Production with a finger on the pulse
by Boyd van Hoeij
Jeroen Beker (together with Frans van Gestel) founded and runs Dutch production company Motel Films, which produces "auteur" and audience films "with a finger on the pulse"
Cineuropa: What is your company philosophy?
Jeroen Beker: We like to produce "auteur"-driven artistical projects that should attract worldwide attention, especially through presence at the major festivals. We also like to produce bigger, more commercial projects with Dutch writers/directors of note, where we try to make quality films for the widest possible audience. It is another way of working, but just as much fun.
Through funding such projects as "Route 2000" and now "De Oversteek", you give young talents the possibility to show what they can do on film. Are upcoming Dutch talents given enough chances to properly develop themselves?
There is a chronic lack of funding that prevents a proper development of policy. But we have enough talent, though perhaps not a big enough necessity to tell good stories. However, if Denmark is able to do it with five million inhabitants and with a €40 million budget, than Dutch cinema, with a bigger budget, should also be able to differentiate itself. Producers pay too much attention to who is "hot" now and forget to think about the long term. One should invest more in talent and let them make a few films. People are looking for the new Tarantino again and again, but the Dardenne brothers also had a few films under their belt before they became successful. Talent can come early but still needs to be nurtured.
Recent Dutch box office successes have all been geared towards children and youngsters. What could be done to attract more adult cinema-goers?
We should pay more attention to the wishes of the 30-years-plus audience. The film Twin Sisters proves that the grown-up audience can be seduced. We hope that our upcoming co-production Black Book and the romcom Alles is liefde will show that we are capable of making quality films for an adult audience.
How did the production of Northern Light go –and is it a typical Motel Films production?
Typically Motel. Involved, sensitive. Made-to-measure. Gutsy (the only "Oversteek" film on 35mm). We worked closely with the director at every stage; supporting him and letting him find his way. With people that he trusts or with people that really fit this particular project, but keeping a finger on the pulse. And the final product should be pro: outstanding images, excellent sound. A film that could be watched the world over. And should be!
Northern Light [+see also:
interview: David Lammers
interview: Jeroen Beker
film profile] got good reviews when it was presented at the recent Rotterdam Film Festival. What is your marketing strategy for its Dutch release?
The film will be on eight screens in the big cities starting April 20 and has also been submitted for Cannes. We hope to have positive news about the film’s presence there in the first week of its release here, which would help publicity-wise; something like a Guernsey [+see also:
film profile] effect [the Dutch "Oversteek" film that was selected for the Director’s Fortnight last year]. We will also try to capitalise on the positive reports in the media (we have a lot of interview requests for David) and mouth-to-mouth advertising. Internationally, we need a proper take-off; Cannes could help getting international attention, a sales agent and, hopefully, sales.