Case Study: Grenzeloos A story about two friends whose lives are growing more and more apart until one of them makes a dramatic decision that will alter their lives forever.
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Case Study: Grenzeloos

A story about two friends whose lives are growing more and more apart until one of them makes a dramatic decision that will alter their lives forever.

Grenzeloos was created in a collaboration between Yorn Heijnen and Nils Hanssen. Yorn is well-known in the field of short film production in Limburg. He is connected in various positions to the largest short film productions in the region. That’s how he became executive producer and location manager of the CineSud Talent productions “Schaduwjager“, “Hotel Oswald“, “Convoi Exceptionelle” and the historical costume film “Tot Inkeer“. The latter project was filmed at 10 different locations across 4 countries. Here, he was in charge of a cast and crew of more than 100 men.

“From the beginning on, I knew this project was going to be a massive leap of faith – but seeing it all work out and to create this film with this amazing group of people was an unforgettable experience.”

08 maart 2019

Yorn tells about the creation

“This movie was a very special project already from the beginning. I wanted to make a film that wouldn’t be made in the classical way of writing a script, planning the shooting, rehearsing with the actors, making a shotlist etc. Instead we worked from a concept. I knew what the film was going to be about so I wrote down the most important themes and an elaborate background story for the characters. This was the only preparation we did considering the story before we start shooting the film.”

The concept

“The idea popped up after an conversation with Nils, a friend of mine. About two year ago I was completely focused on work. Spare time activities or meeting with friends wasn’t important to me anymore. I realized how easy it is to lose track about other things that matter in life. It maybe sounds a bit vague, but I failed to pay attention to my surroundings and for some reason I wasn’t aware of this anymore until someone made me. During this conversation we started talking about things which happened in our lives and I realized we actually didn’t know much about each other although we are friends for more then 5 years.”

“Because of these conversations I came up with the idea for this film. A film about friendship and specifically two friends who don’t know much about each other although they’ve known each other for a long time. The ideal genre for this film was of course going to be a road movie since this provides the characters with an opportunity to escape from their daily lives and learn from each other and also from themselves. Since this is such a personal process, I felt like the film also had to as realistic and natural/human as possible. That’s why I didn’t want to script the entire film but work with actors that are able to improvise.”

The process

“To be able to make this work we had to find actors who would already befriends in real life. From the beginning I knew this was going to be a very personal story. Almost the entire backstory of the characters was made up from events from our own lives. Nils and I locked ourselves in a room for a day, talked about our lives and perfected the backstory. The fact the entire cast and crew were already good friends made it extra special. During shooting we went back to basic. We had a director, cameraman and an on-set-producer to tackle problems and that was all.”

The amazing and/or horrible shoot

“The shooting was amazing and horrible at the same time. Amazing, because we were literally just making a film with a small group of friends, driving around the Limburgian and Belgian countrysides. Every time we found and amazing location or the actors improvised a great scene was a gift. At the same time the uncertainty was killing Nils and me. Since there was no script we had no idea how the story was going to work out or if it would work at all. The way we decided to make this film couldn’t have been more experimental. When we finished after three days of shooting, we were totally exhausted and had about 10 hours of footage to work with in editing.”

An even more challenging post production

“The greatest challenge came during editing. Of course during the 3 day road trip a story was born, but it was spread across 10 hours of footage, so the story really had to be made during editing. During the summer I spent countless days with editor Ayse trying to figure it all out. The fact we shot it with only one camera and obviously without an decoupage since it was improvised also didn’t make it any easier. In the end it actually forced us to be more creative and I really started to like this way of working since we constantly had to look for creative ways to put the film together and make it work. When it worked out and we finished a picture lock of only 38 minutes… this feeling was of course amazing.”

And what did we learn?

“If there is one thing I learned about directing when making this film it is that directing happens before you shoot the film and not during. I thought this was only the case for producing but with directing it is exactly the same. When you know exactly what your film is going to be about and are able to convey this to your crew and especially cast with an elaborate backstory, about 80 percent of your work is already done.”

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