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The making of Tel 702

I think that my films are always a reflection of my character.
Portrait of Eric Vanoverschelde.Meet ... Eric Vanoverschelde
his film Tel 702 won an International Award at BIAFF 2007

Eric is an amateur film maker “pur sang”. He used to be a stationmaster. He was a supervisor in a station for goods transport. Now he is retired.

Making films has always been his passion. He is a member of the film club Impuls Kortijk . Kortrijk is a mediaeval town at the edge of Flanders Fields. It’s one of the best ciné clubs in Belgium. It has about 70 members. 20 of them are film makers. The last few years there were some young enthusiasts in this club, but unfortunately they didn’t stay for long ... they became professionals and they work for TV channels now !

One of its well-known members is Rony Claus. He won a silver medal with his film Tomorrow at Unica 2006 in South Korea. Eric has worked together with Rony for some time, but now he has formed a small group of friends within his club to help him. In Impuls Kortijk they decided to work with small groups. In each group one does the camerawork, another gets a different task such as lighting, a third specialises in sound … and so on. This way of working is excellent for beginners. It may encourage them to make their own film. So Eric is the ‘patron’ of such a group.

The Impulse Kortrijk Club logo. Film credit for the 'B Team'. The film title card.

Travelogues

Eric is an enormous chatterer. A telephone call with him may take more than an hour. So he told us that his first films were travelogues, but very special ones. He doesn’t like those dull recordings and reportage. "Even a travelogue must have a soul," he said. His Venezia Carnevale is one such. Of course it’s about carnival in Venice, but it’s not a long series of film shots taken of people who are wearing masks. The film also tells us about the origin of this event and about the people behind these masks. This film was made together with one of his friends.

Documentaries

After some time he started to make documentaries. He was very successful with Operation Gunnerside. It’s a dramatised documentary based on something that really happened. A professional film called The Heroes of Telemark was made about the same historic event. A substance called "heavy water" was produced somewhere in Norway to make German A-bombs. The US and British knew about it. The Germans had to get away from Norway. That’s the story in the film. Eric was winner of the regional festival with his Operation Gunnerside.

Some years ago his film The Spirit of Black Raven was even selected for Unica 2000 in Roermond (Holland). It was the best film in the Belgian festival. It’s about an American Indian. His spirit returns to earth in the shape of a raven. The life of the American Indians was very hard. They had to work for white people. They were slaves. They had to kill thousands of bison, a species threatened with extinction now. They had to live in reservations. In this documentary Eric makes many critical comments on the Americans.

I’m always very critical in my films” Eric told us. “Sometimes people ask me if I am a worrywart. I’m not a pessimist at all, but I can’t stand injustice and I always want to express my personal feelings in my films. I only want to tell the truth. An other example is my film Corpus Delicti. A man is a wolf for his fellow man. That’s the theme. I must admit that sometimes my films may be painful, but telling the truth is always painful. I think that my films are always a reflection of my character. I realize that I am not always an easy man to other people, but I don’t mind. I’m Eric Vanoverschelde and that’s it !

"My film The Spirit of Black Raven didn’t win an award at Unica, but the Dutch seemed to enjoy it very much because the atmosphere is special in it. They said that it is exceptional."

Eric said that he specialises in sound on films and he also enjoys writing scripts. He received a special award at the Benelux Film festival for excellent sound effects.

His camera is a Sony 2100 DV. He used to work with a Casablanca, but now he edits his films with Adobe Première 6.5. His “old” Casablanca machine was user-friendly, but it had only two or three sound tracks and therefore he switched to Adobe. In this programme there are 99 or more tracks !


Tel 702 - the film in stills
The movie is a character-study so the plot revelations here are not important. The lighting and use of montages blending images of past and present to give us flashbacks is stunning. The soundtrack is a subtle blend - which we cannot reproduce here.

Still from 'Tel 702'. Still from 'Tel 702'. Still from 'Tel 702'.

Herman is alone and lonely. We are told he had a wife once.He sees a website offering sex
if you telephone 702, contacts it and arranges for Lilly to visit. She spots a photo on the shelf.

Still from 'Tel 702'. Still from 'Tel 702'. Still from 'Tel 702'.

Herman explains that his wife died. Flashbacks reveal how happy they were until the wife detected
a lump ...which a doctor confirmed was breast cancer that had already spread too far.

Still from 'Tel 702'. Still from 'Tel 702'. Still from 'Tel 702'.

Herman is haunted by his memories so Lilly shares some of her past with him - as a little girl
growing up with her father and grandmother and later running wild.

Still from 'Tel 702'. Still from 'Tel 702'. Still from 'Tel 702'.

Herman feels having sex with Lilly would be betraying his wife, but she persuades him that you
cannot be unfaithful to the departed. They make love and become not prostitute and client but
real friends. There is an upbeat note to the ending of the story.

This simple telling does not do justice to the sympathetic and atmospheric nature of the film, but I hope whets your appetite to see it as soon as you can.


IAC judges comments

Eric was surprised and very happy when he read the IAC judges’ comments.

They are fantastic. In my film Tel 702 there is a love scene. In Belgium judges would say or write : 'The love scene is bad !'. The IAC judging panel, however, wrote : 'Perhaps the initial love scene could have done with little more passion, but in amateur movies such scenes are extremely difficult to do as there can be a feeling of embarrassment of inhibition on the part of the actors, so we understand your problems.'

The style of these comments is very positive. Even if the IAC-judges find something a bit weak, they can put it into the right words so that the filmmaker is not hurt. It seems to me that the English judges respect the efforts of amateur film makers."

Eric told us that his BIAFF-film Tel 702 is based on a one-act play by Stefan Bon. He read the script of it and thought that it was also very useful for a film. The dialogue is very simple. The whole script was only a few pages. He changed the scenario a little bit and tried to make it more lively by using flash backs. The judges wrote that these are well conceived – floating – as they should be in memory. Thanks to the flash backs he could avoid monotony. Of course he’s also very grateful to his film crew. “I’m against ego-tripping”, he said. "Team work is essential in filmmaking."

Tel 702 is his very first IAC-entry, but it is not his last one. His new film is already finished. It’s a fiction film called Missing. He already looks forward to BIAFF 2008!

- main text by Willy Van der Linden
- captions by Dave Watterson


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Page updated on 09 October 2011
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