Most of my films have music, musical cultures or musicians as their subject. During twenty years of working I have developed my own style of filming, which was initially influenced by my training as a visual anthropologist (ethnomusicologist). When I have the privilege and permission to be present for a while in a local music culture, anywhere in the world, I try to be as humble as possible as an outsider, moving with what is happening. Up to now it has always been meetings in which experience and knowledge was exchanged in the musical field, but also on a human level, which have been enormously enriching and inspiring for me, and hopefully for all the people involved.
I prefer to work with a small crew, mostly alone, sometimes with only a sound man / woman. I often also involve local people in the filming process. I immerse myself in the local community. You can call it a cine-trance, a way of improvising and becoming a part of the subject to film. And even though I try to be as invisible as possible, the moment we start a conversation, my own presence (sometimes even making music together) and having different frames of reference, is a good trigger, to discuss and try to understand the essence of the local music. I then try to organically reflect the character of the music in the rhythm of the film, in the choice of images and ambient sounds and in the choices of storytelling.
The last decade I have been experimenting with the role of music in films that do not have music as their subject. Music, not only to reenforce emotions, but a more leading role in the storytelling. For example the documentary Water-Dessert about the flooding of 1916 in Waterland. The music was specially composed for the film and reflected on the stories in the film of people who (or who’s relatives) experienced the flooding. The music was filmed in meaningful places in the landscape and the compositions were sometimes used in their entirety in the editing.