Janneke Doolaard

Producer / founder

I believe a good film with a strong story can change the world.

As a History student, Janneke often served film producers who had offices next to the café where she worked. That's how she rolled into Egmond Film as a helper. When she was soon allowed to do historical research for the film Nynke, she felt that magic. Her destiny had been sealed.

Who was Janneke before she was a producer? 'When I couldn't write yet, I made papers on which I "wrote" and with those papers I walked around all day. So I have basically been an office from childhood. How it started? While studying History, I saw a note on the notice board in the university building: Lagestee Film was looking for an intern in the production of a series of films about career women who couldn't find a man in big cities by Marijke Jongbloed, Fatal reaction Bombay, New York, etcetera. I didn't know how quickly to respond. That's how it all started. I worked alongside my studies in a café on Runstraat in Amsterdam. Around the corner was Egmond Film. We got talking and soon I became a jack-of-all-trades in the office. Within a few weeks I was also doing contracts. For director Pieter Verhoeff's film Nynke, about the wife of socialist Pieter Jelle Troelstra, I was allowed to find historical reality to go with the script. For instance, I had to find out how it went with a childbirth in those years where the doctor sat next to it smoking a cigar'. What's that like, being a historian in the film world? 'That work for Nynke was a very nice combination of history and film. Historians do fit into the film industry. Then I was able to do an IDFA screenwriting workshop for a year. I learnt so much there and saw so many films. It's been a clean day by Jos de Putter, for instance, hit like a bomb! During that training, which was in 2000, I discovered that I didn't really want to make films myself at all; I mainly wanted to ensure that certain stories were told. So then I proposed to Hans de Weers and Hans de Wolf to set up a documentary department at Egmond Film. Their response was very generous. "Do it, see if it works out". This allowed me to learn the trade, in the safe bed of a well-run production house where a lot of knowledge was already present. My plans were soon funded such as Dutch Touch with Ulrike Helmer and Ave Maria with Nouchka van Brakel. 'Eureka, this is what I want to do! That's how it felt.' Which film do you like to spotlight? 'At some point Egmond was sold to Eyeworks. Not long after that, I continued with KeyFilm, we set up KeyDocs, which later became Doxy. One film I want to mention is Diary of a Times Square Thief by Klaas Bense based on a diary he had bought on Ebay. Such an intriguing, obscure book with pictures and text. In retrospect, I think that was such a good-looking film; it was also nominated by The Directors Guild of America. With my experience now, I could have made that film much more successful. In the film, Klaas goes in search of the writer of the diary. That turned out to be an American who wanted to be a writer from a scruffy motel in New York in the 1990s. There are such beautiful scenes in it. A very special project from which I learnt a lot. Because I started Doxy for myself, I no longer have the rights. I do want to keep this and other films alive and show them. I think that's it: the desire to preserve beautiful things; images affect people so much. I believe in that.' What exactly does a producer do? 'It is difficult for outsiders to understand what a producer does. I sit on the board of the Dutch Audiovisual Producers Alliance (NAPA), which represents the interests of producers in the industry. We have a lot to do. Our image is not so good. People quickly think we are big important men with fat cigars. To me, being a producer means being a spider in the web, connecting all kinds of different people to make something beautiful. You have to make things exist. In film, you very much need each other. That's the beauty of it: that it adds up. You try to get the utmost out of each other and when that succeeds, it's magical. Our house is in the middle of Amsterdam on the Red Light District. And that's not for nothing: in the heart of the stories. We call it 'Wallywood' here, because around us are more film colleagues. We like having contact with fellow producers because sometimes it can be quite lonely. What sets us apart? I think we think the form of the film is important. We do want to make people think, but not in an activist way. And we have lunch with croquettes every Friday.'

Link naar IMDB