Marleine van der Werf (NL/ CH, 1985) is a filmmaker and visual artist based in Rotterdam (NL). Her films and installations have a documentary focus in which she explores ideas about reality and the perception of reality. Recurrent themes are imagination, the subconsciousness and resilience. Marleine creates haptic and cinematic experiences in which our perception is challenged. She works with film, projection techniques and virtual reality to question the viewers senses and integrates them to research different ways of storytelling. She was selected for the Next trajectory, a tailor-made talent program in April 2018. We asked to tell us her thoughts about three bold statements.

“I never thought of art as a career” (Julian Schnabel)

Both my parents are visual artists, and I wanted to become anything but that.
Until that one time in high school when I, for the very first time, made a film using an old-fashioned movie camera. I immediately fell in love and ever since I was 15 years old I wanted to do nothing else. In retrospect,
my parents taught me their profession by observing reality and questioning everything that happens within that reality. They still use paint to do so, whereas I translate experiences via film and installations for the same purpose.

“Very often people don’t seem to understand that you can be artistic and commercial or conceptual and commercial at the same time.” (Viktor & Rolf)

Tome, creating new work is the same as going on an adventure. The difference with commissioned work is that you have a tour guide with you along the way, which leaves less space for getting lost and for your own research. The last few years I did commercial work for museums and for the Erasmus University and Erasmus Medical Centre. As long as you underline that you are an independent film maker with an distinct individual style, and they still want to work with you, you will be given sufficient freedom. Within a commercial assignment, I clearly define for myself what I want to research and discover artistically. By doing so, I keep myself on my toes and create room for development, which I can later on implement in my autonomous practice. Still, the best part is when your work is seen by many people and when you see and hear the responses to the work. It really motivates me when my work inspires and influences the thoughts of others…

“I just hope the discussion between Netflix and platforms in general and theatrical should be over. I think those guys –platforms and theatricals–should come together and realise whatever they’re doing to the discussion is hurting cinema.”

The latest film by Cuarón, Roma, proves that when the different platforms collaborate, beautiful projects can be developed. Projects that can simultaneously achieve success online, at festivals and in the cinema. In my opinion, the discussion should be more about the role that these new platforms such as Netflix should play artistically. Especially in Europe, where public broadcasters offer independent film makers a platform to show their work without looking at financial gain. When these broadcasters and their function cease to exist and Netflix would fill the gap, I believe it will be hard to maintain journalistic and artistic independency.

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