the Santa Clausthemed Triple Trouble (TrippelTrappel).
“This really is an exceptional year for Dutch animation at Annecy.” “It got an amazing response. The audience had never seen a 3D film like that before… it leaves you quite breathless,” says Sloot. Udo Prinsen’s Audition, about a young Auschwitz prisoner who auditions for the camp’s orchestra in a bid to stay alive, has already toured numerous festivals including Ireland’s Blackrock Animation Festival last year. Prinsen directed and produced the short – which ingeniously uses fingerprints to create the characters -- at his Studio Carambolas animation house.
Snijders feels it is time for his company and the rest of the short animation scene to expand its ambitions and its scope. “We’re at a tipping point. Over the last five years, the shorts animation sector has gone from strength to strength in terms of professionalism and production values. It’s time to take the next step and turn this network of small independent companies into a real industry… making feature films, television series and animation for games as well,” says Snijders. Sloot reveals a dozen Dutch feature-length animations are currently in production or in development at the moment. They range from mainstream pictures such as Telescreen’s Miffy the Movie and the BosBros’ comic strip adaptation Heinz, to more quirky fare such as animation boutique The Drawing Room’s biopic Hieronymus and transmedia specialist Submarine’s The Last Hijack about Somali piracy. It looks like the Dutch animation scene is on the verge of taking its activities to a whole new level.
Hisko Hulsing’s Junk Yard
EYE Opener The Royal opening of the new EYE Film Institute Netherlands building on Wednesday April 4 2012 was a wonderful event, attended by her Majesty the Queen Beatrix, the Mayor of Amsterdam Eberhard van der Laan and Secretary of State Halbe Zijlstra. Also in attendance were many dignitaries from the worlds of culture and politics.
40.000 visitors in the first week. Projected number of annual visitors (cinema and exhibitions) 225.000 within 3 years
Other guests included luminaries from the Dutch and international film scene such as Monique van de Ven, Jeroen Krabbé, Robert de Hoog, Derek de Lint, René Soutendijk, Johanna ter Steege, Willeke van Ammelrooy, José María de Orbe, Christoph Girardet, Susan Ray and Serge Toubiana.
630 m2 of poured concrete 1015 tons of steel 353 foundation pilings
Since the opening more than 60.000 Dutch and international visitors have visited EYE, of which 50% bought tickets for the opening exhibition Found Footage: Cinema Exposed or a Film. The exhibition was very well received both by the visitors and critics.
EYE’s spacious bar-restaurant can seat approximately
cinemas including a large auditorium intended for premieres (plus restored organ for silent film accompaniment), the light-free Black Box for art films, the multipurpose Cinema 2 with retractable seating, and the nostalgia-laden Cinema 4, invoking memories of the Parisian film theatre in the Vondelpark Pavilion
EYE CEO Sandra den Hamer and Queen Beatrix attend the opening
delightful Room With a View (for private hire) with magnificent views over the Amsterdam skyline
EYE CEO Sandra den Hamer commented: ‘‘I’m very proud that the Netherlands finally has a museum for the art of cinema and the moving image that it deserves.”
courses and workshops, offered within the educational space (known as The Workshop). These include courses on French cinema, animation for kids and screenwriting
m2 exhibition space
Behind The Scenes Behind the camera many key creative roles within the Dutch production scene are held by women. Geoffrey Macnab investigates. On the afternoon I speak to her, Jany Temime is celebrating her birthday. Not that she has much time off. The veteran costume designer is hard at work on Skyfall, the new James Bond movie. (She has been collaborating with designer Tom Ford in coming up with the perfect suit for Daniel Craig’s Bond to wear.) Prior to 007, Temime was busy dressing George Clooney as an astronaut for Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity. She also spent eight years working on the Harry Potter series and has recently been very involved in Hogwarts business, planning the costumes for the new Harry Potter theme park outside London. In terms of international credits, the French-born Temime is one of the Dutch industry’s most successful exports. Thanks to her work on Oscar-winning Dutch movies Antonia’s Line and Character in the late 1990s, she quickly established an international reputation. Alfonso Cuaron had seen Character. When he was recruited to direct Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, he insisted on hiring Temime to do the costumes - and she stayed working on the Potter series for eight years. “I got Harry Potter... and that was it!” she remembers. “It also corresponded to a time of my life when the kids were grown up and out of the house and I could do a little bit more what I wanted to do.” Line producer Mardou Jacobs, who runs the aptly named company No Fear Productions, is
another leading figure in the Dutch industry ready to travel wherever her job takes her. “My kids are almost grown up and so I can go anywhere. My obligations at home are almost zero - so let life start!”
the world and the very best sound man too but if they hate each other, you get a very lousy film.” On Rudolf van den Berg’s Tirza, Jacobs was working in Namibia. On Van den Berg’s next film, the Second World War-set Süskind, she was in Romania. In both places, she was obliged to work with local crews. She talks of the “gut feeling” that helps her determine which crew members to hire. She has worked on many occasions with very strong-willed male directors, among them the late Theo van Gogh and Paul Verhoeven (whose reality TV project The Entertainment Experience she recently line produced).
Jacobs acknowledges it was “not particularly easy” to establish herself as a line producer. “You have to negotiate between the director, the producer, the DoP, and all the heads of department. Negotiation is always better for women to do than men.” She speaks of the “fluency with which we (women) can work in between all those egos.”
“My obligations at home are almost zero - so let life start!”
“People like Theo (van Gogh)...in public situations, they’re a pain in the ass but in private, to work professionally with, they’re absolutely not. Rudolf van den Berg - he’s not an easy man as well (but) they know very well what they want.”
Line producers, she cautions, can’t afford to have big egos. If they did, they’d be caught up in constant feuds. Instead, they need to be flexible and pragmatic.
Verhoeven likewise is easy to work with. “If I come to him and say to him, “OK, Paul, I need to talk to you, he’s not the kind of spoiled kid that starts arguing. Together, we find a solution.”
In her college days, Jacobs studied psychology - a perfect grounding for working in the film industry. “Everything felt very familiar,” she reflects. She started in the business as a runner and worked her way up. Thanks to her time as location scout and production manager, she already had a very clear idea of the difficulties facing every department during a shoot.
Brought up as “a flower power kid,” Jacobs wasn’t in the slightest bit startled by Van Gogh’s tendency to make outrageous statements. “I was raised that you could say anything without it being held against you.”
Simone Galavazi is the only female sound engineer currently working on feature films in the Netherlands. Her credits range from glossy, mainstream thrillers like Loft and Dossier K to documentaries and TV dramas - and she also moonlights for several months a year as a deep sea diving instructor. She says that being underwater, when you can hear little other than the sound of your breathing, is the perfect antidote to the noise and commotion of a movie set. When she didn’t succeed in her original ambition to become a vet, she turned direction “180 degrees” and went to the Film Academy instead, quickly beginning to concentrate on sound. “In feature films, the key functions are mostly (done by) men,” Galavazi notes. Earlier in her career, as the only woman on an often all male crew, she had “to run harder, be better, do more things more often than the other sound man to get as much respect.” Now, like Mardou Jacobs and Temime, she is established at the top of her profession, working abroad as well as at home. As Temime puts it: “it’s very funny because the Dutch export everything. They export their butter and they export their technicians!”
As for making the step from line producer to lead producer, she’s not in a hurry. “I can be a good producer as well but it’s hell finding the money - and I love spending the money... and, at this moment, there are way too many producers anyway in Holland.”
When she is putting together a crew, Jacobs makes sure she meets all the technicians first. “One of my specialities is that I like to find people who can work together. What I always say is that you can hire the very best DOP in
Simone Galavazi Helena van der Meulen
Mieke de Jong
Femmes Festival it comes to programming, they count the minutes of a film to make sure it will fit, stuff like that.” Key female figures at IDFA today industry office chief Adriek Van Nienwenhuyzen, who will be in Cannes, as well as Isabel Arrate Fernandez, co-ordinator of the festival’s developing world Jan Vrijman Fund, and Meike Statema who runs the IDFAcademy. Current Netherlands Film Festival (NFF) director Van Aalst arrived in the post in 2009, replacing Doreen Boonekamp who took on the top job at the Netherlands Film Fund. Prior to the NFF, Van Aalst spent more than 12 years at IDFA, many of them as managing director, where she contributed to the development of the industry activities and sidebars such as Kids & Docs. The Utrecht-based NFF, showcasing the best of Dutch cinema, screened 487 films and attracted some 152,000 visitors in September 2011. Alongside the main programme, its coproduction market, the Holland Film Meeting (headed by another woman, Signe Zeilich-Jensen, who was previously a programmer at Cinekid), is the event’s international arm, incorporating the important Netherlands Production Platform co-pro market. Commenting on the strong female presence in the Dutch festival scene, Van Aalst says: “It’s hard to say why there are so many women in this sector… although the female ability to multitask is useful for sure when it comes to juggling the artistic side of a festival with more practical concerns such as its finances.”
One exception to the femme tendency is IFFR (Rotterdam), but while its director, Rutger Wolfson, is distinctly male, all other major roles are played out by women, including the festival’s dynamic managing director Janneke Staaring, as well as the heads of CineMart (Marit van den Elshout and Jacobine van der Vloed) and the Hubert Bals Fund (Iwana Chronis and Janneke Langelaan).
“Women pay attention to the details rather than just the big picture.” Sannette Naeyé, was hired as head of CEO of the children and youth-focused Cinekid in 1997, from an executive position as head of art and culture at Dutch broadcaster VARA. When she arrived at the festival, Cinekid was a local event set-up to show children films during the autumn holiday. “I came from a high-level management position,” says Naeyé. “Cinekid was quite a small event… but I could see its potential. My aim right from the start was to develop it.” “A recent study by the European Audiovisual Observatory on the theatrical circulation of European children’s films commissioned for the 25th anniversary of Cinekid last year showed that children’s films performed the best at the box office... it’s an important sector,” she adds. Innovations under Naeyé’s tenure include integrating new media
and the introduction of Screening Club, showing 250 brand new children’s programmes, as well as the Junior Co-production Markets featuring 35 film, TV and crossmedia projects in development. Today, Cinekid shows over 500 works to an audience of over 50,000 children and welcomes hundreds of professionals in the field of children and youth programming. Other women in key positions at the event include former Endemol International senior acquisition manager Fleur Winters, who heads up Cinekid for Professionals. Like Van Aalst, Naeyé says it hard to draw conclusions on the number of female festival chiefs in the Netherlands. “At the end of the day all you can really say is that we’ve got a bunch of strong women from different backgrounds who really wanted to achieve something and went for it,” she concludes.
Photo: Roland Reinders
Nowhere in the world do women wield so much power in the festival scene as in the Netherlands. Melanie Goodfellow investigates. Ally Derks is renowned the world over as the founding chief of the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam. Willemien van Aalst heads up the Utrechtbased Netherlands Film Festival, and Sannette Naeyé, CEO of Cinekid, is credited with transforming the event into one of the most important children and youth-focused festivals in the world. Derks launched the first edition of the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) in 1988 with a minuscule budget and scant resources. Celebrating its 25th anniversary later this year, the festival is the biggest documentary festival in the world, welcoming more than 3,000 guests from across the globe. From 2,000 admissions in the first year, the festival now tops 180,000 entries annually Ever since its early days IDFA has had a reputation for being a female-dominated environment. Derks says this is by accident rather than design. “People have talked about this as far back as the 90s but it’s not due to some deliberate policy on my part… I’ve always just picked the best people for the job,” she says. “These days, we do have a few more men on the team. I think the female to male ratio is 60:40. It used to be 80:20.” She adds, however: “I do think women make excellent producers. They pay attention to the details rather than just the big picture: they take care to welcome the guests, for example, or when
Willemien van Aalst
Dutch Industry News
Zombies Invade UK
UK-based production sales and distribution entity Kaleidoscope has picked up UK distribution and world sales rights to Erwin van den Eshof and Martijn Smits’ ‘Dutch Shaun of the Dead’ Zombibi. The film is a coproduction between Dutch entities A-Film, Launch Works and Talent United. In the film, a gang of friends wake up together in jail, oblivious to the fact that the town was evacuated the night before after the outbreak of a killer virus. But instead of heading for the hills, they decide instead to save a friend who is stuck within the virus zone surrounded by a host of bloodthirsty zombies. The film, renamed Kill Zombie! for the international film trade, will be presented at the Cannes market by Kaleidoscope Director of International Sales Caroline Stern. The film has already performed with credit at the Dutch box-office, drawing an audience of over 40,000 and receipts in excess of €320,000. A-Film’s Frank Groenveld commented after the deal, “A-Film, Launch Works and Talent United are very excited working with Kaleidoscope on the international sales of Zombibi.”
Photo: Joost Guntenaar
Photo: Yvonne Witte
Photo: Peter Hoennemann
When the Dutch producer/director team of Petra Goedings (Phanta Vision) and Norbert ter Hall were looking to cast the Spanish female lead in their three-way romdrama &ME, an invitation to the EFP Shooting Stars event at Berlinale 2009 paid enormous dividends. There they met Spanish actress Verónica Echegui, now a household name in her native country, and they knew immediately that their search had come to an end. The film, originally pitched as Atomium at CineMart and co-starring rising Dutch star Teun Luijkx and German actor Mark Waschke, is shooting April/May 2012 in Brussels. Echegui plays the role of Edurne, an ingénue in search of success and love while working at the European Parliament in Brussels, who charms - and is charmed by - two very different types of men. “When I first saw Verónica I knew we had our Edurne,” comments Ter Hall, “and we followed her progress all the time we were developing &ME.” Echegui responds: “I don’t know if it is a Dutch thing or not, but I love Norbert’s approach to the way he shoots. It is not so systematic – in the Spanish industry it is very common to do lots of repeats of the same scene again and again, and sometimes this can be unbearable. It is so much more relaxed working on the film with Norbert. And in Holland, all these women in charge of the production. I love it.”
"In Holland, all these women in charge of the production. I love it.”
fund: new Doc Head Acclaimed doc filmmaker Pieter Fleury has taken over from Niek Koppen as CEO of Documentary at the Netherlands Film Fund. Koppen will return to documentary production at his Amsterdambased Selfmade Films.
Fleury is a filmmaker of over 30 years experience. Over this period he has developed a specialism within Asian subjects and topics. After founding the production company Golden Monkey Enterprises he produced and directed Shanghai, The Peoples City (1985), North Korea, a Day in the Life (2004) and Times of the Emperor (2010). As a director he worked for 12 years with the VPRO Diogenes programme. His most recent film The Verdict (2011) is about judicial decision-making. He was a visiting professor at the Nanjing Arts Institute in China, has held various management positions in the film world and is senior advisor to the Documen tary Films Academic Committee of China TV Artists Association. “With the appointment of Pieter Fleury we get an enthusiastic and encouraging filmmaker with extensive experience in national and international documentary practice,” comments Fund CEO Doreen Boonekamp.
Verhoeven back in Cannes Paul Verhoeven’s latest (and as yet untitled) film, which represents the culmination of a 39-week roller coaster multiplatform extravaganza that has taken his native Holland by storm, will be launched at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Focussing on real estate tycoon and womaniser Remco (Peter Blok – Black Book), it is a tale of passion, betrayal and disintegrating relationships in which all is not as it seems. It is also a story only Paul Verhoeven can tell. Verhoeven's approach to the project is typically idiosyncratic. In this era of social media, the director let himself be led by the general public, whose contributions (which included numerous screenplay submissions) determined exactly how the film would eventually turn out. “It has been great producing the project, seeing Paul Verhoeven's latest movie become a reality,” comments producer René Mioch of production and distribution house FCCE. “It is a very exciting time for us and we feel the movie has definite potential to make a big impression within the international film market.” "On the one hand this project has demonstrated how a world-first crossmedial project can take shape", adds Mioch’s partner Justus Verkerk. "Equally we now find ourselves in the filmmaking business. Reporting about movies has been our core business for over thirty years, but now we have produced a movie in-house. We are looking forward to producing more features.”
Marco van Geffen
In Marco’s Name In Your Name, the second part of Dutch director Marco van Geffen’s Vinex trilogy, has been selected for the prestigious Cannes L’Atelier 2012. Each year, L’Atelier selects fifteen feature length projects from around the world, and invites their directors to the Cannes Film Festival in order to put them in contact with film professionals. The filmmakers are selected according to the quality of their project and that of their previous films, as well as on the state of progress of their finance plan. The programme will enable them to gain access to international financing and speed up the production process.
Van Geffen’s debut feature Among Us, the first part of the trilogy, world-premiered in Locarno in 2011. The third part, Loving, is in development. All three films deal with the drama of family life, investigating the emotions, fears, and violence that lie beneath the seemingly happy surface. “The selection considerably increases the possibility that the film will be made - this is always difficult of course, but with artistic films even more so,” comments Van Geffen. “It means that the Cannes Film Festival and more specifically the people selecting for l’Atelier believe in this project, which is a huge support and a quality mark for it. Another benefit is that we’ll be introduced to a lot of international film professionals, who we can make aware of our project and Dutch arthouse film in general, and hopefully attach some financiers to the project.” Earlier this month Van Geffen was selected as one of Festival Scope’s Directors in Focus. Also featured in this programme was his short film My Sister, which was nominated for a Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival 2007.
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, Alissa Simon Concept & Design: Lava.nl, Amsterdam Layout: def., Amsterdam Printing: Roto Smeets Grafiservices Printed on FSC paper Circulation: 2000 copies © All rights reserved: The Netherlands Film Fund and EYE Film Institute Netherlands 2012 Contact Sandra den Hamer CEO EYE Film Institute Netherlands E email@example.com Claudia Landsberger Head of EYE international EYE Film Institute Netherlands E firstname.lastname@example.org EYE Film Institute Netherlands PO BOX 74782 1070 BT Amsterdam The Netherlands T +31 20 589 1400 W www.eyefilm.nl Doreen Boonekamp CEO Netherlands Film Fund E email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org Jonathan Mees Head of Communications Netherlands Film Fund E email@example.com Netherlands Film Fund Jan Luykenstraat 2 1071 CM Amsterdam The Netherlands T +31 20 570 7676 W www.filmfonds.nl
(First) Made in Holland Industry Analaysis
Remakes of Dutch films are nothing new. George Sluizer famously re-made his eerie 1988 thriller The Vanishing in Hollywood five years later. Jean van de Velde’s All Stars (1997), a yarn about football and male friendship, was re-made in Britain as Things To Do Before You’re 30 (2004). However, the number of Dutch movies being eyed up for remakes has increased dramatically. Geoffrey Macnab investigates. International producers are clearly responding to the huge domestic success that many Dutch films are currently enjoying. They are also taking advantage of a boom in Dutch genre movies. Auteur-driven arthouse films don’t lend themselves easily to being remade: they’re often too idiosyncratic and too personal. However, thrillers and horror films are far easier to customise - and it’s these kind of films the Dutch are making in increasing numbers. The $50 million US box-office success enjoyed by Baltasar Kormakur’s Contraband (a remake of Icelandic-Dutch co-production Reykjavik-Rotterdam) underlines just how lucrative the remake business can be. One recent Dutch title that has already been sold to the US is Lev Films’ comedy thriller Plan C, about a cop with gambling debts who robs an illegal poker tournament. American outfit XYZ (which specialises in genre fare and co-hosts the Austin Fantastic Fest) made an offer on the basis of the teaser trailer. “These guys (at XYZ) have an unorthodox way of looking all over the world for genre films,”
notes Plan C’s Dutch producer, Sander Verdonk. “They think a little bit out of the box, which is great.”
producers (he cautions) have to accept that they may have limited influence over how a remake will turn out. “I would, of course, try to protect the original script as much as possible but I don’t want to screw up the deal by making too many demands - that wouldn’t be realistic.”
Not all the Dutch films that have been snapped up for remakes have been popular with local audiences. Alain de Levita of NL Film acknowledges that NL’s thriller Taped (about a young couple on holiday in Buenos Aires who record the murder of an innocent man by a corrupt cop) did mediocre business in the Netherlands. That didn’t put off Hollywood major Columbia Pictures from acquiring the English-language remake rights earlier this year after a bidding war. “Before the film was released, the trailer was on several websites and was picked up on by several producers in the US,” De Levita recalls.
Dick Rijneke, the Dutch coproducer of Reykjavik-Rotterdam, notes that the American remake was greenlit quickly only once a major star (Mark Wahlberg) became attached. “It was not so easy to get it (Contraband) on track, but when Mark Wahlberg came on board, it was bingo!” It wouldn’t be a surprise if US producers were to remake another new Dutch film, the horror comedy Zombibi. The film, produced by Paul Ruven and Rene Huybrechtse of Talent United Film and TV, has already been acquired by UK distributor and sales agent Kaleidoscope (who’ve rechristened it Kill Zombie! and will be giving it a market premiere in Cannes.) The film is billed as the first ever multicultural Dutch zombie picture. (It’s also a follow-up of sorts to 2004 hit Shouf Shouf Habibi, also produced by Huybrechtse.)
Low budget thriller Black Out, by Arne Toonen, begins with a criminal waking up next to a dead man on the day before his wedding. Its Guy Ritchie-like treatment of the gangster genre clearly appeals abroad. Belgian company Mollywood has taken remake rights while producer Maarten Kuit, of Hazazah Pictures, is in negotiations for an American remake.
“You have to see this movie as the beginning of a new genre era. A lot of people thought it was not possible to make genre movies in the Netherlands, because the main thing we make is drama,” says Paul Ruven. “We almost never (used to make) make anything like action or horror.”
Rinkel Films’ Cool Kids Don’t Cry is another Dutch movie that has piqued the curiosity of US companies. Reinier Selen is currently in negotiations for an American remake of the family film, which he produced alongside Harro van Staverden and David-Jan Bijker of Bijker.
For US producers, the attraction of remakes is self-evident. It’s a way of accelerating a production and bypassing much of the development process. They can identify a strong, successful foreign film and customise it
“We’ve become better at scriptwriting and filmmaking,” producer Selen suggests when asked why so many Dutch movies are provoking such interest abroad. However, Dutch
for their own market. “For less money, they have a good project,” says Maarten Kuit, producer of Black Out. “In the United States, there is a trend for looking toward foreign material in general,” Alain de Levita agrees. “It’s much easier to look at formats, films if you like, that are successful in other countries. It saves you a lot of time and money. You can cherry pick successful stories from other countries and remake them.”
“I don’t want to screw up the deal by making too many demands.”
Taped by Diederik Van Rooijen
Cannes Market screenings Her Atrium Productions specialises in royalty collections. Jankie also acts as an advisor and intermediary between producers and distributors. She helps ensure that money and materials arrive in the right place at the right time, as per deals that have been agreed.
Ria Jankie, President of Atrium Productions, is one of the doyennes of film financing. She first became involved in the industry when she was working with the legendary financier Frans Afman at Bank Credit Lyonnais in the 1980s, and has been a ubiquitous presence of the market circuit ever since. She talks with Geoffrey Macnab. “We loved to match the creative element with the financing element,” Jankie says of the early years with Afman. That was when she began building up her extraordinary network of contacts among producers, co-financing
She makes it a point of principle to “get on with everybody in the business.” She is friendly but nobody mistakes her amiability for weakness. (“I am a tall, Dutch strong woman!” she jokes.) Her job is about much more than setting up collection accounts and chasing money. If she feels uncomfortable with a deal, she will always speak out. She plays an advisory role for both producers and distributors.
banks, completion bond companies, sales agents and distributors. “We were dealing with the whole industry.” In 1991, Jankie left the bank and became a financial consultant. Carolco, then one of the biggest players in Hollywood producing movies like Rambo and Basic Instinct, asked her to take over two companies, one in Japan and the other in Australia. That’s how she started in the royalty business, helping clients maximise revenues.
For much of her career, Jankie has been based in the Netherlands. “It was very advantageous to be located in the Netherlands because of an international tax treaty network and an advantageous tax climate,” she recalls of her early years in the film business. Most of her work was on big international movies. Nonetheless, she now has an
By her own account, Jankie is “everywhere, at all the markets.” Financiers and producers alike know her well and trust her.
exhaustive knowledge of the Dutch industry too. “In the older days, I hardly did any business with the Netherlands. They did not make those pictures that had an international appeal (maybe with a few exceptions.) Now, people are buying a lot of product. You see more players in Holland. The film industry is doing quite well. You see more money coming in, bigger budgets... since they (the Dutch) don’t know all the international players, I can guide them beautifully.” Jankie agrees that women hold many of the top positions within Dutch cinema. “We have very capable women in the industry,” she reflects. “I feel very close to them... I am talking about very good ladies like Claudia Landsberger, Sandra den Hamer, Ellis and Nelleke Driessen and Doreen Boonekamp. They’re very good women and actually they’re all friends of mine. We see each other at markets. We have our noses in the same direction. That’s what I will say... the Dutch women do very well in the film business.”
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Alfie the Little Werewolf
New Kids Nitro
Director: Joram Lürsen Production: BosBros (NL) in coproduction with Ciné Cri de Coeur (BE) Sales: Delphis Films When Alfie suddenly turns into a werewolf on the night of his seventh birthday, he hasn’t a clue what to do…
Director: Sacha Polak Production: Circe Films (NL) in co-production with Bella Cohen Films (NL), Jaleo Films (ES) Sales: Media Luna New Films Award: Berlin International Film Festival – FIPRESCI Award Best Film in Forum section. Hemel is fighting a guerrilla war with every man in town, looking for the difference between sex and love.
Director: Steffen Haars, Flip van der Kuil Production: Eyeworks Film & TV Drama (NL) in co-production with Inspire Pictures (NL), Bridge Entertainment Group (NL), Tip of the Blanket (NL), Steffen Haars and Flip van der Kuil Sales: Elle Driver Back for their second adventure, The New Kids and a rival gang must join forces to combat a greater evil…
Director: Rudolf van den Berg Production: Fu Works (NL), Cadenza Films (NL), Rinkel Film (NL) Sales: Beta Cinema The true story of Jewish resistance hero Walter Süskind who saved almost a thousand Jewish children from deportation.
Anton Corbijn Inside Out
Director: Klaartje Quirijns Production: LEV Pictures in co-production with Production Value (NL), CTM (NL), Savage Film (BE), Fastnet (IE) Sales: Hanway Films An intimate and revealing portrait of a highly influential artist.
Cool Kids Don’t Cry
Director: Reinout Oerlemans Production: Eyeworks Film & TV Drama (NL) The epic story of the shipwrecked 16th century ship whose Dutch crew had to survive the gruesome polar winter.
Sexwork & Me
Director: Jeroen van Velzen Production: SNG Film (NL) Sales: EastWest Filmdistribution Award: Tribeca International Film Festival – Best New Documentary Director Award A filmmaker returns to Kenya to rediscover the enchanting world of his youth.
In competition In the Fog
Director: Dennis Bots Production: Rinkel Film (NL), Bijker (NL) in co-production with Living Stone (BE) Sales: Highpoint Films Awards: TIFF Kids International Film Festival – Audience Choice Award and honourable mention from the TIFF Kids Young People’s Jury Soccer-loving Akkie is diagnosed with leukemia. Only through her love for a boy in her class, can she accept the inevitable.
Director: Boudewijn Koole Production: Waterland Film (NL) Sales: Delphis Films. Awards: a.o. Berlin International Film Festival - Best First Feature Award and Grand Prix of the Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk for the Best Youth Film Jojo is caught between his love for a jackdaw and his loyalty to his father. Finally he decides that enough is enough.
Director: Anna van der Heide 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: Erwin van den Eshof & Martijn Smits Production: Talent United (NL) Sales: Kaleidoscope Film Distribution A zomedy about a group of friends who have to arm themselves against an invasion of zombies.
The Heineken Kidnapping
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Director: Antoinette Beumer Production: Eyeworks Film & TV Drama (NL). Twin sisters embark on an amazing adventure that alters their assumptions about everything that they once believed to be true.
Director: Maarten Treurniet Production: Topkapi Films (NL) Sales: Global Screen. The Kidnap of the Century took just 35 minutes, Heineken’s revenge took a little longer.
Director: Clare Sturges Production: TCF Film (NL) Awards: Women’s Independent Film Festival (Los Angeles) - Best Cinema tography, Best Screenplay and Award of Merit in Documentary Film Category Documentary that gives a fresh perspective on 21st century legal prostitution through the frank stories of Amsterdam red-light district sexworkers.
Director: Threes Anna Production: KeyFilm (NL) in coproduction with Samsa Film (LU), Skyline Entertainment (BE) Sales: NonStop Sales Rosa arrives in Tokyo to learn the art of filleting fish from Japan´s best fish chef. Because of the difficulty communicating Rosa grows more and more lonely.
My Adventures by V. Swchwrm
Director: Froukje Tan Production: Flinck Film (NL) Sales: Delphis Films. Every adventure begins with a single sentence… 31
Director: Sergei Loznitsa Script: Sergei Loznitsa Production: ma.ja.de fiction GmbH (DE) in co-production with Lemming Film (NL), GP Cinema Company (RU), Rija Films (LV), Belarusfilm (BY), ZDF/ARTE. Sales: The Match Factory
Post Tenebras Lux
Director: Carlos Reygadas Script: Carlos Reygadas Production: Nodream Cinema (MX), Mantarraya Producciones (MX) in co-production with Topkapi Films (NL), The Match Factory (GE), Le Pacte (FR) Sales: NDM (Nodream/Mantarraya) Juan and his young urban family live in the countryside of Mexico. There, they enjoy and suffer a world that understands life in a different way. Juan wonders if those worlds are complementary or, truly, they fight unconsciously to eliminate one another.
Waiting for P.O. Box
Director: Bassam Chekhes Script: Bassam Chekhes Production: Bassam Chekhes (NL), Rula Nasser, Mahmoud Al Massad in co-production with Dubai Entertainment & Media Organisation, in association with Enjaaz a Dubai Film market Initiative.
Producer on the Move Just to underline that there is considerable male talent too in the Dutch film industry, Rotterdambased producer Trent, who takes a co-production credit on Gonzalo Tobal’s 2012 competition nod Villelegas, is the Netherlands’ Producer on the Move at Cannes 2012. As Producer on the Move Trent will be part of a group of 25 talented and up-and-coming European
producers, who will be hot-housed at a series of networking and branding events, pitching sessions and one to one meetings with some of the leading players in global finance and production. Trent’s recent credits include Does It Hurt by Aneta Lesnikovska, which was nominated for a Tiger Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2009, the award-winning Can Go Through Skin (selected for
Berlinale Forun 2009) by Esther Rots and Hunting & Sons (selected for New Directors/New Films in New York, 2010) by Sander Burger. “I have made a couple of successful and interesting domestic features up until now and last year I decided it’s time to spread my wings and co-operate with filmmakers beyond the borders of the Netherlands,” comments Trent. “Currently I am developing several European
co-productions and the selection as Producer on the Move will definitely help me to get them made. As I have said before, any collaborative effort, which filmmaking is, takes mutual understanding and respect which means it is important to get to know each other. So this selection serves for me to get to know the other Producers on the Move in order to find out whether they share a similar view on filmmaking.”