The People Behind The Film
With minimal crew and equipment, Bram Schouw has directed a subtle and emotionally intimate tale of friendship, love and loss. The film is deeply affecting and actually very shocking. The theme and the way Bram manages to subtly ‘show’ above ‘tell’ is impressive.
We caught up with Bram via Skype, and had a very inspiring conversation with him.
Perfection is quite boring…
He learnt his skills at the Utrecht School of Arts, after realizing he had stories to tell while traveling in South America. As an art school Utrecht has a more liberated environment than is usual with film schools and Bram was allowed to truly find his vocation.
He could have become a painter/decorator, but instead he discovered the almost meditative state that one can attain when in the editing suite and developed his passion for film from there. He was also able to embrace a more elemental and spontaneous method in which perfection, as initially perceived, isn’t necessarily the end result.
I want you to feel a film and not think about it too much.
In Sevilla, we effortlessly seem to be drawn into a tense thriller without any of the usual conventions – ramped up music, hidden POV camera angles etc. Instead we are simply shown two journeys with very different moods.
Sevilla is told in a very simple style (almost as if following the Dogme manifesto – which it isn’t) and with minimal crew. The intimacy of the film is achieved partly through the choice of actors and also because Bram knows how to create an appropriate atmosphere.
The atmosphere of the film was actually the same atmosphere we had as a team.
Allowing the actors to improvise as much as possible on and off camera meant that many scenes that weren’t included in the film have still informed the story and so have as much relevance as actual footage. At one point an improvisation went so far that the whole cast and half the crew were nearly killed! But that didn’t stop them. These guys don’t understand fear. Trepidation is for stick insects.
Bram came up with the concept of the film and then proceeded to struggle with getting it down on paper. Things just weren’t ‘clicking’. Eventually he discussed it with his collaborator and writer Marcel Roijaards who took the idea, went away and wrote the screenplay in one sitting. Marcel came up with the whole idea of a random road trip to an exotic town and narrowed the shortlist down from cities in The Netherlands, Germany and Spain… Tricky.
I made four shorts, but with Sevilla it felt like homecoming.
This isn’t the only successful short film on Bram’s resume. For the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 2008, Impasse was chosen by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to be included in a multi directorial collection of shorts. The success of this film led Bram to work on a TV feature. And of course now everyone is more interested in their next project – a feature touching on some of the same themes as Sevilla and also on elements of the Icarus legend.
We asked Bram Schouw if there were any ventures he’d like to plug or any films he needs to tell us about. His feature film, Brothers, is in development and is another collaboration with Marcel Roijaards and BALDR film. It has been selected for ‘De Oversteek’ low budget filmproject, itself an initiative for debut film makers, of the Netherlands Film Fund, Dutch Cultural Media Fund and CoBO, together with broadcasters VPRO and NTR.
If you’re interested in the actors, find out more about them using the links below.
Ludwig Bindervoet: IMDB
Stefanie van Leersum: IMDB