INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR THOMAS R PEETERS

THOMAS R PEETERS
  • Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking is your way of telling stories?

No. I rather aimed to work with video as form in itself, without really thinking about making an actual movie. I liked the medium first,  it was only later that I discovered one can actually give a message with it.

  • Do you think it is essential to go to a film institute in order to become a successful filmmaker?

Not  at all. I sometimes even think the opposite, to better not go to a filmschool and practice film in your most personal way. A film institute can off course teach very interesting and practical things, but they often teach it in a very general way. If you have the passion to make films, don’t wait for a school to tell you what to do. Teach yourself!

  • Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?

 Starting a project is harder I think, because you have to start creating a network of people that will accompany you throughout the process. Not always being proud and confident enough to bring your plans to people that have never heard of it. There’s a lot of doubt involved in starting a project. Your never really sure if it’s the right thing you will be doing, untill your actually doing it 🙂

  • What was the most important lesson you had to learn that has had a positive effect on your film? How did that lesson happen?

Take good sound on set!! I didn’t focus on the sound engineer on set, and we ended up with really poor sound quality. We had to cover every action in foley, wich ended up to be a good thing because it gave a great and personal soundscape  to the film. Yet it’s easier to have a good ‘cracktape’ to work on.

  • What was the hardest artistic choice you made in the making of this film, at any stage in production?

Costume. Because my first costume designer left the project early, and than the money ran out. I had never thought about costumes, and I soon had to come up with something. It was a terrible choice to make how these costumes could be simple in itself, not taking to much focus, yet not telling the wrong story either.

  • You are a collaborator. How have you discovered members of your team and how do you keep the relationship with them strong?

It all started with the DOP of the film, and the producers. My DOP, Christophe Vanhoutte knew a lot of people to collaborate, I only had to contact and ask them. And my producers knew a bunch of good people too, the set designer for example. We all met in a very early stage of the project and kept close contact from than on. Through email I often send new drawings and tests to the crew. That way they never really forgot about the project and discussions were often opened, this kept the idea of the film alive untill we all felt the time to shoot was there.

  • What do audiences want? And is it the filmmaker’s role to worry about that?

Difficult question because  the answer has two faces 🙂

Audiences, I believe want to be entertained somehow. Although entertainment is a personal thing, I belief that humour for example can please an audience. Should you implement it in your film because of the audience? It could give your film more screenings, but it can also come across as fake. I would say, worry about it, but only a tiny little bit 🙂

  • What role have film festivals played in your life so far? Why are they necessary? How do you get the most out of them?

It gives a great look on what other filmmakers are doing. It’s a good thing to reflect on your own work in compare with an other contemporary filmmaker.

  • Do you believe that a filmmaker should be original and fresh or he/she should stick to classic but safe cinema style?

Be fresh!! Find your own style