Filmmore is a leading postproduction, Visual Effects and Editing house with offices in Amsterdam, Brussels and Luxembourg. VFXrecruit had a chat with Hans van Helden, Managing Director and VFX Supervisor, about the history of the studio, their current and previous projects, future plans and tips to creating a VFX job application and showreel.
Can you tell us a bit about Filmmore. Who are you and what do you do?
Filmmore is a leading full-service post production facility. Our services include all aspects of image post including dailies services, DI, grading, digital cinema mastering and, as you might have guessed, VFX. We currently have offices in Amsterdam, Brussels and Luxembourg.
What is the background history of Filmmore?
Filmmore was founded in 2006 as a post production company specifically dedicated to the need of filmmakers. A lean and mean facility aiming at the highest quality possible. We focus exclusively on feature films, TV-drama series and documentaries. Strictly long form and no commercials. A concept that was quite revolutionary in those days. Among the founders you’ll find long time post production professionals, a feature film producer and even a commercial (film)director. Personally, I worked as a freelance post production- and visual effects supervisor for 15 years before being asked to be one of the Managing Directors and VFX Producer of Filmmore.
You are located in Amsterdam, Brussels and Luxembourg. What is the benefit of being spread out internationally and how much do you work together across the borders?
Right from the beginning, it has been the ambition to expand the Filmmore concept into a European network; lean and mean on the local markets but as a network large enough and flexible to handle the most demanding projects. Filmmore Brussels opened early in 2011 and Filmmore Luxembourg followed in 2013. At this moment we’re even looking at Indonesia as a possible next location. In Amsterdam and Brussels we share identical post-production pipelines enabling us to work together if there is need for a fast turnaround… which is very often.
Another benefit of our international spread is the fact that each of the countries we are located in have their own, very different, film incentives. Producers can choose Filmmore as their post production partner before they know where and how they will finance their production or they can have spend obligations in multiple countries and ask us to do the VFX in, for instance, Belgium and have the remaining image post in The Netherlands.
Which projects are you most proud of having worked on in Filmmore? and why?
Difficult question. We are proud on all our projects but at the same time we always want to do better on the next one. We try to continuously push the envelope. Maybe that’s why I would consider our newest project the one I’m most proud of; The Night of a Thousand Hours. This is a unique project. The whole film will be shot in rear projection and we will create all images for the projection as photorealistic CG environments. Basically we create the look of the film and, in close cooperation with DP Christian Berger (The White Ribbon), we’ll light the sets…in pre-production. Besides creating the images we will also be on set to do real-time grading and CG camera/light adjustments. We are also developing and building the rear projection rig consisting of multiple screens and projectors.
How often do you hire new talent and what are you looking for in the applicants?
The search for new talent depends on the projects. Each project needs a different crew. Since our core VFX team is relatively small we can build our team specifically to the needs of a project. One day we will look for particle experts another day for matte painters. Apart from expertise we look for applicants that both fit our team and the project. Since we exclusively work on feature films we look for artists with strong experience in that field.
To get the maximum out of our budgets we always try to find talent as close to our facilities as possible or talents who are willing to pay for their own travel and living.
Our main language within Filmmore is English so applicants should at least be able to express him/her self sufficiently in English.
What is a good job application for you and what do you look for when reviewing showreels?
A good job application should be written in proper English and personalized to our company and the project. It should include a motivation and an honest indication of an artist’s experience level.
In showreels we mainly look for photorealistic feature film work that has some kind of relationship with the type and style of project we are recruiting for.
Which projects are you currently working on?
We just finished ‘Secrets of War’ and ‘Kidnapping Freddy Heineken’, starring Anthony Hopkins and Sam Worthington. We are working on ‘The Surprise’, directed by Dutch Academy Award winner Mike van Diem. Lots of big vfx shots, hilarious script and a great team to work with. And we are very much looking forward to working on the The Night of a Thousand Hours for which we are now doing R&D.
How do you see the future for Filmmore and what is, in your opinion, the goals over the next 5 years?
Filmmore has been growing quite rapidly the last years. For the future we plan to open more offices but we mainly see growth in VFX. My goal is to take our VFX department to the next creative and technical level and be competitive with the top European VFX houses.
Do you have any advice for people looking to get into VFX?
Be prepared to keep learning. Practice a lot. Specialize. Enjoy.
Filmmore’s VFX Reel