1 + 1 = 3

Even though I’m somewhat of a control freak when it comes to creating things, there’s no such thing as making a film on your own. It has been a big lesson for me to learn to accept other peoples’ help, or even, going one step further, asking for it. To be honest it’s something I can still struggle with sometimes, but in general I can say that collaborating with others has greatly benefited my creative process. Having said that, not every collaboration is of the same standard.
Sometimes when you work with someone there seems to be an instant connection and ideas suddenly start flowing freely. It’s like you tap into a different source that only starts flowing when you’re both connected to it, making you aware of a trail that otherwise wouldn’t become even slightly visible.

In 2007 I applied for a talent programme at BNN. After a few selection rounds they invited the last seventy applicants to come to BNN somewhere in December that year. I remember feeling really confident about it, since their head office building was situated in the Arendstraat. Arend was the name of my late grandfather and it is also my second name. It’s a bit silly of course, but it just made me feel like it was all meant to be. Eventually someone at BNN decided I should be in a team with Anne Sophie. A great decision, because when we are creating something together one plus one really seems to be three.
Anne Sophie is genuinely original when coming up with ideas and when we’re working on a project and I don’t know what to do anymore, she will, or the other way around. It’s always a pleasure working together with her because when it comes to making either film or any kind of visual styling she’s very talented. (you’ll find lots of proof of that on her website)
We were both really happy to be accepted into the BNN programme and we worked together on several fun projects. I still view my period there as a great learning experience, but in the great scheme of things I’d like to believe that I was there to meet Anne Sophie. Besides working together we also became very good friends.

An extremely detailed and realistic drawing of what we currently look like

In the summer of 2012 I decided that I was going to make my first documentary. And even though I couldn’t have been more sure of the fact that I was going to do it, I didn’t have the faintest idea of how I was going to do it. The only thing I knew for sure was that I only had two months to prepare for something I didn’t know how to prepare for.
The fact that I didn’t have the proper filming gear or a filming permit for filming in China, didn’t really boost my confidence. I also knew that it was going to be really hard, if not impossible, to do everything by myself and I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to pay someone to come with me. After a quick glance at my bank account I even reached a point where I felt that maybe I was suffering from delusions of grandeur.

In that same period I met with Anne Sophie because we were talking about creating a new website for Jeanmarie about the dwarf. I told her about my crazy plans to make a film about him and about the many obstacles I would have to overcome to actually make it happen. Expecting no as an answer,  I asked her if she would like to come along. Luckily, Anne Sophie is also a bit crazy and she almost instantly offered to come with me. A few days later we were both booking our tickets to China.
As comforting as it might seem that I didn’t have to do it all by myself, it was pretty stressful. The chain of thoughts I had when the tickets were booked was somewhere along the lines of : “YES, Woohoo!!! Shit, this is for real… I’m not the only one anymore that has invested money in this crazy idea of mine….this better be good…Fuck, I’m broke and we’re leaving in two months, I need more money…we need to buy better gear…HELP!”
In the weeks that followed somehow the assignments kept coming in and we both worked frantically to be able to buy everything we needed. Two months later we landed in Kunming.

Filming in the rural area’s of Yunnan, China

I’m extremely thankful that Anne Sophie was brave enough to take this leap of faith and join me on this insane but enriching journey. As expected Anne Sophie and I were, and still are, a great team. We believe that in the past few months we have been creating a unique story together. Combined with Anne Sophies’ extraordinary talent for making beautiful images – you’ll know what I mean when you’ll see the footage – we can already sense that the film will turn out to be everything that we could have hoped for! And in the great scheme of things…

Anne Sophie and Frank are now a very happy couple! 🙂

Anne Sophie & Frank in Yunnan, China.
A postcard of me as Cupid, made by Anne Sophie