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BoostNL Interview: MR K

The Dutch project MR K, produced by The Film Kitchen and associate produced by leading Dutch director Martin Koolhoven, promises an intriguing and heady mix of illusion and humour located within a distinctly Kafkaesque setting. In a remote hotel, illusionist Mr. K finds himself trapped in a bizarre nightmare. In order to escape he has to uncover the secret hidden behind the building’s crumbling walls.

The project is one that Norwegian director Tallulah Schwab has long desired to make, a fact that Film Kitchen producers Jan van der Zanden and Ineke Kanters were well aware of. “Two years ago I asked Tallulah again about MR K. She said she still really wanted to do it, and so did we. So that was the start of it,” stresses Kanters.

“We really thought that it was a fantastic story and very different to most of the scripts we receive from people. And it is also very international,” she adds.

The project has already received script development support from the Film Fund, and both broadcaster AVROTROS and distributor Paradiso Films are on board as partners. But this weekend the producers are placing less emphasis on business and more on readying the script for production.

“All we want to do is hear from people what they think about the script. As we already have a local broadcaster and distributor, we would like to have a more international view on the script to see what possibilities there are. We want to make it a lot more crossover, less solely arthouse,” Kanters points out.

Adds Van der Zanden: “These meetings will be with sales agents and script editors who are the most fruitful for us at this stage of the project.”

On director Schwab the pair are effusive, underlining that hers is a clear and distinct cinematic voice. “And she has an original and unique view on the world,” says Kanters.

“Even though she hasn’t made many films (her feature debut was with CONFETTI HARVEST in 2014), she has developed her own signature already, which is rather remarkable,” agrees Van der Zanden. “It is not just in her storytelling, it is about the look of the film. This feature really is her story. There is a lot of humour in it as well.”

The English-language film will (ideally) go into production in late 2019 ahead of delivery in 2020. The production pair have just applied for development finance to commence the process of casting (both English and international, but with a Dutch lead) and to secure a production designer soon.

The project has already received significant co-pro interest from Beluga Tree’s Diana Elbaum. Additionally Nordic countries are “very interested”, given Norwegian Schwab’s involvement. The Film Kitchen pair are also targeting Latvian studio capabilities. “The hotel has to be built in a studio so most of the film will be shot there. This means we can shoot in winter as well.”
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