The Albrecht family are sitting at the table… that’s the first sentence of a new Dutch film project by celebrated director Paul Verhoeven. The public have been invited to write the rest of what is being billed as the world’s first ever User-Generated Movie.
Mr Verhoeven speaks with great enthusiasm about the concept. ”The idea is to make a 30-minute film, in eight parts. We have asked the public to use their creativity to help write and film the scenario.”
The Dutch film director has called on the public via the Entertainment Experience website to write the script, compose the theme tune and design a game based on the film. Anyone in the Netherlands with talent is welcome to join the project, but is that talent out there?
Paul Verhoeven (73) is one of the Netherlands best-known film directors. After studying maths, he decided to go into filmmaking. The TV series Floris was his breakthrough, followed by the film Turks Fruit (Turkish Fruit) in 1973.
At the age of 47, he moved to Los Angeles to make films in Hollywood. Blockbusters Basic Instinct and Robocop established his name in the US film world. But, some would say, alongside his successes are his flops like Showgirls.
In 2006, Mr Verhoeven made another successful Dutch film – Zwartboek (Black Book). The Dutch filmmaker has received many prestigious awards for his work, including the Rembrandt Award for the Best Dutch Film for Black Book.
Mr Verhoeven hopes that the project will discover new talent for the film industry.
Although the public are making the film. Mr Verhoeven will produce a remake with a mixed team of amateurs and professionals. “We hope our film will be better than the public’s,” he grins. But he says he has no expectations with regards to the film’s success.
It is the first time ever that the public have been asked to make a whole movie. Previously, they have only been invited to do a bit of one. Dutch films like Pizzamaffia and DSB The Movie were part made with input from the public. However, in spite of an internet hype caused by asking fans to give their ideas, US film Snakes on a Plane flopped at the box office.
For the time being, the makers are focussing on the script for the first part. Kim van Kooten explains how difficult it is to put pen to paper: “How much freedom do you give people? Should you give them something to go on? At first we had wild ideas, like starting with a cliffhanger. Someone is lying drunk on the floor with 30 sheep in a room and then asking people to finish the story. But that was a bit silly.”
The script revolves around the birthday party of 60-year-old Remco and his family. Eight characters are introduced in three minutes, Remco’s friends and family. A pregnant women, a row between two men, a burnt envelop and a drunk teenager are the ingredients for the budding filmmakers.
On 28 May 2012, the premiere of both the user- generated movie and the remake will be held. Asked will the film make any money, Mr Verhoeven retorts “Has a Dutch film ever made any money?”
Video edited by Eric Beauchemin