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The making of Three Early Films of Thomas van der Gronde

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At BIAFF 2009 Lost Fear got 4-stars and the award for Best Junior Entry,  The First Flight Hour and Passion for the Wind got 3-stars. All were made by a remarkable young man, Thomas van der Gronde. At our request he wrote - in English - about himself and his three BIAFF entries.

Portrait of Thomas van der Gronde.About Myself

I am Thomas van der Gronde, aged 18, I live in the Netherlands. I got interested in films when I went to The Lord of the Rings when I was 12. I bought the DVD, and after watching the making-of material, I knew for sure that this was going to control the rest of my life!

I am in the last year of high school and I want to go to film school afterwards. At the moment I am in the middle of my film school admissions process, so it’s quite exciting!

Apart from filmmaking I don’t have many other interests. I like to take photographs, but again that’s very related to filmmaking!

I don’t participate in a film club and I am not supported by any professional organisation or whatsoever.

Please see my website to see other films and photography: www.thomasvandergronde.nl

About Lost Fear

Poster for 'Lost Fear'.Lost Fear is a short fiction film I made when I was 15/16. As a theme of the film I used loneliness, which was slightly autobiographical in that period of my life. In order to enhance the feeling of loneliness, I gave my main character scars from fire on his face.

I chose for the eye as a 'theme' image for the whole film. The film starts with a zoom in to the eye, so the audience gets closer to my main character.

I faced many problems during the making of this film, I needed to find make-up to fake a burned face and I needed to shoot a scene with fire. I called a huge amount of people until I found a makeup woman who wanted to help me without getting paid. I tried to fake fire in editing, but the result didn’t please me, so again I started calling people. At last I found a fireman who wanted to help me with the scene.

I composited the mirror shot in editing, so I shot the scene twice, one part with the real character and the other part with the alterego. I pasted the shot with the alterego into the mirror. The disco scene was a lot of fun to make. Most of it was shot in my (small) garage, hiding the background with smoke. The establishing shots were made in my school. I had put socks under my tripod to make sure I could slide the camera over the floor. It was a very cheap way to do it, but it worked!

The shoot of this 5-minute film was precisely planned; we shot the film in 5 days. This seems to be a ridiculous amount of time for a 5-minute film, but we spent a lot of time on makeup and light.

I shot this film with the Canon MVX20i. Though it was a simple consumer camera, it gave me the opportunity to manually adapt my shutter speed, aperture and gain. In combination with the lighting and colour correction in editing it gave a good result.

Still from 'The First Flighthour'.About The First Flighthour

The First Flighthour is a short comedy about a clumsy guy who meets a girl for the first time in his life. The title connects with the main character's interest in model airplanes, but it connects with his first experience with a girl as well.

The story is based on funny things I see happening around my school. The actors were theatre actors from my high school. I tried to combine comedy with drama in this film. I was 17 when I made this film.

I did the overall directing and the camera, while there was another director who directed the actors, so I could focus on the cinematography.

About Passion for the Wind

This documentary is about Henk Epskamp; he is my uncle. This is the film I am most proud of, because during the making I discovered more about my uncle, and his passion for the craft of sailmaking. The aim of this documentary is to make the audience feel the passion of my uncle.

I deliberately didn't tell the audience about the way sails are made. This is something that doesn't interest me, I tried to focus the attention on the character of my uncle. I didn't want to make an instructional video of "how to make a sail", but I wanted the audience to understand why my uncle lives life the way he does!

The documentary was shot in three days. The film was shot on HDV, and lit by some simple lights.

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Page updated on 06 October 2011
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