BoostNL Interview: WHEN WE LOST TO THE GERMANS

It is a film title that would resonate with most film industries across Europe, given the footballing prowess of Germany, but it has a particular poignancy for the Dutch for whom the World Cup final defeat of 1974 is etched into the collective consciousness. Guido van Driel’s new drama, ostensibly aimed at kids aged 8-12 but sure to garner adult interest as well, may be set on the day after the footballing disaster, but focusses instead on two young boys whose friend Heleen has disappeared.“In one sense it reminds me of the kind of films I saw when I was a kid,” explains producer Floor Onrust of Amsterdam-based Family Affair Films. “I have the feeling that in the early 80’s the films had heavier subjects. And I remember crying a lot because they were so emotional, films in which difficult things were happening to children. I miss that now when I see how we try to protect them too much.”She further points out however that what really turned her head was when screenwriter/director/graphic novelist Guido van Driel handed her the graphic novel that contained the story. “It is just a beautiful book, not just the story but the drawings. He was already working on the screenplay when he showed me the book.”Onrust intends to make the most of the Boost NL opportunity as she attempts to determine (with industry colleagues) how hybrid a film project really can be. “Being a mum who watches a lot of films with my daughter I know that I prefer it if I also like them. In that sense I think we can address both audiences with this film. But still it is slippery - I know that it is. And also Guido, I think he is not necessarily making a film for kids or for any specific audience, he is making the film he wants to make, so I want to step in to help if we begin to lose one audience or another. That is my aim at Boost NL, to get a lot feedback and to see if there is a border that you cannot cross for one audience or another.”She adds: “Guido has been working on this script for a long time, so I think it will be good for him to receive fresh input on it. And not just in the border between kids and adult films. Also the tension in this film is completely different. It is all set in one day, and so it is a slower pace. There are a lot of things we need to be aware of it when we are making something special, but also we need to know what are the things we need to avoid.”So far, the Boost NL experience for Family Affair has been very positive. In 2017 she looked to iron out difficulties on Boris Paval Conen’s The Hague Hilton. “It helped us tremendously to develop the last draft of the script, because we talked with many people, especially from the former Yugoslavian region who gave us so much input. Not necessarily potential co-producers but people with their thoughts and ideas, who offered contacts and numbers for other people who would be able to help. We got a lot of extra information that helped us eventually get the script funded for production.”
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