Cannes: Another Round & Pleasure
17 June 2020
QUALITY ASSURED LABEL
Two Cannes selections with Dutch minority backing have garnered Cannes Label status in 2020. Topkapi's Frans van Gestel (Another Round) and Erik Glijnis of Lemming Film (Pleasure) talk to See NL.
Frans van Gestel of Dutch production powerhouse Topkapi Films knew from the outset that he wanted to be involved on Thomas Vinterberg's Another Round (Denmark). The company had successfully (and happily) co-produced the director's The Commune (2016), and when Van Gestel heard the pitch for the latest film he was hooked "by the brilliance and the simplicity of the idea."
With the new-found belief that a small but continual level of alcohol in their blood will open their minds up to the world, diminish their problems and increase their levels of creativity, four school teacher friends embark on an experiment to maintain a constant level of intoxication throughout the workday. It is a course of action not without consequences...
Another Round, supported by the Netherlands Film Fund, is scripted by Tobias Lindholm (The Commune, Borgen) and stars Mads Mikkelsen. "I immediately knew that Thomas Vinterberg could bring it home, and he did," says Van Gestel.
That said, there is no denying the acute disappointment the producer feels at the way events have panned out this year, rendering the Spring and early Summer festivals physically inaccessible.
"It's really, really sad when you have a strong film like this which would have been in Cannes, that it's not there," he comments. "My cinema heart is broken, but at the same time we know there are bigger problems in the world right now, and I am actually convinced that this film will find its way. It's a dramatic existential story on one hand - the meaning of my life at a certain age - and at the same time it is also very funny. The combination of those two elements fit perfectly for a post-Covid release."
Debutante feature filmmaker Ninja Thyberg pitched her project Pleasure at the Holland Film Meeting in 2016 before it continued on its BoostNL trajectory towards CineMart 2017.
The film is set in the American porn industry. Bella, a young and ambitious 20-year-old, travels from Sweden to Los Angeles with a dream to become the next big porn star.
Swedish actress Sofia Kappel plays the lead role, surrounded by a mostly authentic cast from the porn world. Pleasure is a film about ambition and feminism, set in one of the world's most patriarchal structures.
Lemming Film's Erik Glijnis was immediately impressed by the Utrecht pitch and the prospect of partnering up with Swedish Plattform Produktion for co-pro partnership. Together with Leontine Petit he was keen to follow progress on the project, especially given the previous work of director Thyberg and Plattform's track record (Force Majeure, 2014, The Square, 2017). Lemming came on board in 2017 and the film was supported by the Netherlands Film Fund. Other Dutch elements within the co-production are sound recording (Taco Drijfhout), sound-design (Vincent Sinceretti and Evelien van der Molen), and production design (Paula Loos).
"After meeting director Ninja Thyberg and producer Erik Hemmendorff we immediately were convinced that the desire to create Pleasure wasn't based on sensation, but on telling an emotional and powerful story. Director Thyberg had been researching the porn industry for years; her aim was to show the porn industry - which is an extremely big part of our culture and being consumed more than ever - from a female gaze," says Glijnis.
"We're extremely happy that the film is selected for the Cannes official selection, it's a powerful, relevant and daring debut that will open discussion on a parallel world that is part of our society, whether we like it or not."
For more information:
NL Co-prod: Topkapi Films
NL Co-prod: Lemming Film