Award of Merit – “Uprooted” (Netherlands)

Title: Uprooted
Runtime: 6 min
Country: Netherlands 
Director: Elwin Rijken
Placement: Award of Merit
Competition: December, 2020

Synopsis: A married couple with relationship problems are going to a couples therapist for a deep session.

FILMMAKER Q&A – Elwin Rijken – Director, Writer, Editor

OR: What was the inspiration for your film?

ER: My movie was grounded in two train of thoughts. 

One was, can I make a movie that abandons continuity, creating mistakes in continuity in every single new shot. And to what effect?

The second one was, can I make a movie that picks a dramatic story arc to incorporate my editing experiment with. 

With the pandemic times there are a lot of sad and tragic stories in the (local) news about domestic violence. This inspired me to make a small scale intimate shortfilm about this subject. 

I am very much inspired by surrealist filmmakers like Luis Bunuel, Michel Gondry, Charlie Kaufman and love to work in the surrealistic genre and magic realistic genre. But I always want to keep the dramatic core grounded in reality.

The movie was made within the 48 Hour Film Project and our team picked the (psychological) horror genre.

OR: When did you conceive the idea for your film and how long did it take before it was realized?

ER: I had 48 hours to make the movie, so after I new I had to write a horror story, I thought of dramatic storylines and came up with the domestic abuse, because I think it’s a delicate and important tragic topic.

My idea for making a movie that plays with continuity could be incorporated in this story to show the disorientation and shocking nature of such a violent and broken relationship that you witness collapsing.

OR: What was the most challenging aspect of working in a short film format?

ER: For myself: to write, produce, direct and edit in 48 hours. I had little sleep haha. But luckily I also had a very nice team of 14 people (production and post production) to help me with all the other work and they did a great job. I am especially proud of the actors who did such emotional empathetic acting in such a short time. It was some intense acting work by Ineke, Frank and Askr and I am very happy with the result.

OR: What was the most challenging aspect of your production?

ER: To have made this movie within all the COVID restrictions, wearing masks on the set, keeping social distance. That made it extra difficult.

OR: Do you have any advice for first-time filmmakers?

ER: Yes, keep making short films and do it for the passion of it. Learn while playing.