“How a cow catches a hare”, or roughly translated: one never knows what the future holds…
That Dutch expression is definitely appropriate for what happened on March 29, 2012 on Dutch TV.
I shot my last footage in Poland for Disappearing Act in December 2008, after following the last traces of where Ben Ali Libi might have been seen subsequent to the liberation.
It opened up new avenues, but I realized I needed new collaborators to be able to finish the film. However, life intervened in 2009 and I had to step away from the film a little. However, even if you lock the stage door on a magician, it doesn’t mean he won’t make himself reappear.
On March 29, 2012, I received a phone call from a Dutch friend in France who was watching the Dutch talk show Pauw en Witteman.
The Dutch broadcaster, Vara, had already spent 2 segments on Ben Ali Libi and the audience response was enormous. The talk-show borrowed a segment from my demo that showed Ben Ali Libi’s son performing. About a million viewers both evening and Twitter exploded.
For the whole demo, click here.
For me, it was the sign that made clear that it was time again to bring Ben Ali Libi back to the Netherlands.
I contacted Dirk Jan Roeleven and we met a few weeks after in Amsterdam. As the director of the documentary about the poet Willem Wilmink (who wrote the poem about Ben Ali Libi) and he was very interested in collaborating to bring the film to the screen.
TV-magic doesn’t happen overnight, as Holland is not much different than the US in that account. Everything takes time…
Now it is more than 2 years later, but DirkJan is finally able to start principal photography.
I will keep blogging about the ins and outs of co-producing with the Netherlands, and the progress of both the documentary and the feature film. They are separate projects, but also share an unbreakable bond.