Imagine if John Woo and Woody Allen teamed up to direct a film together, and you might start to get a taste of the Dutch language film ‘Plan C’, an official selection at this year’s New Orleans Film Fest.
Ronald Plasmeyer (Ruben Van Der Meer) is a small-time Amsterdam detective with a gambling habit that is spinning out of control. When a Chinese crime boss threatens Ronald’s ex-wife and son to get his money back, Ronald comes up with a plan. He enlists two petty thieves to rob an illegal poker tournament – one in which Ronald is participating. Soon, Ronald is in the middle of a cat and mouse game with the police and some shady Amsterdam characters.
“I guess I like when it’s very human or very specifically stylized,” said Max Porcelijn, director of Plan C, who made the trip to New Orleans with producer Sander Verdonk.
Porcelijn and Verdonk made Plan C outside the Dutch film system, one that provides extraordinarily generous government subsidies… but only to whom a small board chooses. “We have a state subsidized system,” said Porcelijn. “It sounds luxurious but there’s all kinds of difficult stuff going on. When you sit across those guys, I often have to ask, ‘do you really like films? Do you know films?’” So Verdonk and Porcelijn lined up some private investors while taking out as many loans as they could and made the film. “You’re kind of like and entrepreneur with a plan trying to persuade people, even actors or crew, to put their trust in you and try to make it work,” said Porcelijn.
Their efforts have paid off, and Porcelijn has been spending time in Los Angeles lately. “I don’t know what will happen, if I’ll be there longer, but it’s also fun. I went to all these meetings on studio lots, and it’s just fun as a film buff.” Porcelijn said L.A. is “the opposite of everything European in every sense, but coming from Amsterdam, it’s also a little refreshing to have this shark mentality.”
They’ve also enjoyed their first trip to New Orleans. Typically, young filmmakers can’t afford to attend every film festival in which their film is entered, but the duo made sure to make it to the Crescent City. “I really like what I’d heard and seen about New Orleans, so we both always wanted to come here. So what better excuse than to have your film selected for a film festival?” Porcelijn and Verdonk have been making the most of their time here, having already visited the Saenger Theater twice, once to see Prairie Home Companion and again to see Wynton Marsalis. “They’re both very non-Dutch things, very different, but very good music,” said Porcelijn. They also have enjoyed their share of oysters, both raw and fried, and have otherwise been “meeting a lot of people, drinking way too much. It’s a very lively city.”
It’s been a professionally fulfilling trip as well. “It’s just fun and interesting to see different audiences’ reactions, especially foreign audiences,” said Porcelijn. “There’s something about making a film that you can only learn by watching it with an audience.”
Porcelijn said he and Verdonk are currently working on two different projects that have him chomping at the bit.
Brian Friedman writes about New Orleans for NolaVie.