Joost Reijmers

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Synopsis: Bad luck connects three men together even though they live in different centuries.

Where did the idea come from?
That’s a very good question. I didn’t write the screenplay. I was asked to direct this film for the Digital Effects program of the Film Academy of Holland. The script had already been written by one of my best friends. He had already showed it to me and I thought it was amazing. Basically, the whole thing was already there but over the course of time a lot of things changed and it turned into the film that it is today.

You must read a lot of short film scripts but unless you wrote it yourself, I don’t see how you would “get it”. What did you see when you read this that you loved?
The screenwriter and I are very good friends and we’ve been working together for four years now. So I really get his sense of humor and when he writes in a certain way, I instantly get what he means. The thing about this film is that, obviously, the timeline is extremely complicated. It starts in present time and jumps back further and further. That was something I hadn’t seen that much of in short films. We both love films like Pulp Fiction that screw around with timelines. I thought this could be something really special if we found a way to visualize this in an interesting way.

What did you learn from making this film?
The way we made this film, using storyboards and other visualization techniques instead of just words, to bang out the story was really an eye opener. I always liked drawing boards but never really looked at them. And then we digitized them and put them in a timeline and really started to see how it all works in a timeline. I will be using those technique for the rest of my career.

The sets were very lavish. While I was watching, I was thinking: “How can this guy not afford to send me his film, look at this set!” (Laughter.)
(Laughter) Yes, well, I didn’t pay for the film myself. That’s the thing. (Laughter) It was made on a very small film academy budget but the way we used the animatic and the storyboards really helped us figure out per second what we were going to see. We really budgeted right down to the dot what sets we were going to need. All the sets you see, move them one inch to the left or the right and there’s nothing there. Each set is built to exactly the shot we need as opposed to building an entire set and using ten percent of it, which is what you usually do in film.

How long did it take to shoot?
Ten days and that is very lavish for a short film like this. I think if you calculate in hours we did it in about eight days. In the studio at the film academy, some things were done completely digitally of course. Some things were done on location with green screen. Some things were done completely on location. We began filming in March but we already had done a lot of 3D work, of course. The film was finished in June, so the real postproduction took about three to four months, I think.

What do you want people to take away from this film after seeing it?
That’s a good one. It’s kind of like a Butterfly Effect: you don’t really know what kind of effects your actions may have. You never know what’s around the corner. Very small things that you don’t take notice of can really change your life in big ways. We took it to the absurd and extreme but you can also apply that in a very romantic or destructive sense. People have a plan in life but from this moment to the next it can turn around in a good way or in a bad way. Just be part of the moment, that’s it really.

You seem to have done a nice job of casting.
Oh thank you. The casting was very offhand. Since there is no dialogue in the film, I thought: “Just get me the right facial features and I will direct them properly.” It is really like what Milos Forma, director of Amadeus, said “If you can get at least each face to be different from the next one and make no overlaps in character, you have got an interesting looking picture. And all they have to do is face forward properly.” That really rang true. I try to use that idea in my casting ever since.

What advice do you have for someone who’s about to make their first short film?
Don’t listen to anyone but yourself. If you feel something is off, just think of a way you would solve that problem as opposed to listening to other opinions around you. Think of what the problem is, then think of the solution. As long as you stay true to yourself, then you are going to be at least different from the rest, as opposed to blending in with the rest. Be different and be interesting.

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