by Vitor Pinto
- Dutch producer Janneke Doolaard set up the Amsterdam-based production house KeyDocs to produce quality documentaries for cinema and television
In late 2009, Janneke Doolaard joined forces with fellow producers Hanneke Niens and Hans de Wolf to set up the Amsterdam-based KeyDocs to produce quality documentaries for cinema and television. This year she will be jetting off to Cannes to take part in the Producers on the Move programme. Doolaard's credits as producer have included Ramon Gieling's About Canto, Klaas Bense's One Fine Day, the local box-office hit Erbarme Dich – Matthäus Passion Stories, as well as co-producing the Swedish Gertten brothers' critically acclaimed Becoming Zlatan.
Cineuropa: As a producer specialising in documentaries how do you see the state of the genre in the current Dutch and European industries? Is it still seen as the "poor cousin" of the industry?
Janneke Doolaard: As in all European countries, the Dutch cultural sector is under pressure. At the same time important cross-border issues mean that we have to find each other more than ever. The timing of the Netherlands production incentive – the tax shelter we now have in our country, which is accessible to all genres, including documentaries – is perfect. It makes us more appealing to other European producers, who, thanks to the fact we are a company with a broad vision, know how to find me more and more. Combined with the cross-border issues this “cousin” should be less poor soon.
In the latest decade the line between documentary and fiction became increasingly blurry. How do you personally relate to that trend? Do you think it will last or will documentary return to its “purest”/original style?
From the beginning my business has gone hand in hand with a fiction department, so there has been some cross-pollination from fiction into documentary and vice-versa. It shaped me as a producer. Even my second film was a mix of different genres. Ever since I have been interested in hybrid projects, not because of crossing borders or different genres in itself, but I believe every story has its own, unique form: anything goes if it works.
I imagine your mailbox must be full of projects. What catches your eye? What would make a project suitable to be in KeyDocs’ line-up?
Within KeyDocs I focus on projects that combine relevance with an original visual style. The filmmaker’s artistic vision is key. From an international point of view KeyDocs's interest is wide ranging – Becoming Zlatan is a good example from a more commercial point of view.
Erbarme Dich – Matthäus Passion Stories is one of the recent KeyDocs successful releases. What attracted you to this project and how was its development?
Ebarme Dich is a film by Ramon Gieling, with whom KeyDocs has produced several films already. Gieling applies the dramatic tools of fiction. How “real” does the recorded reality have to be to be true? He puts visual language first, sometimes with innovative consequences. We had a French international sales agent attached.
What new projects are you taking with you in your luggage to Cannes?
I have one, of which I am particularly fond: In the Arms of Morpheus by Marc Schmidt, the award-winning director of Matthew’s Law. It’s a daring documentary trying to capture the mental state of sleep. We are co-producing it with Associate Directors (Belgium) and KRO-NCRV (The Netherlands), with support from the Netherlands Film Fund. Local distribution will be handled by ABC Cinemien. We have a budget of €595,662. To support the international theatrical release, we are developing the immersive experience Dream on Demand. Both online and live action events plunge the visitor into the world of dreams and aim to unlock the world of sleep to everyone, in order to increase the involvement of the intended audiences. We are also looking for financial partners for Dream on Demand.