Case Study: Vuoto

Guido Jeurissen (Rauwkost Collective) elaborates on the proces while working on the film Vuoto.

“The concept for Vuoto came to me in 2012 when one of my friends presented me an Italian poem,” tells director Guido Jeurissen. “An Italian exchange student translated it for me and I was immediately captured by its beauty. For me the poem represented the feeling of having lost the love of your life and being reminded of that loss every day. Together with my colleague Lawrence Lee Kalkman (Co-writer & Director of Photography) we decided to translate this feeling into an expressionistic film with a touch of surrealism.”

“For me the poem represented the feeling of having lost the love of your life.”

Visualizing a poem

“We used the original poem as a structure to start our filmmaking process. We began storyboarding the whole lot and decided early on that we didn’t want to include any dialogue in the film. The reason for this was that the poem is a really expressive and visual driven piece. And that’s what we wanted to the film to be: an expressive and visually driven piece of cinematographic images telling the whole story through our vision as filmmakers. For us, the film became poetic tale of loss and grievance. The film was meticulously storyboarded but we kept room for on-the-spot improvisation of our actor Michael Schnörr.”

“For us, the film became poetic tale of loss and grievance.”

“In total we cut the poem into twelve separate scenes. The filming took place in the Netherlands and in Italy and took a long time to produce. Because the film was made with as good as no budget, we were forced to be very creative to get the scenes we envisioned. We had a micro-crew that became very close during the production process and on a couple of days, because of the budget, we even built some of the gripping and equipment ourselves to get the result we were looking for.”

Crossing borders for the right location

“On and off, the production took over a year to finish. We had to find in- and outdoor locations throughout the whole of Holland and some in Italy as well. We wanted to do things that we hadn’t done before so we wanted a swimming pool to film underwater, we wanted a studio were there were no boundaries and we wanted to shoot in a forest in different seasons; snow and autumn. Most pools discarded our project as too dangerous due to the heavy wattage lights we used. The running scene in the forest also took a long time. We had to wait for the snow to clear and then we had to recreate the scene as close as possible with our female-protagonist Marjolein Moeijes.”

“Eventually we finished filming at the end of 2013 and started the editing process. After a dozen of failed attempts we decided to leave the project as it was, up till the beginning of 2016 when we picked up the project again. The two years in between made sure we had grown as filmmakers and that’s why we wanted to have another go at the editing process for Vuoto. We felt the urge to finish Vuoto once and for all.”

“The two years in between made sure we had grown as filmmakers.”

“So we made a fresh new start, didn’t look at the film for almost two years, and this made sure that we kept it on a distance for a long time. This was the first time we really understood what the film was all about and it didn’t took a long time to finish it. We discarded a lot of scenes and were left over with the absolute essence of the story. Afterwards it only took a few minor tweaks to finish the edit completely.”

“After the editing process we contacted Dutch music composer Jelke Landman to compose a soundtrack for the film. We tried to convey a lot of emotions of the characters through the use of unusual instruments, sounds and textures. This resulted in a dreamy, nerving soundscape that turns wild and chaotic near the ending of the film. With this soundtrack the film truly came alive.”

0% budget, 100% passion

“So far the film had a tremendously good festival run. Being showcased at (international) festivals and award shows like Largo International Film Awards, UK Monthly Film Festival, Short of the Month, En Plein Public, ROTbeeld Festival, Eindhoven Film Festival and the Shortcutz Annual Awards.”

“Just make the fucking film.”

“As advice for starting directors I would say to just fucking make the film. Nowadays, you can no longer use the excuse that you have the talent, but lack the resources. In this time and age where most smartphones can record in 4K resolution you don’t need expensive equipment, big crews or huge budgets. We made this film with a crappy Canon 550D, 0% budget and 100% passion. So you can as well.”

Andere content