POST PROFILE: WARNIER POSTA
Right now WarnierPosta is frantically busy. The leading Dutch audiopost facility for film and high-end TV is finishing work on one of its most ambitious projects yet, Burhan Qurbani's epic new version of Berlin Alexanderplatz , writes Geoffrey Macnab.
In addition, the company has just completed post- on Iranian director's Siamak Etemadi's Greekset feature Pari. Through its Belgian studio, Cinenumerique in Antwerp, it has been working on Michalis Konstantatos' All The Pretty Little Horses. Meanwhile, the company has been mixing Halina Reijn's debut drama Instinct, starring Carice van Houten, and The Tree by South-African director Louw Venter.
On the face of it, it appears as if business is booming for the company that studio musician and bass player Peter Warnier formed back in 1993. Thanks to the Netherlands' Film Production Incentive introduced in 2014, the country's post-production sector has been enjoying a sustained revival. With a 35% cash rebate as a potential dowry, the Dutch are again attractive as potential co-production partners.
The company splits its work three ways: a third is Dutch projects, a third is high-end TV and a third is international co-production. Although the order book is full, Warnier expresses concern about the size of the movies the company is attracting. Big Hollywood films like Dunkirk and The Goldfinch were attracted to the Netherlands but didn't complete their postproduction in the country. While high-end TV dramas are being made, the feature films that Warnierposta is servicing tend to be smaller art house films. As Warnier notes, not so many features with budgets over €5 million are either shooting or doing their post- in the Netherlands. Projects of the size of Berlin Alexanderplatz are the exception, not the rule.
But there is a silver lining. Warnier was one of the founder members last year of the Netherlands Post Production Alliance (NPA), the new trade body bringing together 15 Dutch digital imaging, sound design and visual effects studios. The NPA recently commissioned a report from research company, Olsberg SPI. Due to be published later this summer, the report is expected to confirm a lowering of budgets on films shooting in the Netherlands but a significant increase in the volume of production.
"The Netherlands used to be a television country but we are making more and more good films," Warnier says. "We learn a lot from all these co-productions and from working with foreign talent."
Alongside the audiopost facility, Warnier also has his own production company, Wild at Art. He is involved as a co-producer in most of Sergei Loznitsa's films, co-produced David Verbeek's Full Contact and came aboard as one of the minor investors in Berlin Alexanderplatz. This ensures filmmakers are given all the time they need to their audiopost - and that the other producers won't try to cut corners during this part of the process.
WarnierPosta has invested heavily in its Dolby Atmos mixing stage and studios. It's now a far bigger business than it was when Warnier launched it in the early 1990s. Back then, it was a one man band.
Early in his career, he worked with director Mike van Diem on sound design for the Oscar-winning student short Alaska, and also worked with Van Diem on the feature Character (1998), again an Oscar winner. Since then, he has been involved with Golden Calf, Golden Bear and Golden Lion winners. Whatever wariness he feels about the lack of big budget projects shooting in the Netherlands, he is more optimistic now about the state of the local industry than he has been for a long time.
He credits Doreen Boonekamp, CEO of the Netherlands Film Fund, as one of the figures who has transformed the sector. "I've known her for a long time and she has always been very open to the position of the post-production companies in the Netherlands. She was very involved in getting the cash rebate done...we owe her a lot!"
SEE NL Magazine #35 May 2019 / Cannes - Annecy Issue
SEE NL is published four times per year by Eye International and The Netherlands Film Fund and is distributed to international film professionals.