Production update January 2016

Last year was one hell of a ride. It was the year the international motion picture and urban movement Rotterdam, I Love You was officially launched, and it was also a year full of developments for some of the other film projects I have been steadily working on. But I expect the coming year to be even more eventful: more exciting developments, great projects, and fruitful collaborations. To keep you updated, I will blog regularly about the projects I am working on, starting now.

Rotterdam, I Love You

Rotterdam, I Love You logoObviously, the biggest project I’m working on this year is Rotterdam, I Love Youan urban movement with a feature film at its core, proudly celebrating this city’s creativity, diversity and love. Rotterdam, I Love You is part of Cities of Love, a world-wide organization dedicated to smart and sustainable urban development. The Rotterdam, I Love You movement shows everything that’s cool about Rotterdam through events, film coverage, and other media. The movement consists of a network of institutions, artists, creative entrepreneurs and companies of all shapes and sizes. And at the heart of the movement lies the release of the international feature film Rotterdam, I Love You. The film will consist of ten stories – made by ten directors – and will show the real people and places of Rotterdam, in all their raw beauty, to the entire world.

September Film logoI am one of the core producers of the movement and film, working together with Matt Jaems (lead producer) and September Film (among many others). The next few months we’ll be focusing on further developing the movement in the city and attracting top talent for the movie. We’ve just put out a Call for Directors and a Call for Screenwriters, so if you are a up-and-coming Rotterdam filmmaker, by all means apply!

Also, check out Tour d’Amour, the cool cultural event we’re organizing with YETI EN DE STER:

Tour-d'Amour-logoThis Valentine’s Day, Rotterdammers celebrate their love in a different way. No candy hearts, roses, and pink champagne, but a Tour d’Amour all around the central district and Schieblock, featuring music, theatre, arts, spoken word, and much more. Powered by YETI EN DE STER (YEDS) and Rotterdam, I Love You, and hosted by prominent and inspiring Rotterdammers. Tickets will go on sale 14 January! More info…

The Blue Virgin

De Blauwe MaagdThe Blue Virgin (De Blauwe Maagd) is a short film I wrote. It will be directed by my good friend Tim Klok, and is being produced by Tim, VandePunt Filmproducties (Carl van de Wetering and Puck Mickers) and me. Just last week, our crowdfunding campaign ended, and I am proud to say we reached 147% of our funding goal! Which means The Blue Virgin has gone into preproduction and will be shot later this year, in the beautiful French village Montbrun-les-Bains. Want to stay updated? Like our Facebook page!

Other projects

That’s not all for this year though. I have several other projects in different development stages: I am developing a feature film script that will be directed by Tim Klok, I am researching for a documentary that I will be (co-)producing and directing, I have a short film called Habitat in postproduction that will (finally!) be released this year, and there are a couple of commissioned projects on the back burner that will move ahead this year.

So lots of things to keep you updated about. See you next month!

“The Contract”, a short thriller I wrote, is now online


“Het Contract” (“The Contract”), a short thriller I wrote and produced, is finally online! Watch it below, with English subtitles.

Emma, a dissolute young woman with a strong desire to become a mother, has finally found the love of her life to settle down with. When she receives a mysterious postcard her new life is turned upside-down. Her shady past has caught up with her: she has been traced by the company that wants from her what was agreed upon. She’s forced to pay her debt by making an impossible choice.

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The opening scene of Tarkovsky’s Solaris (1972): pacing and theme

Solyaris posterI want to share a great video with you: an analysis of the cinematography and editing of four scenes in Solaris (Russian title: Solyaris), Andrei Tarkovsky’s famous science fiction film released in 1972.

As a filmmaker, Tarkovsky was fascinated by time: our experience of it, the way time gives meaning to life, and the essential role it plays in filmmaking. Read “Sculpting in Time”, his book about filmmaking, and you begin to understand how his thinking about time shaped his ideas as an artist.

I guess you could call his films slow. Compared to the frantic pacing of today’s sci-fi films, they certainly are. But calling Tarkovsky’s films slow would suggest they are too slow, that his films aren’t properly paced. That is not the case at all. At the heart of Solaris’ success as film art lies its pacing and rhythm. And the video, by video essayist Antonios Papantoniou, gives us an idea why.

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The role of disease in fiction

Why do diseases and disorders play such an important role in modern fiction? Some of the most famous characters in film and literature are famous precisely because they are not well. From borderliner Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard to cancer patient Hazel in The Fault in Our Stars, we seem to enjoy fictional characters on the verge of collapse, either physically or mentally.

Sunset Boulevard

Sunset Boulevard (1950)

I was reminded of the potency of illness in fiction while reading “Hersenschimmen” (translated as “Out of Mind”) by Dutch writer J. Bernlef. The novel, written in 1984, deals with Maarten Klein, an elderly man who suffers from a rapidly developing form of Alzheimer’s disease. The writer adheres strictly to Maarten’s perspective, showing the destruction of the human mind from the point of view of the mind being destructed. The result is a terrifying chronicle of human frailty.

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Julianne, we hangen aan je lippen

Als Julianne Moore niet onlangs een Oscar had gewonnen voor haar hoofdrol in Still Alice, zou het de meesten misschien ontgaan zijn dat een van de twee regisseurs van de film, Richard Glatzer, onlangs is overleden aan ALS. Want Still Alice (geregisseerd en geschreven door Glatzer en zijn echtgenoot Wash Westmoreland) is geen opvallende film. Het is een bescheiden portret van de briljante linguïst Alice Howland, die op haar vijftigste ontdekt dat ze Alzheimer heeft.

De film is doordrenkt van de ervaringen van Glatzer: aftakeling op betrekkelijk jonge leeftijd en bewust afscheid moeten nemen van je dierbaren. Centraal staat hoezeer je eigenwaarde bepaald wordt door het vermogen jezelf verbaal te uiten. Alice was zo gewend om voor groepen te staan en vol vuur te vertellen over de complexiteit van taal, dat het extra schrijnend is om haar te zien zoeken naar zelfs de namen van haar kinderen.

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