Continuing our features on 2015 Inside Pictures participants, we are delighted to spotlight entertainment lawyer and executive producer Joris van Wijk. Based in the Netherlands, Joris has over ten years of experience in the European film and television industry as both in-house and outside counsel. He is former head of business and legal at distribution company A-Film and has been production legal counsel and executive producer on numerous pictures, with budgets ranging from two to twenty million US Dollars.
We asked Joris a few questions about his work and his participation on Inside Pictures…
I was attracted by the opportunity to learn from the best and get to know them, which includes both the speakers and my fellow participants. I’ve predominantly worked on productions within continental Europe and I want to expand towards the UK and US industries. Being on Inside Pictures is the perfect springboard for that.
What are you most excited about on the programme?
The biggest adrenaline rushes during the first module came at moments where I felt out of my depth. That’s scary at first, you feel like you should know this already; then comes the realization that you’ve gained new insights and have the opportunity to master new skills. Every night I went to bed with my head still buzzing. We finished Module 1 four weeks ago and exhausted as we all were, I really didn’t want it to end.
You worked for many years as an entertainment lawyer and are now also a producer. What has been the most important lesson you’ve learnt from your years of legal experience that can be brought across to production?
Have your business and legal issues sorted early on in the creative process. If you leave loose ends or make mistakes here, they will haunt you throughout development, production and exploitation of the film.
You have worked on some exciting and complex projects. What has been your career highlight so far?
In 2009 I executive produced The Storm, a disaster flick about the 1953 tsunami that inundated the South-West of The Netherlands. We raised EUR 6,3 million – a huge budget for a small territory like the Netherlands – without co-producing or tax incentives. The production was mostly shot on location, involved water (lots of it), babies and animals, the terrible three of filmmaking. There were some very interesting problems to resolve throughout development and production, but the movie was delivered on time and on budget, did good business and the investors got a handsome return.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m actually working on a business plan with one of my fellow participants – more about that soon I hope. Apart from my business & legal practice and executive producing service, I’m developing a project for Universal and am putting together a very interesting USA – Canada – Netherlands co-production. It’s exactly the kind of thing I hoped participating in Inside Pictures would give a boost to!