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Aruba International Film Festival


Aruba International Film Festival Year 5 Kicks Off October 7-11 2015.

The Aruba International Film Festival (AIFF) quickly became the international film community’s “must-attend” summer event after its opening in July 2010. After 4 intensely exciting years, the festival took a break in 2014 for a complete makeover and now is back with full force to celebrate year 5 from October 7th-11th, 2015. 

The festival offers a pleasurable and inviting atmosphere for filmmakers, press and film lovers. It serves to not only develop an understanding and appreciation of the art of cinema and filmmaking, but also to inspire, educate and promote emerging local and regional filmmaking talent. This in turn has helped position Aruba as a center of art, culture and creativity, and as a viable destination for international film and commercial productions.

The AIFF was founded in 2010 by film producers Jonathan Vieira and Giuseppe Cioccarelli, with artistic direction by 30-year industry veteran Claudio Masenza. Previous editions of the festival have showcased a diverse array of critically acclaimed fiction films and documentaries from every corner of the globe, and have attracted such notable industry names as:

Hollywood leading man Richard Gere (Pretty Woman, An Officer and a Gentleman)
Multi Oscar-winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker (Raging Bull, The Aviator)
Mexican writer/director Guillermo Arriaga (The Burning Plain, Babel)...




Interview with 12 MONTHS IN ONE DAY Director Margot Schaap

EEN DAG IN ‘T JAAR/12 MONTHS IN 1 DAY (Netherlands) is book-ended by two new years eve parties. In the span of one year, we follow three friends (Misha, Seb and Yvonne) who have been brought together by the death of someone close to them (Twan- brother, old friend and first love). Lyrical and introspective, the film weaves stream of consciousness inner monologues of each character with their conversations together as they help each other grieve. The film recently won Best International Feature at the Aruba International Film Festival.


In a recent interview with Margot, here is what she had to say:

The film is very poetic. Is the dialogue based on real conversations?

MARGOT: For this film we worked with improvisation. There was no script at all. Also the dialogues are improvised, and thereby based on ‘real’ conversations. Because we didn’t have a script to work with in order to prepare for the shooting, we needed a different kind of preparation. Before our first day of shooting we developed extensive biographies of the characters and a ‘book of habits’. During these preparations I interviewed the actors in character. And I sent them lists with questions, to answer both from character, as from themselves. Piece and bits of these stories and memories that arose from these questions, we used for building their characters. We never rehearsed scenes that would be in the film, but only scenes that happened in the past en were crucial for their mutual relationships. With al these preparations we made a foundation for the improvisations on set.

Most people say films should be less dialogue and more visuals but the dialogue is what drives this film so expertly. What do you have to say about breaking the rules with scriptwriting?

MARGOT: I think dialogues can be just as important as visuals. Both are tools to express a certain mood or tell a certain story. But I think it’s crucial that the dialogue isn’t merely used to transfer information for the plot. Dialogue becomes interesting when it’s not so much about what exactly is said, but how it is said. The words a character uses, the rhythm of his sentences, can tell a lot about the way a character is, and can at the same time be of great importance for the atmosphere of a film.

The relations between these three characters is so tense and fragile. They have been brought together by a death and suffer in their own ways. Is this film homage to the person that died?

MARGOT: Twan is like the engine of the film. It’s the one who once brought these three people together and at the same time it’s the one that hold them together until today. Although he is not here anymore, he will be in their lives forever. He’s like a ghost, accompanying them, without being visible. For me the film is more like homage to human behavior. How inadequate we are to really reach each other. But with persistence we sometimes manage, very shortly, to fall together with the other, with the experience of time or with ourselves.

How did you pick the cast? Was that tough?

MARGOT: The actors were involved from the very beginning of the project, and were also part of creating the working method. For me, it was important that they already knew each other. I think it’s tangible in the way they play, you somehow sense their shared history. At the same time it was important to work with actors that are willing to embark on a journey and investigate another way of filmmaking.

Is it hard to make an indie film in Holland today or are there incentives to support the arts?

MARGOT: There are incentives to support the arts. But in this case we did it almost without any financial support, in order to be as free as possible. We did get financial support from the Dutch Filmfund during the postproduction, which made it possible to distribute the film in the Dutch cinemas.

How have audiences reacted to the film?

MARGOT: Of course there is not one general response. But over all the reactions were surprisingly good. Maybe I expected more people to find the film difficult to watch, because it has a way of story telling that is not so common. It asks for an open mind and an active attitude of the viewer.  So I would say, never underestimate the viewer.

The film recently premiered at the Aruba International Film Festival and won the jury prize for Best Feature. Can you tell us about that? 

MARGOT: The two actresses Vera Ketelaars and Anne Gehring went to Aruba to accompany the film at the festival. In the meanwhile I was at the Mannheim-Heidelberg Film Festival for the screening of our film and received their message that the film won the jury prize for Best Feature. Of course I was very, very happy. It’s feels like a great acknowledgement of our way of working and at the same time as an encourament to experiment with different ways of storytelling in film.

What is next for the film and will you be making another feature? 

MARGOT: Last week the film won the Special Newcomer Award and the Fipresci International Critic Award at the Mannheim-Heidelberg Film Festival. Hopefully we will continue to show our film at other film festivals around the world. And we decided to do a filmic experiment every five years, with the same cast and crew. Featuring the same characters. I’m already looking forward to show people how these characters have developed in the next five years. In the meanwhile I’m working on my second feature film. 

View trailer here: 



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