Film and Television Academy as a director. She has directed several highly acclaimed documentaries and
award-winning fiction shorts that have been shown on television and at several international film festivals,
such as “Ball Possession,” which won two nominations at the New York City Short Film Festival. “Mussels in Love” was Kluijfhout’s first feature length film, which competed for the Canon Cinematography Award at the
Planete+ Doc festival in Warsaw, Poland (May 2013) and was the opening film at the Culinary Cinema at the
Berlin Film Festival in 2013.
Her latest feature-length documentary, “Sergio Herman: Fucking Perfect,” will premiere at the Berlinale
2015. A revealing story about perfection, ambition and sacrifices, it is about master chef Sergio Herman, who closes down his 3 Michelin-star restaurant Oud Sluis. (Press materials)
WK: I love food, I love cinema and a good story. Thanks to my film “L’Amour des Moules” (Mussels in Love), I was given the chance to take a look behind the scenes of Oud Sluis. I was deeply impressed by the high level of performance and began to see that cooking on a Michelin-star level is like avant-garde art. The creativity behind the dishes was one thing I wanted to show, but the personal story of Sergio Herman was the main inspiration to make this documentary. This film is about a man in transition. Sergio is at the height of his success. But he wants to stop at the top of his game. The existential questions Sergio faces and the doubts he undergoes are feelings that every ambitious person would identify with.
Sergio has a strong personality full of contrasts. What drives him? Despite his purposeful stance, he is constantly in search for something different, something better. For those lofty ambitions, something else has got to give, and that is not without consequences. Sergio Herman slowly begins to realisz that the price of success is high, maybe too high. Those are questions that resonate with my own life.
WK: There were many challenges, as always in documentary. First of all, there was this secret that he would close his restaurant. Nobody was allowed to know. He had only shared it with a few intimates. He had told me, and it was one of the reasons that I knew the story would have a big turn. But I couldn’t tell anyone, was not allowed to make it public, until he himself brought it to the press. So it was hard to explain others why this would make a great story.
WK: I hope they have been on a journey, that they are immensely inspired by the passion, creativity, and ambition of Sergio Herman, but at the same time aware of existential questions in life. I hope that the story resonates their own lives: What choices do I make? Do I do enough to fulfill my dreams? How do I cope with my family and work? What sacrifices do I make? What drives me?
WK: I would like to cite Madeleine Albright: “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”
WK: That documentary doesn’t need a great story. That is one big misconception.
WK: The film is made as a Teledoc. For this project public broadcasters, CoBO with Dutch Film Fund, and independent documentary producers worked together. A Teledoc is a documentary with a contemporary Dutch topic or clearly Dutch connection, taking place in the present, accessible, stimulating, narrative, cinematic, and intended for a wide television and/or cinema audience. A maximum of 12 contributions for development and 6 contributions [for making the] Teledocs are awarded annually. The length of the films is between 75 and 90 minutes. The budget for development and test shots are up to € 20,000 and €300,000 for realization.
WK: Fish Tank by Andrea Arnold. There is so much energy in this film. Despite the miserable situation the young girl is in, growing up on a bleak Essex council estate with a mother that doesn’t take care of her, this is a film full of hope and tenderness and humor. Sensitive without being sentimental.