Trent • NFI
by Boyd van Hoeij
02/05/2012 - Mono-monikered Dutch producer Trent has made a name for himself as a producer of small independent features, through his company Netherlands Film Institute (NFI), including Can Go Through Skin (Berlinale Forum) and Hunting & Sons (New Directors/New Films). He co-produced this year’s Argentinean Cannes Special Screening Villegas.
Cineuropa: How did you become involved in production?
I started as a production manager assistant and gradually grew into producing because I thought I could do it better than the people I worked for. The secret for me is the people I work with. If we are all on the same level, it’s the world’s best job. So I try to be on the same level as the cast and crew, starting with the writers and directors. Creating and stimulating the entire team is one of this job’s most important and fulfilling aspects.
To what extent is producing in the Netherlands the same as everywhere else?
I think we don’t really have a 'Dutch' way of producing, because I’ve discovered that my way is different from most of my colleagues. I work on lower budgets, with smaller crews, on fewer titles and spend more time in development. Every producer has his own style. The difference isn’t in the country but in the people. As in every aspect of filmmaking, the most important thing is to find filmmakers with the same idea of filmmaking. So I’m looking for European co-producers who have a similar idea of working. I hope to find some within the 'Producers on the Move' group.
How do your films fit into the Dutch cinema landscape?
They fall into the range of risk-taking films, in terms of content, shooting, cast, development, script and budget. Unfortunately, not enough films like this are made because it’s harder to develop them and find partners. Too few movies are made away from mediocrity; films that explore cinematic language with stories that have a personal urgency. I aim to make authentic films that make us think, provoke and challenge us. As every story has already been told, it's not about the story but the way it's told.
How did you become involved as a co-producer of Villegas?
I am very proud that it has been selected for Cannes. I’ve been involved since 2010, when I met producer Benjamin Domenech. We talked about the script and applied for Hubert Bals Fund support, then shot the film in the beginning of 2011 and did the sound mix in the Netherlands. I didn’t feel any real differences between co-producing inside or outside of Europe.
What are you working on now?
I am working with Marcel Visbeen on Bliss, about five youngsters living in a European city. We are looking for European co-producers and hope to shoot in early 2013. With Sander Burger I am working on Into the Flame, about Russian master pianist Youri Egorov, a musician who defected from the Soviet Union and ended up in libertine Amsterdam in the 1980s, during the AIDS epidemic. The project has backing from Dutch Film Fund, AVRO, Benelux Film Distributors and MEDIA. We aim to complete financing in 2013 with aid from Ilann Girard from Arsam International. Another project I’m excited about is When the Fucking Spring Is In the Air by Danyael Sugawara and Heleen Suer. It’s a genuine European co-production, a feel-good road movie about a Pole named Kasia, who embarks on a coming-of-age trip to her parents in Germany and the Netherlands.
Producers on the move is an initiative of the EUROPEAN FILM PROMOTION