Case Study: The Road of Repentance The savage knight Gerlachus decides, after after the loss of his loved ones, to swap the sword for a penitent and lonely life.
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Case Study: The Road of Repentance

The savage knight Gerlachus decides, after after the loss of his loved ones, to swap the sword for a penitent and lonely life.

The production The Road of Repentance is a result of the strong bond and interest that the director, Vincent Konings, and the producer, Bas Geelen, have with the (medieval) history of Europe. In May this year Bas Geelen will take the film to Cannes Film Festival. In the following he talks about the production of this historical film.

"As a producer, I believe in giving the director as much freedom as possible to execute his vision."

23 april 2019

The script

"I joined the project after the intitial inception of the idea and, as the producer, was not deeply involved in the writing of the script. Once the script was finished, however, we did not adjust it during the shoot, but after we shot all the intended scenes and put it together, we noticed that that it wasn’t quite as clear as we had hoped. This became evident as well after showing it to a small test audience. We then decided to add an extra scene as an introduction to the main characters. For this, we consulted with the writer, Martijn Daamen."

"Regarding the extra scene, Martijn was very understanding of that and he saw the need for it too. Because of that we were all aligned with a common goal. Our DOP, Luc Senden, was vital in the creation of the shot list. As a producer, I believe in giving the director as much freedom as possible to execute his vision (within reason of course). I think with every film there are concessions you need to make, but being that it was a relatively small budget production Vincent was very aware of the budget, so I felt he had a good grasp of what could and could not be done."

Organising the production

"Finding the heads was relatively easy for us, as we have established a solid base of people we have worked with on previous productions. After that, we let the heads relatively free to fill in their own departments as they saw fit. To determine the number of shooting days we sat together with the entire production department and looked at all the scenes we were going to film and then looked at the difficulty of them and made sure we allocated ample time to film what we needed. In the end we ended up being able to shave off two shooting days, which allowed us to use the freed-up budget allocated towards those days to something else."

"The biggest chunk of our funding came from the Limburg Film Fund. Next to that our company Kingswood Filmproductions and the other producer YornHeijnenFilms provided funding as well as our co-producers Everstory and CineSud. We also received funding from Brand Cultuurfonds, Kerbestuur St. Gerlach, Gemeente Valkenburg and Stichting Kannuniken Salden. To close the budget, we conducted a crowdfunding campaign through CineCrowd."

Reacting to unforeseen situations

"We did not treat the production lightly because we did a period piece. That requires costumes, stunts, set design, finding historic locations and a miriad of other things that current day shoots do not have. However, despite all of that, overall the production went well. I think there is no shoot that is perfect and does not have unforeseen situations, but that is part of filmmaking as well. You learn how to adapt as quickly and efficiently as possible. For example, we learned that we needed to add an extra scene after we shot everything we intended to shoot. It is then crucial to act accordingly and think of a solution of how to shoot that extra scene in an efficient and affordable manner."

Using narration time wisely

"Rico Derks did the editing as well as visual effects and color grading. I think the hard thing about making shortfilms is that you really have to use your time wisely when it comes to the narrative. We had scenes that we shot, that were shot beautifully, but in the end they didnot add anything to the film. So we ended up cutting quite some things that were not crucial. Our edit coach, Annelies van Woerden, pointed out that the battle scene would work better earlier on in the movie, so we moved that forward."

Adding music

"We were incredibly lucky to have Mark Pütz create all the music for us. I think it really adds a lot to the story. Seeing the film for the first time with the music was a very special moment. That really showed me how leading the music is in how you experience a film."

Going to festivals

"So far, we have only had two closed screenings of the film; one during the SHIFT Film Festival in Maastricht and a gala premiere that we organized ourselves at the Foroxity Cinema in Sittard. Festival distribution will commence within the upcoming weeks. In May, CineSud organises a market screening at the Marché du Film in Cannes."

Focussing on what really matters

"From a producer's perspective I would give the tip to pursue stories that move you, but remain realistic in that as well. It is good to dream, but trying to start out with a space opera with a gigantic budget, for example, is not going to happen. At the same time, I think that is a good thing. Story and characters are key, no matter how big your budget is. Having the confines of a small budget almost forces you to focus on what really matters."

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