First-time director Laura Hermanides currently filming The White Flash in Amsterdam
- The movie, which is based on a true story, deals with the sensitive subject of when euthanasia is requested in order to put an end to psychological suffering
After writing and directing several short films and documentaries, Dutch newcomer Laura Hermanides is now shooting her debut fiction feature, backed by production company Family Affair Films, which is known for championing up-and-coming filmmakers with a strong, auteur-driven vision. The project was developed with the support of the Netherlands Film Fund in 2020 and applied for production support in 2021, receiving €450,000 in funding. The Amsterdam Fund for the Arts granted it an additional €25,000, while the rest of the financing came from a crowdfunding campaign, support from Swiss distributor Innovative EYE and from Family Affair Films itself. The movie has thus amassed a total budget of just over €500,000. The shooting period will last 19 days, with the Osdorp district of Amsterdam, in the western part of the city, serving as a primary filming location.
The movie tells a true family story rooted in a very authentic, almost forgotten working-class environment in Amsterdam, pushed out of the city centre to the low-rise outskirts. The script focuses on 42-year-old Rick, who, after a long and torturous history of psychiatric problems, has finally received a confirmed date for the requested and much-desired humane termination of his life, which has been full of suffering. The question hovering over this difficult situation is whether his parents will be able to let him go, out of their love for him.
Hermanides reveals that there are true events behind The White Flash. It took her nine years of research before she arrived at this final version of the script, which she wrote together with Roelof Jan Minneboo. The development process took this long because they wanted to do justice to the characters while respecting the privacy of the real people who lived this story themselves. “The theme of loving parents letting go as the utmost sacrifice is an important document to add to the philosophical debate. While making this film, I also ask myself: I support the theory, but does it stand up to the complex reality of it all? Are we capable of overcoming our own instincts of wanting to hold on?” Hermanides wonders in her director’s statement.
Producer Chris Stenger confirms the thematic importance of the film, both artistically and socially: “Even if the Netherlands is one of the few countries where euthanasia is legal, the procedure for psychiatric patients is still taboo. This is partly due to the minimal attention paid to the subject in the media. With The White Flash, we hope to contribute to the discussion and to raise awareness of the subject by producing an intimate and emotional film.”
DoP Myrthe Mosterman, who has worked on other movies produced by Family Affair Films, such as Urszula Antoniak’s Splendid Isolation [+see also:
interview: Urszula Antoniak
film profile], is behind the camera, while the main roles are entrusted to actors Renée Soutendijk (The Claus Family) and Raymond Thiry (Quo vadis, Aida? [+see also:
interview: Jasmila Žbanić
film profile], Penoza: The Final Chapter [+see also:
film profile]) as the parents, and Sanne den Hartogh (Feast [+see also:
interview: Tim Leyendekker
film profile]), stepping into the shoes of Rick.
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