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At BIAFF 2012 Vladimir Murtin, Emile de Gruijter, Elvira Franken and Willemien Rotteveel won a 5 Star Award with Record.
Planning is homework
Job is the jilted suitor
Willemien needs a rest
Pinned down in an intimate moment
Picking up the stone
Getting ready to hop on the bike
Another go at the travelling shot
Walking and talking
The ideaThe basic idea comes from a short story by the famous Czech writer Karel Čapek (1890-1938) who incidentally introduced the word "robot" into the world languages. (This word first appeared in the play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) in 1920.)
The idea of his short story with the same title Record is that if one is sufficiently motivated one is capable of an improbable physical achievement. In the original story a simple-minded village youth gets upset by a villainous farmer who beats up a little boy because he was stealing some apples from his orchard.
Obviously this idea seemed a bit dated and I developed the script from this basic premise. So the idea that "a strong feeling of injustice can lead to an improbable performance" has undergone a transformation into "an infatuation can lead to an improbable performance".
Originally the script contained several more characters. We spent some time discussing and modifying the script and managed to simplify and shape it into something more suitable for a short film.
CastingThanks to our production manager Elvira, and with some luck, we got together a group of more or less experienced actors with a very professional approach to the work at hand. They always kept the shooting appointments.
The girl who is the center of attention is in fact playing herself - being a professional model.
Her suitors and the police inspector had some professional acting experience, the policeman's assistant has never done any acting, but that didn't matter in the end, because his uncertainty in front of the camera has produced some comical effect.
The main character - Piet - was the last one we cast. We wanted someone with rather naive looks which our actor Pepijn doesn't posses. So in a way he changed the original imagination about this character, but it certainly worked out very well.
ShootingExcept for one scene, we used a single Canon HD camera for miniDV tape and had an identical model as backup, in case of need.
The live sound was registered in the camera by a directional microphone on a boom.
Replica stoneThe jilted friend makes an attempt at forcing himself on the girl in the crucial scene. The would-be boyfriend, in his effort to prevent this, throws a stone weighing about 6 kg over the canal and hits his opponent's leg. For the shot of the stone hitting the former friend's leg we used a replica of the stone made of polystyrene. This light replica is a very true copy of the original stone and it cost quite some work by our friend Niek - but as it happens it appears in exactly 10 frames of the final edit of the film.
LuckyWe were very lucky with our co-operative cast and with the weather. The atmosphere on the set was always very happy and supportive. After some problems we were satisfied with all the locations, almost all of which I managed to find within a stone's throw from my home address in Krimpen a/d IJssel.
As most amateur film makers will agree, the greatest problem in such a film production is to match the availability of the crew and cast and the days of suitable weather as well. The owners of the house with the garden on the waterside insisted that we planned the filming during the time when they were away on holiday.
Not so happyThe co-operation on the part of the police proved to be non-existent. I remember the easy-going relationships at the same police bureau in our village some years ago. This time we hit an impenetrable wall of bureaucracy. With some creative thinking, however, we managed to find a way around it.
Not only was there no way we could make a shot inside the police bureau, two policemen even checked on us when we were filming in the street in front of the building and expressed some doubts as to whether this was permissible.
We tried to solve the problems of a moving camera - dolly, crane, steadycam. In this respect we didn't manage to get what I really wanted. The main reason is that our crew was really minimal for this sort of production. The sound recording sometimes also suffered for the same reason.
Willemien and Emile
Rianne - the focus of all the attention
Pepijn - the infatuated suitor in his look-out position
Peter is the policeman
After the victory in the hosepipe battle
Before the cycling scene
Preparing the cycling scene
Emile and Frans prepare the crane