top of page

19th ÉCU Film Festival, Paris

"The collaboration with Alain, who is a professional gaffer, was perfect, because he has the same way of working."

Festival Screening:


April 13, 2024  
& Tobias

Who is the mysterious writer with the alias 'Wolf Jacobs'? And why is someone desperate to prevent the publishing of his latest book?


Hi Oscar & Tobias, thank you for taking the time to talk with The New Current. Are you looking forward to screening Alias Wolf at ÉCU this April?


It is always very special, but also frightening, to have your film shown for one of the first times, especially in a cinema. 

What does it mean to you to have your film Alias Wolf in the European Dramatic Feature category?


We are very honoured to be selected. ÉCU is very dear to us and we don’t take anything for granted. We know there are so many good independent films out there.


How important are festivals like ÉCU in continuing to champion and supporting independent films and filmmakers?


It is crucial that quality independent festivals like ÉCU exist. The film world is very tough already, but independent productions usually mean less money, which means less promotion etc. But also most of the times, the independent film doesn’t have the backing of a national film fund that has all the contacts with the larger more commercial film festivals. 

Alias Wolf has been nominated for the Jury Award Best Director and Best Script at the 2024 Snowdance Independent Film Festival. Did you imagine your film would get this type of reaction?


The reactions at Snowdance were more than great. We were honoured for the nominations. Especially for best script, because it’s a complex story that had a lot of rewrites, even during shooting. 

You’ve both worked together before but this is the first time you’ve co-directed a film. How much did this past creative relationship help guide your approach to making Alias Wolf? 


I guess we are fortunate that we have no feelings of competition towards each other as brothers. In previous projects we always found our own area to work in. While directing Alias Wolf we naturally developed a collaboration where we complemented each other and gave each other enough space.


Can you tell me a little bit about how Alias Wolf came about, what inspired your screenplay?


We’ve made a few (short) films and a documentary with writers and poets. So we got to know the atmosphere and characters of the writer's world a bit. But we also grew up in The Netherlands in a period with more eccentric personalities like writers, journalists etc. than we see nowadays. We wanted to capture that in this film because we think some of this authenticity will disappear. Even if those characters are very self aware and can be annoying. The plot is written like a whodunnit, where in the end you perhaps still don’t know who is the writer behind the pseudonym Wolf Jacobs.


When working for your own screenplay how close do you like to stick to it, do you give yourself or your actors much flexibility?


The language was very important, especially because it is about writers. We gave the actors more room to develop their own way of speaking. We are very grateful to have incredible actors on this film that really worked with us on the dialogues. 


Tobias how did you go about creating the music for Alias Wolf, did being a co-director give you different insights into how you wanted the music to be?


I had ideas for the music being on set, some of those ideas made it to the final score but we tried a lot of different moods before deciding what worked  best. It’s fascinating to see how music helps change your perception of the images and tempo of the scenes, co-directing the film definitely influences that process.


Oscar: As well as writing and co-directing Alias Wolf you also handled the cinematography with Alain Jongen. Much like the creative relationships between you and Tobias, how important is the creative collaboration between you and Alain when working on a film like this?


I shot our first feature film ‘Vanitas’ by myself and was DOP on several other short films and another feature. But for Alias Wolf I wanted to focus more on directing. The collaboration with Alain, who is a professional gaffer, was perfect, because he has the same way of working. He would watch the rehearsals with me and Tobias and then figure out how to block a scene. His experience with lighting was a huge benefit to get the right mood to the interior scenes. Alain also doesn’t have a big ego so it was never a problem to discuss my ideas or when occasionally I would shoot and Alain would pull focus. It worked out great, and I will give most of the credits to Alain.


What was the hardest scene for you to shoot?


The talk show scenes were hard to shoot because we had the studio for one day only and had to shoot two long scenes with a lot of extras for the audience. We needed to create enough time to work with the actor Kris Cuppens and Jenne, because these were key scenes for their characters.

Looking back now is there anything you would have done differently on this film?


Of course there is always something that we would like to have done differently. I guess if we had more budget, we could have shown more of the scale of the media mogul’s empire. 


Where did your passion for filmmaking come from, and what have been the biggest changes you’ve seen in your work since your debut film?


For me (Oscar) it started very early when I found old 8mm cameras, projectors and films from my grandfather. Unfortunately he died before I was born, so I never had a chance to talk to him about filmmaking. The biggest change I see since our first films is the way we can work with the actors. 


For me (Tobias) before becoming a painter, in my childhood I’ve always written and drawn comic strips, at the same time I became interested in the many different ways movies are made. Later,  when I began helping Oscar with his projects, I realised that I was already somewhat trained in certain domains by those stories I made as a child and adolescent because there are a lot of similarities. Gradually I felt I became more at ease in this medium.


What does your work say about you and the way you see the world?


We think that we always want to show something authentic in our films. Things that might vanish in these times of social media, where things can be very shallow and volatile.


Looking back at your career what would you say you’re most proud of?


We’re the most proud that we were able to make two feature films so far with a relatively low budget, completely independent from film fundings or other producers. From the first film, we started our own production company, now with my close friend and artist Willemijn de Krey as main producer. We were able to raise enough money to finance these films.

Best advice you could offer anyone wanting to get into filmmaking?


At first it is very hard to have enough confidence to follow your instinct in making key decisions. While making a film you meet with lots of chaos, surprises, different opinions about how to proceed and doubts in your abilities but we’ve learned that very often your first ideas and choices  often work out best so you have to find a balance in learning from those other views, trying to be flexible and trusting your own judgment and creativity. 

And finally, what is the message you would like your audiences to take from Alias Wolf?


In a way, Alias Wolf is about an artist, a writer in this case, who finds a way to fight against the big corporate powers and might be able to win if he uses his talent. In short, “The pen is mightier than the sword”.

bottom of page