NFF Slow Filming, by Boris Everts
Following the creation of Jan van den Berg’s latest documentary ‘Silent Snow’, Boris Everts gives us a unique insight in the filmmaking process of this Utrecht based filmmaker. After choosing a topic, van den Berg tracks down characteristic protagonists who can contribute to the story by sharing their own vision and experiences. Together they come up with scenes that become crucial for the development of the characters in the story. Altogether the creation of his documentaries is a long process. Silent Snow didn’t have its premiere until five years after the first research trip to Greenland. It is also a question of a lack of financial means that delays the process, but that often increases creative solutions. During the creation of Silent Snow, van den Berg came up with a successful film drama situated in Limburg, het Galgenven. He has been a filmmaker for over forty years and explains us how he learned that a lack of funds and experience could lead to unexpected solutions, while filming his first film Olvereños in 1974. Back then, he filmed using the old wind-up camera of the Anthropological Institute in Leiden which requested highly creative editing to give the lack of synchrony a positive spin. As he works closely together with his protagonists, van den Berg always organises premieres in the countries where he filmed most scenes. These premieres often lead to impressive speeches and other actions by the local protagonists, which contribute in return to the publicity campaign organized around his documentaries.