Porfotto - Student Oscar Finalist
13 September 2020
Crime doesn't pay
In Porfotto, nominated for a Student Academy Award, the robbery may have gone off without a hitch, but the trio who committed it are far from seasoned criminals, and very soon they discover the downsides of sudden wealth accumulation.
Moreno, Kyon and Em are three young men from the depressed Spangen area of Rotterdam. Together they commit a night-time robbery, making good their getaway on delivery bikes, before determining to lay low for a while.
Em is the leader of the gang, older but living at home with a kid brother and an alcoholic mother. Kyon is a youngster and very headstrong, a boy who can barely contain himself when in possession of such amounts of money. Morrie is calmer, but he soon realises that checking into an expensive hotel, ordering champagne and watching porn on the large screen television isn't going to deliver happiness.
When Kyon starts to flash the cash in a bar, the leader of a Spangen gang, Daniël, sniffs the opportunity for a quick buck and violently robs the youngster, breaking his fingers and leaving him bloodied. But Kyon has been disrespected and is therefore determined to seek revenge. And he has a stolen gun in his possession...
"I grew up in the same neighbourhood as the boys in the movie. It was ghetto-like in the 90s, and really bad when I was there," explains director Edson da Conceicao. "So when I went to the film academy here in the Netherlands I wanted to make a movie that was about the place I grew up in, and to give the viewer a little bit of an insight into it, as well as into what kind of boys these are." The director concedes that the area has been cleaned up recently ("no more junkies and no more prostitution") but that problems of poverty still remain.
Da Conceicao went to the Netherlands Film Academy at the age of 27 after working for many years on film sets doing just about everything "other than direction", he says. Porfotto is his graduation film.
All main actors in the film put in very convincing and muscular performances, but Yannick Jozefzoon (Moreno) was the only established player (at least until now), having performed in numerous tv series and films. Dalorim Wartes (Em) bears a close similarity to fellow Dutch actor Marwen Kenzari, and shares his sense of brooding intensity, while Jhamal Emanuelson was a natural fit for Kyon.
"Jhamal has something natural about him. He also grew up in a family where he is the youngest, so translating that feeling to Kyon was very easy for him," says Da Conceicao. Rapper Jerry Armah is terrifying as the villain Daniël, but Da Conceicao maintains that one could not meet a nicer guy.
The film has been highly lauded since its premiere at the Keep an Eye Film Academy Film Festival at Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam. There it picked up the Topkapi Prize, before winning Best Student Live Action Film at the Silk Road International Film Festival (Dublin) in 2020. Right now, Porfotto is nominated for the Student Academy Awards, whose ceremony takes place on October 15 in Beverly Hills.
Da Conceicao is just about to complete a short for Dutch broadcast on NTR called The Last Ride, which he describes as "a small drama between two people in a car, growing towards each other." The film is made within the KORT! scheme, an initiative of NTR, the Film Fund and the CoBO Fund. He has also been selected to benefit from Videoland Academy support to make one of four 45-minute fiction films. The scheme is further supported by The Netherlands Film Fund, The Netherlands Film Festival, IDFA and IFFR.
"I am also developing seven features," the prolific director adds. "I hope at least one of them will get made."
Mid-September the Academy will announce the winners of the gold, silver or bronze medals at the Student Academy Awards.
-- End of press release --
For more information:
Contact: Nicky Onstenk
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences: www.oscars.org