Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
After my graduation at the Academy of fine arts in Maastricht I worked as an all-round freelancer in film and video. After some time I got this idea and an itch to simply make my first personal short, which became my directional debut, Mischa. The story of Mischa is a tragic story about a young Russian cosmonaut who gets launched into space, while his journey to the moon takes place its main focus lies on his relationship with his father.
The short was made with a lot of help from Cinesud and the people attached to it, together we made this short what it is today. Mischa is currently shown on filmfestivals all around the world has multiple nominations and has won about 4 awards. While I cannot visit every festival where it is screened at, I am happy for our main character (Mischa) that he can still travel all around the world even after the demise of the soviet union 25 years ago.
At the moment I work at Cinesud and hope to help other filmmakers as Cinesud helped me and to keep on building and expanding our film culture. Next to this I am currently working on two new projects. One is currently in production and is called Kalinka. It’s a short about a guy who doesn’t notice that his Tetris-addiction overtakes his reality until, well you will have to see.
The other project, called Limburgia, takes place in a world where the European union fell apart in tiny micro-countries. It centers around one man, a border control agent who works at the Limburgian border of Mukkebummele. This project is currently in its financing stage and although it is going to be a fictional comedy it is looking more and more like non-fiction after the Brexit.
What do you consider your distinctive achievement?
While making “Mischa” the way we did certainly was an achievement, I have to emphasise that I did not do it all by myself. I had the luck to get a group of people together who worked on it with passion and joy. That being said, bringing a Russian spoken sci-fi film set in the 1960’s of the soviet union to life in this province could be considered a distinctive achievement.
The will to keep improving on things, the passion for the art/craft is however something that I recognise in the people I work with and in myself as a driving force. Showing what can be done if you put your mind to it, come up with ridiculous stories, build elaborate sets, put a man on the moon!
What are you looking forward to?
For myself I’m looking forward to be able to make the films and tell the stories that I really want to tell and make. I’m trying to do that right now but of course in the beginning the options and materials are limited and I hope this will grow in the future.
Limburg and the region are currently developing a real film culture and industry, we have a newly created initiative called the “limburgs film fonds” and a Limburgian film commissioner. So it should become easier in the future. A lot of filmmakers are waiting for it to become fully developed but that will only happen if we actually develop it and make films. So while I am looking forward to a huge film industry in the region, I will not be stopped making the films that I want to make the way I make them.
Which advice would you give to other professionals?
Collaborate! Reach out to others and work together. Doesn’t matter if you are a painter, sculptor, illustrator, photographer, performer, filmmaker, etc. Work together and make it bigger and better. This is harder if it’s a personal project because you are opening yourself in a way to someone but it’s certainly worth it. Off course this is not always a financial viable option, but even talking to others about your project can help you and your project reach the next level.
What are the challenges we need to overcome to make cultural entrepreneurship more accessible?
Reaching out to each other is one part of it and so is being seen. There are a lot of artists and filmmakers alike that make something and put it away, never to be seen by the public. Which is a shame, because why did you even start working on it.
Even if you think that it’s not as good as it could be, get it out there! Striving for perfection is always good, but as a maker it’s almost impossible to reach. There’s always this tiny detail that is wrong in your eyes, but those other people won’t know! You could still inspire others and be interesting for the cultural landscape of people making things themselves.
Secondly, be seen! Get out there! Show your face! Present your work! Don’t hide!
Put yourself and your work out there, don’t lock yourself and your work up!
Picture by Dennis de Pijper.