Interview with Filmmaker Martin Beek (HEINZ 1945)

HEINZ 1945 was the winner of BEST FILM at the November 2021 BLACK & WHITE Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Karel Hamm (co-director) and I have worked together as DP and camera operator for 35 years, and when we retired from the business 10 years ago we wrote and directed a few (short) movies together.

Except for one, my previous feature film (Littekens, Eng: “scars”) in 2012 that turned out not to be a real success. I promised Karel back then never to make a movie without him again 😉

To celebrate our 35 year anniversary we initially decided to shoot a 35 minute short on 35mil film stock, based on a short comedy script “Heinz” we wrote in the past. It was about an elderly German officer who still lived hidden in a bunker after 75 years, in the Dutch landscape, living on corn and hunting cows 🙂

It was totally nonsensical, and already in an early stage we decided to change the story to a more serious subject – changing Heinz to an innocent low-ranked German footsoldier.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

Plagued by Covid restrictions, the passing away of two crewmembers and bankruptcy of our post production facility…. Two years.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

That’s a difficult one. “War romance” or “forgotten victims” or “Someone’s kid” ?

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

The sound post production. We had a deal for the foley recording, dolby surround sound mix and mastering for a friendly price with a Danish sound studio in Copenhagen we worked with before. They went bankrupt due to the covid regulations (they also did live events audio) and we had to find a solution to do this ourselves. Literally from my last savings money I (Martin) built a dolby surround mastering room with all needed hard- and software to do the job. It took me months to complete because over 50% of all audio is dubbed or recreated (foley).

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

That was really exciting. It also was the first time we got any feedback from any festival, although we competed in more than 25 festivals.

It was very inspiring and heartwarming and we watched it several times with almost disbelief; “are they talking about our movie?”

So many thanks for that and for providing this great service to filmmakers. Feedback is SO important!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I started writing scripts and filming with my father when I was 13. Although I have always been more interested in the art of cinematography and operating the camera.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

That’s a shared first place! The Big Lebowski and Schindler’s List – although very different, I’ve lost count on both of them.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

As said, the feedback video is brilliant. Live viewings with a live audience is so much more “real” than online festivals – but I realise that the current covid situation calls for alternatives.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

It’s great. I only submit through Filmfreeway since Withoutabox went out of business. You only have to be alert when selecting festivals to submit to; there are so many monthly online festivals that have started just this year (first year) and i get the feeling with quite a number of them that it’s just a lucrative way of making money for the organizer.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Everything Asian that is somewhat Kosher (no pork) 😉

11. What is next for you? A new film?

That’s what Karel asks on a weekly basis. But it’s a bit early now. Ask me in a year’s time and you’ll get a more enthusiastic answer, haha.

I’d love to make a thriller. Dark, Nordic noir. Something really creepy.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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