Dutch director, screenwriter, and filmmaker, Sanne Kortooms, is based in Amsterdam and is one of Europe’s brightest new stars behind the camera. Her latest short film, “To Catch A Fly,” has garnered her acclaim from critics, film festivals, and fans around the globe. Her edgy, uninhibited storytelling and candid humor charm you into her world. Once you are captive, she subtly turns up the shadows and cool emotional colors until you are in a trance of addictive drama. Her clever choice of cast deliver an undeniable, tour de force performance. Kortooms’s directorial prowess has poised her to receive limitless opportunities in feature filmmaking.
Scorpius recently had the privilege to get a rare glimpse inside of her fascinating world.
Scorpius: Where did your passion for filmmaking originate?
Kortooms: I was born the oldest of three children in a small village with only seven streets. My grandfather was a huge movie fan. He was in a cinema club that would goto the movies a few times a week. I was his first grandchild. When I was old enough he would take me with him to the shows. He also taught me a lot about the cinema and how the industry operated. That’s where my love for it really developed. My father was a psychiatrist and a musician. He was great with music lyrics and a great storyteller. I believe a lot of my creative passion came from him.
Scorpius: Which films inspired you the most growing up?
Kortooms: Fight Club was amazing! I was in awe with everything about it. It was heavy and dramatic and also funny. I loved the psychology of it. Memento also had a huge impact on me. I watched it over and over. I analyzed it on paper and tried to comprehend and decide what I would have done with it. So those were the kind of movies. When they have layers so you can look at the surface and just go with it, or you can look deeper and you’ll find much more. I love to play with those elements in my own films. To give the audience an opportunity to comprehend the surface through their own point of view or to look deeper and find another world, completely. Another film that made a very strong impression on me was Sixth Sense.
Scorpius: What inspired your new film, “To Catch A Fly?”
Kortooms: It was inspired while I was staying at the actual house featured in the movie. I first visited the house when i was ten years old. It is in the south of France. My parents took us there for a short holiday. It was a very scary place. As we drove through the outlying village there was no one in the streets and all the windows were closed. It was like a ghost town. There was an erie playground and no one would play there. The house was a little outside the village on a little mountain. There were lots of ruins around the house. I remember thinking to myself, “What is this, what is this kind of place?” When I walked through the door I saw a big rusty ax standing there. The only modern thing in the house was actually a record player. The outhouse in the movie was the bathroom. It was kind of like camping out. In the summer the days are hot and sunny with amazing landscapes, but in the night there is no light whatsoever so it is very dark. I’m kind of drawn to those kind of places because they’re a little bit scary and you can feel that something has happened there so it gets my mind spinning. About six years ago I started to visit the house by myself a couple of times a year to write. It’s very conducive to creativity as it is such a remote place. Amsterdam is always so hectic and there’s so much going on. It’s hard to sit at my desk there and say, “Ok, for the next few hours I’m going to sit here and write”.
In the summer of 2015 I was there in the summer and it was so hot! There were flies everywhere inducing a kind of insanity. It was then that I was inspired to do this black comedy where two people were staying at that house, who were on an unlikely journey as they didn’t even know each other. I weaved confusion on the surface where you see these people which invoke an initial impression but actually you don’t have a clue. Why would they be in a house like this. Where there’s heat, stench, and boredom, but there’s something on the line here. So that’s where it was born. After I returned to the Netherlands, I decided to take it further. I brought on a good friend, screenwriter, Rudi Brekelmans, We returned to the remote house in France and finished writing the screenplay together fueled by wine and French Baguette. In April of 2016 we received a little bit of funding but we decided we weren’t going to wait for funding to start so we found producer, Peter Peter Van Den Dungen. We shot the film in August and September of 2016 in France and in the Netherlands. It was a dream cast headed up by Manou Kersting, Melody Klaver, and Martin van Waardenberg. Also, Jason De Ridder,Vincenzo De Jonghe, Remco Koning, Jesse Schimmel, and Liv van Roon.
Scorpius: What is your vision for your future as a filmmaker?
Kortooms: Filmmaking is my greatest passion, it’s my true love. I’m a professional director in the Netherlands now. I work on a variety of projects from documentaries to commercials. However, my true dream is to direct feature films. I’m currently working on a screenplay for a feature film version of “To Catch A Fly”. There is so much more to tell and so many directions I want to take it. I’m hoping to find a producer and the funding to make that happen. I’m also in the market to direct any film that is interesting and has promise.