5Q's w/Niels Bourgonje "Skógafoss" Director



#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters?

'Skógafoss' tells the story of a young man (early twenties) who has to deal with his mentally unstable mother, while on vacation in Iceland with his girlfriend. Whenever I show the film, people come up to me and tell me how they are dealing with similar situations in their own life. The film apparently hits a raw nerve when it comes to difficult family dynamics, especially when mental health issues are involved.

#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?

Fortunately our mysterious title doesn't give the viewer any point of reference, so they are pretty much getting thrown into the deep. But what I will say is that the goal of our film is to get rid of the stigma and get people talking about mental health issues.

PS: 'Skógafoss' is actually the name of the waterfall you see at the end of the film. ;)


#3: What is your movie making background? Tell us about yourself.

I never went to film school, so I guess you could call me a DIY filmmaker. While I make a living directing commercials, I try to make as many narrative short projects as I can. So far I've directed twelve shorts. One of the biggest successes was a short called 'Buddy' which was selected for more than sixty international filmfestivals including Palm Springs ShortFest. My short film 'Bridge' ended up winning ten awards worldwide. 'Skógafoss' so far has won eight. I live and work in the Netherlands, but try to shoot everywhere. Before shooting 'Skógafoss' in Iceland, I directed a short in Los Angeles. The next one I am going to make in New York.

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#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?

Originally we developed the screenplay to apply for a 70k grant. We didn't get it. We ended up making it for 10k. I guess the biggest lesson I learned was that if you really feel the need to tell a certain story, you will find a way to get it made.

#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?

In February I'm directing a short horror/thriller in New York. I will be working with a local cast and crew, but the post-production will be done with a team of Dutch professionals. With this short film I hope to get a feature film off the ground. Maybe in the States. Time will tell.

Matthew NothelferComment