Sylvia Baan

Head of productions / partner Fixy

You can knock us down three times, we still get up again.

After studying Economics, Sylvia started at Pieter van Huystee when she was 24. For Sylvia, everything has to be right. The figures, the feelings, the management... She runs the company together with Janneke with a load of experience, but above all: with soft power.

Where did you grow up? 'In Amsterdam West was my cradle. I had to share my room with my sister. I come from a composite family with a stepfather, a sister and a brother who died at a young age. It was all quite complicated. When my sister moved out, I finally had my own place. I always had a corner with a very old pickup, and I used to sit there every day on a crocheted cushion playing old records of grandmas and grandpas. So I had a weird knowledge of very old forgotten music. I had a soft spot for pathetic animals. A broken pigeon that everyone left lying around, I took home. Rats, walking branches, those were my pets. I had an overdeveloped sense of responsibility as a child. But that's handy for a producer.' What is your work ethic? 'Janneke and I just have a business to run here with all the people in it. We are responsible for that. So we often drag the work home with us. But because we can also put it into perspective in the end, it's still manageable. I actually always answer an e-mail because I just can't leave it; the lines of communication are always open. We are essentially entrepreneurs. From the funding side and sometimes also from the makers, the sector is still treated like a subsidy. That whole entrepreneurship is not appreciated enough because all the money has to go to the Arts. But that is exactly what we maintain and professionalise through that same entrepreneurship. I studied economics and as a teenager I just wanted to be the boss of something, preferably in a suit. But after a brief experience at big companies, where everyone was content to be a passive link in the machine and headed to the canteen en masse every day at 1pm, I had to leave. I was totally ' out of place'. I was looking for a smaller environment, where I could start at the bottom. So I rolled into film from a different angle. When I knocked on Pieter van Huystee Films' door, which had just started in a small windowless office, I said, 'I don't have a film academy'. His reply? 'Exactly what I need'. I learnt a lot there. Admittedly with the somewhat harder hand. Janneke and I run the business differently.' Does it say something that a lot of women work here? 'Facilitating people who can really make something creatively and excel: that's what I do, and what I like. Is that feminine? I've done and executed so many productions. From the beginning to the end. Service is an art. If you are part of a process and you are serving, you are actually in charge. And that is sometimes misunderstood. I think women understand it better. That 'facilitation' and that 'service': if you are in charge, you have no problems with that. Once we had a set full of homeless people and one of them had shit next to the pot. We cleaned that up too. It's about service in the context of the outcome you are part of. It's a crazy difficult profession. Someone is good if things don't go wrong. Janneke and I are of the soft hand, but also really hard beaters.'

Link naar IMDB