Keeping to the script

Franz Rodenkirchen and Françoise Von Roy of Berlin-based script consultancy Solace23 spoke to IFFR PRO online about their positive experience in assisting with the script development of the 2017/2018 BoostNL projects.

By Nick Cunningham

"The three projects that I have worked on since Utrecht have been a real pleasure. It has [much] to do with the connection between the filmmakers and their work, and the urgency with which they really want to tell or communicate what it is in this project that is going to become a film," said Von Roy.

"I completely agree and it was really good to see and hear that everybody had a personal connection with their project and therefore really keen on seeing how we communicate and how we can contribute to that," commented Rodenkirchen. "This type of connection is a [precious] quality… We only had people who very much engaged and really wanted the feedback. It was a very pleasurable atmosphere, and really enjoyable also."

Director Zhengfan Yang (BoostNL project: The Stranger) was one of the writers who received the consultancy treatment from Von Roy. "It was extremely productive and fruitful because she is the only one who has followed all the different drafts, and every time we do something new, with changes, she gave very helpful feedback. Which is why I am looking forward to meeting her again and again."

The consultants are keen to underline that they work in an advisory capacity and that, ultimately, the screenwriter is both the owner and architect of the script. "Some people [in general] are quite wary about receiving feedback because they think they are getting an authoritative opinion that they have to follow," says Rodenkirchen. "So usually we have to tear down some walls to say we are not imposing anything, we are actually here to understand what it is that you want and see how we can help you best to get it, and that is obviously an attitude that is very productive."

"We really need to prioritise the things that most need to be looked at, but on the other hand we have to be flexible enough to take into account any pressing urgent questions that they might have, the areas that they think they need the most support with," agrees Von Roy, adding that "the experience together with these filmmakers is very enrichening for me." Dutch script consultant Esther van Driesum was a third script mentor during the latest round of BoostNL.

Ivan Melo, producer of Baby, spoke about his and director Marcel Caetano's general BoostNL experience. "In terms of production what is nice is that you go to the first round in Utrecht with some ideas that are not so clear. You may have [vague] desires or ideas for finance. But from there to here in Rotterdam you become much more sure about the funds and who apply to, and what types of countries would be better. BoostNL helps you to figure out your project."


Read more about the projects of BoostNL at IFFR 2018

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Dutch producer Monique Busman of De Familie Film & TV was also enthusiastic about the experience. “We developed from treatment to first draft scenario but what we are focussing on now, and this is getting clearer because of Boost, is what countries are very interesting to shoot in, and so who is a potential co-producer.”

Producer Shengze Zhu said that she was very confident of securing French and Dutch co-producers soon for The Stranger, and further commented that Boost NL "has really helped the project grow." Zhengfan added: "Boost doesn't only create meetings between people, it creates relationships."

Photo in header: Françoise Von roy and Franz Rodenkirchen. Photo Markus Stein