CinemAsia Film Festival Interview ENG: Raoul Groothuizen.

Raoul Groothuizen

CinemAsia Film Festival is from the 6th till 11th of March 2018.

Interview by: Feargal Agard | FilmLAB participant: Raoul Groothuizen

Film: Hirofumi’s Suitcase (2018) | Genre: Romance, Comedy | Languages: English, Japanese.

I am Raoul Groothuizen.

“My name is Raoul Groothuizen. I studied audio-visual design in Rotterdam, which was a practical and very technical program with which I mainly focused on camerawork, editing, and audio. Besides that, I did an internship in Rotterdam and Utrecht as a cameraman and editor. At a certain point, I noticed that I wanted a more creative direction because I had reached a point where I was not completely happy. That is why I applied to Film academies in both the Netherlands and Belgium, and now I’m at the Royal Institute for Theater, Cinema, and Sound in Brussels. I’m gaining experience in screenwriting. I first obtained my Bachelor’s and now I’m working on my Masters.”

Hirofumi’s Suitcase (2018).

“I’m the scriptwriter for Hirofumi’s Suitcase (2018). Hirofumi’s Suitcase is about a Japanese expat who temporarily lives and works in the Netherlands, and who attends a language course with a compatriot and other expats. He has a huge crush on his Dutch teacher, but in his culture, it isn’t the custom to be direct about it.”

“In the Netherlands, we are used to approaching a person and say what you think and feel, but in some Asian countries that isn’t the case. That’s why he is dealing with a culture and language barrier, and he does not know how to express his love for his teacher. When he finds out that she is leaving for a world trip, he suddenly feels the urge to quickly seize the opportunity to express his love for her. Without being embarrassed.”

“The theme I wanted to explore was about language barriers. To me, it’s interesting to see that when a person is under the pressure of having a limited time to take the chance to express his love for someone. A language barrier is really annoying, but if you would miss an opportunity due to the language and time constraints, what would you do? That was the essence of the story for me.”

CinemAsia gives the opportunity to discover yourself.

“I am convinced that everywhere in the world, every origin, everyone has ideas and stories to tell. So I think it’s great that CinemAsia does its best to promote Asian films. CinemAsia gives Asians the chance to discover more about themselves, but also to develop themselves in the field of film. If you graduate from the film academy as one of the few Asians you will notice how difficult it is to break through in the Dutch film world.”

“I also think it’s very important for all other cultural film festivals that focus more on groups that are less represented in the film industry because I think it’s important that all people from different backgrounds get a chance. Just like how we gave our main actor a chance to act while he does not actually have an acting experience. He did a great job.”

“The CinemAsia FilmLAB also gave us the opportunity to make films that will be screened at the festival. That way they see more films than just those of the big filmmakers, and because of this they also see stories of Asians from the Netherlands who did their best to make their voices be heard.”

“Doing what you like most.”

“In addition to being a screenwriter, I would also like to direct. I have written and directed a film for CinemAsia before, but also during my studies. In the end, screenwriting was my Achilles heel, which is why I started to focus on writing film scripts. I certainly do want to work as a screenwriter, but I do not want to give up my dream of becoming a director. I tried everything else like editing, sound, and cinematography, and I liked that. Except that if you involve yourself with editing, you’re locked in a room. As a cameraman or cinematographer, you have to invest in very expensive equipment and sound is very important but I always thought it to be the least interesting. Screenwriting is the cheapest you can do, but if you are a director you have a vision and you stand on the set and you’re involved with actors, which I think is super fun to gain experience.”

“I’m still studying now and I still do not really have paid assignments. As a student, you often do assignments for free or for a low amount, because you do not have a large portfolio yet. But if you want to do something in the creative sector you have to fight for what you want to achieve. You have to do what you like the most and gain enough knowledge and experience to find what you are good at.”

Photo and interview by Feargal Agard.

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