Back to IndieWire

Meet the 2013 Tribeca Filmmaker #16: Leonard Retel Helmrich & Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich Explore Holland’s Identity in ‘Raw Herring’

Meet the 2013 Tribeca Filmmaker #16: Leonard Retel Helmrich & Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich Explore Holland's Identity in 'Raw Herring'

Filmmaking is a family affair for brother and sister duo Leonard Retel Helmrich and Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich. Hetty’s son Jasper has worked for them, editing their last two films, “Position Among The Stars,” which won awards at IDFA and Sundance and was acquired by HBO. The three are back with their latest,”Raw Herring.”

What’s it about: Much of Holland’s identity is shaped by raw herring: fishing for it, selling it and eating it raw – with chopped onions. “Raw Herring” is a portrait of the only two Dutch boats left that catch herring and process it on-board, showing how the fishermen hang on to century-old traditions and passing them on to their young sons who join them on board.

What else should audiences know?: “They will have a chance to spend some time with the captain and his crew on the two ships: their physically demanding work, the occasional boredom, punctuated by a firm belief in God, and their wives and children on land. It’s an almost extinct craft and way of life, due to strong competition from Norwegian fishermen and EU regulations.”

On the biggest challenges: “Getting to know the crew and gaining their trust. Learning about their way of living and working so we could best capture it from the inside.”

What they hope audiences will walk away with: “After the trilogy we made in Indonesia, the last of which was “Position Among The Stars”, we set our sights on our own country, the Netherlands. We wanted to tell a story about pride, tradition and how this small fishing community adapts to a new world.” 

Films that inspired him: “Dutch documentary filmmaker’s like Bert Haanstra’s “Glass”, which is meticulously choreographed, highlighting the mechanical beauty of the subject and Joris Iven”s film ‘The Bridge’.”

What’s next: “Leonard is working on a 3D feature film about a poker game with geo-political stakes to be shot in New York. Now that he is teaching filmmaking at NYU, he has great access to talent and resources.”

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 2013 festival.

Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch of the festival on April 17 for the latest profiles.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Festivals and tagged ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox