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BERLINALE 2019: Dutch Talents

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Producer Loes Komen, Stefanie Kolk and Hugo Emmerzael will representat The Netherlands at Berlinale Talents 2019.

Loes Komen was the youngest member of her class, aged only 17, when she enrolled in the Dutch Film and Television Academy in 2012. Seven years later, the producer already has a wealth of experience.

"How to fail better" is the slogan for this year's Berlinale Talents. Komen thinks this should make for a rewarding programme. After all, as she points out, producers probably learn more from their mistakes than from their successes - and they have to have thick skins.

Komen didn't have any specialist knowledge of the film business when she applied to the Academy but she had watched Paris, Texas (one of her dad's favourite films) several times. At school, she had directed radio and theatre and had even made short documentaries. When she first visited the Film Academy for an open day, she immediately realised that "all the skills of what I like to do came together with film."

As soon as she left the Academy, Komen formed her own production company Room For Film with fellow graduate Eva Verweij. The company already has a student Oscar to its name for the short  When Grey is a Colour. While running the company, Komen has also been busy networking and learning. She worked as an intern for Waterland and then as a junior producer for N279 Entertainment, under the formidable Els Vandevorst, where she was heavily involved in the post production and release of epic Dutch western Brimstone.

Komen and Verweij make a successful double act. "We knew we wanted to produce together because we complement each other very nicely," she says. They are both pragmatic and realistic, and are spending time building up their catalogue of shorts and even radio plays before the leap into features.

As a writer-director, Stefanie Kolk is constantly told she has a highly unusual background for a filmmaker. Before she enrolled at the Film Academy, she studied biophysics. "I do feel that I think in a different way than a lot of people who started out in the film world," Kolk suggests. "Perhaps it's in the way I observe and notice things about human behaviour. Or perhaps it is because I still feel like a bit of an imposter, which has given me an outsider's perspective."

Kolk already has experience on the festival circuit. Her graduation film Clan and latest short Harbour both premiered in Locarno, and have been shown extensively in international film festivals. Her forthcoming short film Eyes on  the Road is a new take on the outsider's perspective, featuring three girls on a road trip who talk about a terrible tragedy that happened within the periphery of their friend group.
At Berlin she will be bring a new  feature project (drama) called Broccoli that she has been developing with New Amsterdam Film Company, about a group of teenage models from across the world sharing a house in Paris and trying to launch their careers. In debt, living on $5 a day and constant auditioning, most end up being sent home with nothing. In Berlin, she hopes to meet potential collaborators, "possibly a cinematographer and also maybe a screenwriter I could write with."

Alongside her own films, Kolk, who became a mum in October, is also active as a writer on other filmmakers' projects. "I am looking for people I can write with on the films that I direct and I am looking for directors that I can write for," she explains.

Hugo Emmerzael describes himself as an impassioned film critic, journalist, programmer and live speaker. He writes for the Dutch film magazine De Filmkrant and every month contextualizes a film for the film theatre 't Hoogt in a personal column. He gives cinema introductions, Q&A's and lectures in 't Hoogt, Het Nutshuis, EYE and other film theatres throughout the country.

"What I expect most from Berlinale Talents is to have an opportunity to introduce myself to the world and to be inspired by others, colleagues that I don't know yet that might be very inspiring or insightful in the way that they are chasing some of the same challenges that I am," he comments. "Which comes back to my ambitions which are to be better at what I do, to be more informed, more inspired, to get to know more people and get to see more films, and I think that Berlinale Talents will help me achieve that over the coming year."

SEE NL Magazine #34 November 2019 / Sundance, IFFR, Berlin and Clermont Ferrand issue
SEE NL is published four times per year by Eye International and The Netherlands Film Fund and is distributed to international film professionals.

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