BERLINALE 2020: EN ROUTE
Dutch short En Route has been selected for Generation Kplus.
Marit Weerheijm’s En Route is a film made from a child’s perspective dealing with a major social problem. Without giving away any of the plot, poverty and hunger lie at the root of this very moving tale of a family’s journey through a city. The film is supported by KORT! (Film Fund, CoBO fund, NTR and NPO Fund).
“When you approach such difficult subjects and themes from the point of view of a young child, we might see things differently. It definitely adds some lightness to the stories,” comments director Weerheijm. “I think it’s beautiful that children don’t know everything about this world, but they do want to know everything about it. That is the same curiosity that makes a filmmaker.
“For me, this makes children the best main characters because they can translate all these questions that I have about the world into a storyline, into a film. Plus, I love working with children on set. You never know what you’re going to get, but when it happens, when they deliver, it can be the truest thing you’ve seen in a long time.”
Weerheijm came to prominence in 2016 with her brilliant short When Grey is a Colour, produced by partner Loes Komen for their joint company Room for Film, which won a Student Oscar in 2017. Has her style evolved since then? “I don’t know if it has changed much but I do think it evolved because of more experience. En route has a few similarities with When Grey is a Colour. They both tell the story of a young girl, a child’s perspective, and they both tell stories about difficult subjects, taboos even. What was new for me was writing the script all by myself. The result was that I had complete flexibility on set, especially with dialogue. I had written dialogue, but I also did improvisations and that worked really well with the kids.”
And what next for Weerheim? “After writing En Route I realized that I had written that script from my gut feeling. I really loved writing it, but I also felt like I didn’t have all the knowledge and the tools to yet write a feature film,” she comments.
“These past six months I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to keep learning as a director. I did an internship at the International Theatre Amsterdam to see how directors in theatre have weeks to work through a script with the actors. That is something that I sometimes miss in making films, time to rehearse, time to get to know the actors and for them to get to know their characters. Right now, I am planning to learn more about writing. Meanwhile, I’m working on a few ideas for feature films and I’m working on a very short film with an experimental twist.”
SEE NL Magazine #38 January 2020 / IFFR, Berlin & Clermont-Ferrand Issue
SEE NL is published four times per year by Eye andd The Netherlands Film Fund and is distributed to international film professionals.