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The making of Loss

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Loss by Tim Verschaeren got a 5-star award at BIAFF 2009

Tim Verschaeren - Born with a Camera

I am 32 and have no brothers or sisters. In truth I have never suffered the loss of any loved ones. However, when I attend a funeral I can imagine how distressing it must be. It was a challenge to me to create the right atmosphere in Loss.

I am a facility engineer at a factory that packs Duracell batteries hermetically. I am in charge of the infrastructure and utilities (compressed air, electricity, heating system, cold store, etc.) In 1998 I founded the filmclub "MillenniuM" together with my Dad. I am still president. There are only 8 members, but we all take a very active part in it. We set ourselves only one target : enjoying film making, even when working on an epic like Loss.

Thanks to my Dad, who's been a filmmaker for 40 years, I took filmmaking in with my Mum's milk. I am alleged to be have been born with a camera. Anyway it is very important in my life. I can't live without it. I started at the age of 11 ! When I watch a film or soap-opera on TV I am always analysing it. I am fascinated by the way it was produced, by the scenario that was made, by the editing work that was done and by the music that was chosen. I always explain these things to my wife, Katrien, when watching a film and she finds it very annoying.

Picture of the film family group.

The Idea

It was not my idea to make that film. My clubmate Albert Omblets is the brains behind the project. Once he showed me a book written by Nicci French (British husband and wife writing team , Nicci Gerrard and Sean French.) He asked me to read it because he thought it would be a good story for a film. After having read it I agreed with him. So in February 2005 we started to write the scenario. We decided to delete some parts of the story and we changed the plot at the end. We found that the story had to take an unexpected turn. It was quite a challenge and we had to solve many different problems. The film had to be finished within a year. That's why we didn't have enough time to perfect the scenario. Some scenes in the film are too long and even unnecessary.

Albert Omblets and Tim Verschaeren writing. Leo Popa and Albert Omblets prepare the camera dolly. Actors and crew on the lawn.

Albert Omblets and Tim Verschaeren.

Leo Popa and Albert Omblets
prepare the camera dolly.

Actors and crew on the lawn.

I think that the technical crew was a bit too small. Some scenes were filmed by only two people : the director and the cameraman. Take, for instance, the scene at the children's farm. The sound is not excellent in that part. So now we know that while shooting a technical team is essential. We also had problems with machines that didn't work adequately. Sometimes we even lacked essential cables.

In the film a child is drowning. It is lying on the bottom of the swimming-pool. First we thought of asking the boy actor (Kevin in the film) to lie under water while holding his breath. We changed our minds and used a doll. It was not easy to get the doll dressed because it was a model made of parts that were not fitted tightly together. The doll didn't sink to the bottom. That was also a problem. Finally we put a piece of lead in it.

We always spend plenty of time on shooting the scenes. I am rather a perfectionist. I am not very easy-going about things sometimes. I often prefer more than one take. The schedule was liable to be pushed aside when shooting. For example, the scene at the swimming-pool was very complicated. There are underwater shots done in a private pool at Hulshout. It took until late at night. The water was a little cold so we used a fan heater, but that meant because of the noise, we could not use the live sound. We had to dub the dialogue.

The mother mourning her child. The coffin leaving the church. The father mourning his child.
Mother dives into the pool to rescue younger son. Mother and father argue. Bringing the body out of the pool.

Call-sheets with all the required information for actors and technical team were used to plan the shooting-sessions. All the actors were asked to make a note of their holiday periods or evenings when they would not be free. In this way we could make a masterplan. We only had to change it a few times. The cast consisted of ten actors for whom drama is a hobby. The youngest actor was only 6. Everything was done and paid for by the club. We are pure hobbyists. It took 2 months to shoot everything, working mostly during the weekends.

Editing the film went like clockwork because we had made a storyboard before shooting. We took photographs of all the locations beforehand. We also had a plan of the house that was used in the film. It enabled us to make a detailed shooting script. We thought hard about choosing the angles from which to shoot and wrote them down. The shots were numbered following the screenplay, so the technical team knew what we had to shoot first. Sometimes things were changed on the set. For instance once we replaced a static camera with a moving one. The editing process was based on the screenplay and completed in six weeks.

The responses of the audience have been very varied. The theme is a controversial one. Some people find it a very good film. However, it's also been called too melodramatic by others. The film won the regional festival (heat) PROVAC in 2006. We also won some additional awards (best acting, best scenario, excellent film crew and so on.)


Our club is called "MillenniuM". This name was chosen because we entered a new era of one thousand years … a new digital millennium. In our club the members learn how to edit films and how to add music and words to them. Workshops are organised on Friday evenings. We also include writing scenarios, camera movements and so on in our curriculum. We always try to encourage young people because our filmclub can be a first step to a filmschool.

Some years ago we made the fiction film Welcome to Sancta Millennia. We were very successful with it at national and international festivals. It got 5-stars at BIAFF 2008 and its lead actor, Ivo Buts, got the best acting award there. We are very ambitious and would like to become a real institute for amateur filmmakers.

Our club is part of PROVAC, a regional or provincial umbrella organisation. We also belong to CvB, "Centrum voor Beeldexpressie", the national group in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium.

Leo Popa and Albert Omblets prepare a scene. Filming the woodland walk scene. Father comforts older boy.


  • Idea and Production: Albert Omblets
  • Scenario: Albert Omblets and Tim Verschaeren
  • Editor: Tim Verschaeren
  • Director: Tim Verschaeren
  • Camera: Albert Omblets & Leonard Popa
  • Chief Engineering: Leonard Popa
  • Light and Sound: Tim Verschaeren, Albert Omblets, Leonard Popa

Principal Actors

  • Katleen Caerels
  • Mark Swaelen
  • Jeroen Van Boxem
  • Nils Gebruers
  • Rikki Koslowski
  • Ann Gebruers
  • Anneliese De Boeck
  • Ruth Tuyteleers
  • Alice Vandersmissen
  • Benny Marissens

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Page updated on 06 October 2011
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