Hanneke Niens • Producer
by Adriaan Pietersz
07/10/2008 - We met with the Dutch producer who looks back at how she secured financing for an ambitious project suited to Holland
Dutch producer Hanneke Niens, a 2003 Producer on the Move, has worked on a variety of projects both large and small. Her 2002 production Twin Sisters sold to 60 countries and was nominated for an Oscar. For Bride Flight [+see also:
film profile], she reunited the team behind that film for a new historical melodrama.
Cineuropa: Bride Flight reunites the team behind Twin Sisters. Where you looking for a new project for the same team?
Hanneke Niens: When you have what I call the key team – the director, screenwriter, producer - and working with them has been a very positive experience, you need to try and find a new project to reunite these people. It will then be possible to profit from the trust established before production even begins, and cross-pollination becomes possible. For this film, we were able to also reunite with the same investors and co-producers, including Luxembourg outfit Samsa Film, Dutch broadcaster NCRV, the Dutch Film Fund and the CoBo Fund. When your previous film was such a success, it makes it easier for everyone to start working on something new together.
What were the biggest differences, production-wise, between the two films?
The two biggest differences were the fact that with Bride Flight Marieke van der Pol created an original screenplay based on historical facts, whereas Twin Sisters was based on a bestseller, and the budget, which went from a little under €4m to around €6.5m, with half of the film shot literally on the other side of the planet.
The scale of the film is very unusual for a Dutch production.
It would have been simply impossible to shoot a project of this size without financing from abroad. We looked into getting funding from New Zealand. Their financing system gives rebates to foreign productions when the film is directed and written by New Zealanders, or when the film is shot there and spends over 7m there. We did not fit either model. We shot a lot of the film on various locations in New Zealand and shot the interiors in Luxembourg, which co-produced.
Will the marketing campaign for Bride Flight focus on different things than the one for Twin Sisters?
The two will be different because people know less about Bride Flight since it is an original screenplay. We have the trailer and other artwork, which shows off the production values and international look of the film, plus the fact that it stars some of the most well-known and respected Dutch actors. Plus, now we have the advantage of being able to say "from the makers of the Oscar-nominated film Twin Sisters". About ten days from the release date there will be a huge publicity output on TV, magazine and newspaper coverage and advertising, a publicity tour with the actors, special Ladies Nights, etc.
You produced the film with Anton Smit for IDTV Film, a company you co-founded nine years ago, but have since set up KeyFilm. What’s the biggest difference between the two companies?
IDTV Film had to grow, and took over Motel Film as part of their strategy. I was, at this stage of my career, more interested in working in a smaller structure, so I set up KeyFilm with Hans de Wolf, formerly producer and co-founder of Oscar-winning company Egmond Film. I felt like I was losing touch with the day-to-day reality of filmmaking, which I love, and had become more of a manager. With KeyFilm, I will focus on a smaller-scale company with auteur-driven productions and international co-productions.