The two Belgian directors Sabine Lubbe Bakker and Niels van Koevorden only met recently in Amsterdam, but were keen to make "Ne Me Quitte Pas," a documentary film that focuses on two Belgian men, both alcoholics, both broken. The directors spoke to Indiewire and spoke about how their collaboration came about. It started when Lubbe Bakker approached van Koevorden and "wanted to make a porn movie about hormonal cows," with van Koevorden enthusiastically replying, "that's funny, my father deals in bull sperm." And so their project came to be.
Tell us about yourself? We were both raised in Belgium. And even went to neighboring high schools although we only met 3 years ago in Amsterdam.
Before we met, Sabine had made one feature length documentary (co-directed by Ester Gould) titled "Shout," which had won best doc at the London International Documentary festival and Niels just graduated from the Film Academy, his graduation film won the VPRO award.
During the making of "Ne Me Quitte Pas" we kept on working on other projects, Sabine directed three, 50 minute TV documentaries (for one of which Niels did the camera work). And Niels also made the award winning short documentary "By Her Side."
Biggest challenge in completing this project? Just like most films, this process too was a roller-coaster ride. In the beginning we simply were extremely anxious to start shooting. Without writing a proper script, we started crowd funding and before we knew it we were driving through Belgium in a camper van loaded with a camera and editing gear. It was on that wild journey that we found a friendship between two very special guys who in the end turned out to be our main characters. Although, nobody really believed in a film about two middle-aged men who drink too much and live in Wallonia, where nothing really happens. We (strangely enough) never had a doubt: we just had to make this film, no matter what.
The biggest challenge was to overcome our own big egos. During a period of almost three years as co-directors, we only had each other, for better or for worse. In the beginning of each new phase (writing, shooting, editing) we had to go through this same weird process where we first started to sabotage each other (we both thought our own ideas were better) then we would realize that wasn't working (every time again and again!), and ending up remembering we really like and respect each others ideas and fully go with the flow of the film instead of following our own ego's. This film feels like a real baby to us and it a result of a very special and memorable production process.
What do you have in the works? Sabine: a feature about Salsa and sex. Niels: a 50 minute documentary about divorcing seniors.
Did you crowdfund? If so, via which platform? And if not, why? We raised the first 10,000 euro through crowdfunding (cinecrowd.nl - a Dutch version of kickstarter.) Although the project changed completely after we got that funding. Later we got funding from the Dutch and Flemish Film fund.
What films have inspired you? "Paradies: Liebe" by Ulrich Seidl, "La vie moderne" by Raymond Depardon and "The Belovs" from Viktor Kossakovsky.
Indiewire invited Tribeca Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2014 festival. Go HERE to read all the entries.