Arthur van den Boogaard

Research and development

Sometimes you know in advance: this is going to be historic.

Arthur believes in the narrative side of sport. As a writer, theatre maker and creative producer, he looks for the right form to tell a dramatically interesting and layered story. He shines his light on the sports branch of the business.

For you, what is the difference between working out a story in a book or a film? 'The big difference is how you tell the story. In a book you use words, in a film you tell the story with images. An important similarity is thinking in scenes. Getting so-called 'talking heads' to tell a story is not what I aim for. The beauty of films is of course the teamwork: everyone has their own role and everyone is equally indispensable for the end result. A good example are the animations in The Beast of Amsterdam: a film by Vuk Janic about Jon Bluming, troubled by war trauma. Together with a cartoonist and visual designer, we tried to depict the struggle in his head. With ten short animation clips, the film fell into the right fold. When something like that succeeds, it gives a lot of satisfaction.' When do you know something is going to be good? 'That always only becomes apparent during the process. But sometimes you know in advance: this is going to be historic. A film about Louis van Gaal with his full cooperation: you can't go wrong with that. Another example was the docu about the Dutch women's team. We were to follow the team during the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2023. All parties - players, technical staff, a broadcaster, the film fund - were enthusiastic. This film had everything to become a classic. Suddenly, the Football Association decided not to do it. A missed opportunity, as it turned out later. Instead of a film, I wrote a long story for Hard Grass. In September, during the World Cup final meeting, national coach Andries Jonker read a passage to his selection: several players got tears in their eyes. If you manage to tell a sports story well, you touch people deeply in their souls. For Doxy, I pursue such productions. Fortunately, there are many sports stories patiently waiting to be told.' Which films did you help realise? 'For the film Becoming Zlatan, a Swedish production, I did the research for the Dutch part. For Tussen vis en staal, a film about football club Telstar, I did the research and was assistant director. I also played several roles in Louis, the successful film about football coach Louis van Gaal. The Beast of Amsterdam is about martial arts legend Jon Bluming (1933-2018), whose life from childhood has been dominated by violence. Fighting in the Korean War, in which he was wounded several times and saw comrades killed, had a great impact. He sets out to exorcise this traumatising period of violence with martial arts. From the 1960s, he grows into a grandmaster of Japanese martial arts. He becomes a living legend in karate and invents Freefight. The martial arts world looks up to him, but until his death he struggled with his war trauma. The violence of martial arts failed to beat the violence in his head. The result was stunningly beautiful. Film is such an incredibly rich and beautiful medium.'

Link naar IMDB