fresh faces

Another month another Fresh Face! Together with KONKAV we want to introduce you to Roel Leijten: Roel Leijten is a Dutch filmmaker based in Breda. During high school he borrowed the 8mm camera from his father to produce his very first short film and never stopped doing so. Nowadays he is doing commercial projects, next to his personal projects.

We ask every Fresh Face to react to a number of quotes in order to get to know them:

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: ‘It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.’”

– Jim Jarmusch

It is not possible that you aren’t influenced as a maker. Consciously or unconsciously. I believe that you should gain as much knowledge and experience as possible to put into your job. Reading, traveling, watching movies, new experiences. The only thing you can do is connect the dots yourself to create a new, fresh picture. For my first feature BUOYANCY I did a lot of research and watched movies. Especially those who also take place at only onelocation. How do they deal with the limited space, why does it work, etc. etc. You must have been triggered at some pointby something that makes you feel like “I can make that too”. Is that stealing or inspiration? To take it a step further: in BUOYANCY the main characters also discuss this about free will. “Everything you’ve ever done in your life has been leading up to you being here and doing this.” Does this mean that everything is already established and finished? I find these issues fascinating to work on. I can certainly find myself in Godard. Absorb as much as possible and then push it further. 

It’s better not to know so much about what things mean or how they might be interpreted or you’ll be too afraid to let things keep happening.”

– David Lynch

Interesting quote from a very creative filmmaker. I am quite analytical myself, so I constantly try to crack that puzzle when I watch movies or write myself. Sometimes you have to let go and let things happen. Especially as a director, I have learned that you should not discuss your characters too much with your actors, for example, because they can also be too psychologized and often do not come across as authentic. You often only enter interesting territories when you really have no idea which way things can go. Lynch’s abstract films are of course an extreme in the spectrum. But with my films I try to find a balance in a clear plot and at the same time also appeal to the viewer’s own interpretation.

“How do you [edit]? You just start tearing away at it… It’s impossible to see what it is at first. You just keep taking away and taking away, and it begins to shape up. Story, you know — you just keep following the story.”

– Nancy Meyers

This doesn’t really apply to me. What helped me a lot when writing (or editing) is that you don’t necessarily have to start at the beginning. Take your most beautiful shot / sentence / situation and work from there, either forwards or backwards. That way, the basis always remains what you like best. (Or what you client likes best of course) From this basis I continue to expand. When you have to throw away so much in the end, the basis was not good anyway, I think. I work very specifically with a clear vision in advance. With BUOYANCY, I wrote it backwards, starting at the end of the story, rather than the other way around, because I knew where it should end. That also has a liberating effect.

Want to learn more about Roel’s work? Check out the trailer of his film BUOYANCY: