Why Shoot a Short Film With Mees Peijnenburg

While at the 2020 Berlin Film Festival (Berlinale) CineVino spoke with Mees Peijnenburg, a native of Amsterdam, Netherlands and a director who’s work includes ‘Even Cowboys Get to Cry’ that premiered at Berlinale 2014. His most recent film ‘We Will Never Be Royals’, won 2 Golden Calfs at the Netherlands Film Festival 2015.

Mees Peijnenburg: I couldn’t have done what I have done now without making the shorts. Making short films has brought me so much in discovering visual language, discovering storytelling, discovering working with multiple actors. It’s like tasting constantly. All the short films I have done before are completely different but for me, I see a consistency in emotional delivery from narrative. But the whole visual atmosphere, the whole audio visual atmosphere is completely different. And I think there is less pressure with a short. You can easily test things, there is a huge opportunity to fail, which is the best thing ever, to keep on failing all the way through.

Mees Peijnenburg: I just finished another short like a month ago now. Just out of curiosity. I want to test a new visual language with only zooming in to frame a certain actor constantly like an animal in a cage, and I was thinking I can do this in my next feature or I can test it out now if this will be something I can use in a longer length. Oh yeah, please, everybody should make shorts.

Mees Peijnenburg: A short is also so nice, “it’s like wine” someone said to me. You have to drink it and hopefully it keeps on tasting in your everything. Which I think, yeah, a feature length you have to have consistant narrative that is really banging and with a short, you can just poof and hopefully the fireworks explode later as well.

Mees Peijnenburg: If people think they are better off making feature from the start, I don’t blame them. For me at least, I couldn’t have done it. Or it would have been totally totally different for me. I lthink the failures that I made before have taught me so much and I much would have done it with my previous film vs the film I just did. Also because I didn’t know about  90 minutes, and 10 minutes there is a different arch and still I saw this edit and said “oh yeah, what the fuck am I doing? I need to do this next time.” But obviously you keep learning.

A short is also so nice, “it’s like wine” someone said to me.

Mees Peijnenburg: And also I surrounded myself with for instant, the cinematographer who really knew the arch already. So while I was shooting and my insecurities, he’d say, yeah man you’ll be fine.   Yeah man that is so cool, maybe review this a bit and.. Everyone has their own learning

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