Toine, Iris and their 9-year-old son Jacco seek the hilly and picturesque south of The Netherlands for a weekend of quality time and relaxation. Toine - clearly the self-proclaimed head of the family - starts to behave erratically. His manners seem to look out of place in these idyllic surroundings.
Hi Jan, thanks for talking to TNC, how is everything going?
I am doing very well, thanks for asking.
Wild is part of the CineSud Shorts: New Dutch Talent selection what does it mean to be bringing your film to Cannes?
Yes, correct, Cinesud - also the co-producer of this film - gave me the opportunity to experience the Cannes Film Festival. I am very happy to go there and also very curious since this is the first time I’m attending a market at a film festival. To me it means meeting new people, doing some networking, some partying, and maybe I can get some attending programmer of another festival interested in watching my film at the market screening Cinesud organized.
Will there be any nerves ahead of the festival or are you just taking it all in your stride?
No, I’m actually not nervous at all. I am not taking part in any competition, so there’s not much to be nervous about. But in case people attend the market screening and I’m presenting my film to an audience, that always makes me nervous.
During the premiere of my film last April at the Imagine Film Festival, I wanted to disappear, like hiding in the toilet or something, until the screening was over.
What do you hope to take away from your time at Cannes?
I would be very happy if some festival programmers would watch my film during the screening, or just hear or read about it and become curious and decide the film would suit their festival and select it.
Can you tell me a little bit about Wild, how did this film come about?
Yes, WILD is about an egocentric man who gets confronted with new rules that apply in this new beautiful world he enters. Here everything is in harmony, so his misdemeanour falls out of place. In the end, a certain balance will be restored.
In this beautiful world, there is simply no room for assholes. For some time I had this idea to make a short film about a man who keeps his surroundings in his grasp by misusing his powerful position in society.
In the same period, I was trying to put something about this subject on paper, the #MeToo discourse started. It immediately became clear that this was a turning point. So for me, it was impossible not to implement this in the story. Though I never intended to make a film specifically about sexual misbehaviour, in a more general way, about male dominance and how old standards suddenly become not so standard anymore.
"While I was graduating I was mostly focussing on ‘am I able to tell a story’ whereas now it is more about ‘what story do I NEED to tell and how do I keep developing my own style’."
What was the most challenging part of bringing Wild to life?
The most challenging part was the production itself. We did not have a big budget and we were shooting at the most southern point of The Netherlands, had some animals, guns and a lot of different locations (some difficult to reach). We had to cram the shooting schedule in just three shooting days, so we had to shoot fast.
What have been the important lessons you've taken from making Wild?
Most important lesson: never write cows in a script. We were shooting this scene with a bunch of cows in a field somewhere. And they supposed to have this encounter with the main actor. Cows are stubborn. They didn’t listen to me. So, in the end, that scene didn’t work at all and got cut.
Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?
Since I was 12 years old I had this passion for filmmaking. I saw Braveheart for the first time, and it had a profound impact on me (hey, I was 12 ;) Ever since I got completely hooked on cinema. But only when I was 20 years old I decided to really go for it.
How much has your approach to your films changed since your debut film?
My approach to filmmaking hasn’t changed that much since my debut film. That’s because I made my debut film A Man Falls From The Sky in 2017. But there is a day and night difference in approach between my graduation film and my most recent; Wild. While I was graduating I was mostly focussing on ‘am I able to tell a story’ whereas now it is more about ‘what story do I NEED to tell and how do I keep developing my own style’.
Is there any advice you've been given that's stuck with you?
Yes, a well-known Dutch director told me once that you should accept the fact that you're making your film three times over (writing, shooting, editing). That means, for example, open up your mind when new things happen you didn’t write, but spring to life during editing. So that also could be advice for fellow filmmakers.
But actually, I feel very uncomfortable giving advice, as I am still a filmmaker that is just starting out. I mean, what do I know?!
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Wild
When people watch Wild I really hope it will make them laugh and shock them in equal measure.