The films produced should always be enjoyable and never dull, and the content is paramount. The filmmaker’s vision of the central theme is the starting point for every project. Moreover, the emphasis is on filmmaking being a collective endeavour. All of which translates into an open and extrovert vision. With this in mind, it is easy to understand why Elbe Stevens Films has often initiated collaborative projects in addition to stand-alone productions over the past ten years. They aim to strengthen the culture of filmmaking, with a strong emphasis on talent development.
In 2012, Elbe Stevens Films, Billy van den Ende, and Patrick Oliemeulen founded the CineSud foundation to promote the film sector in the south of the Netherlands and the border region. It brings filmmakers and audiences together through events, training, and workshops. Up until this point, filmmaking in the Netherlands had usually been concentrated around Amsterdam. However, the provinces provide favourable conditions for the film industry. Besides the diverse landscape, there are many practical benefits to operating with more space around you, and nearby countries offer co-production opportunities. CineSud primarily has a facilitating function. Since Elbe Steven Films mainly focuses on producing films, the baton was successfully passed to Guido Franken after the start-up phase. CineSud has grown into a household name in the Netherlands.
In 2013, in collaboration with Lumière Cinema in Maastricht, Elbe Stevens founded Masterplan Filmtalent Limburg, a talent development project for the Euregio (the border region of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany). The Masterplan connects talented makers to professional networks. Over three years, several noteworthy films developed using the student-master principle. The plan consists of a collaboration between art schools, governments, and cultural institutions. The project’s biggest success was DE SMET (2014) directed by Wim Geudens and Thomas Baerten. The film has been shown at more than a hundred film festivals worldwide and has won 19 international awards, including the Canal + Award in Clermont Ferrand, the world’s largest short-film festival.
In 2014, Elbe received the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund’s Inspiration Award in the field of film from the King’s Commissioner, Theo Bovens.
‘Through Cinesud and Masterplan Filmtalent, Elbe gives young Limburg film and television makers an enormous boost. His aptitude to work across disciplines is perfectly demonstrated in the collaboration with Limburg’s Gotra dance company on the film Flight of Life. In 2014 he started producing in collaboration with BIJKER FILM/TV, working on the family film Code M. He also exoertly connects the Randstad and Limburg. Elbe takes the film industry in Limburg to a higher level.’
From the jury report
In 2015 Floor Krooi, Tijs van Marle, and Elbe Stevens established the Movie Scenes foundation. A year later, lawyer Celine van Asperen de Boer joined the team.
Movie Scenes has an extensive network of educational institutions, cultural partners, and international filmmakers. In 2017 the foundation realised the Indian Summer Academy: teams of two talents (screenwriter and director) worked on the development of their film plan under the guidance of top coaches. The participants were taught by Paul Bertram, Ger Beukenkamp, and Pieter Kuijpers. The Indian Summer Academy ended with a pitch that was judged by a professional jury. Since 2018, the Movie Scenes foundation has increasingly provided its services as a Media consultant.
The talent programmes have established long-term collaborations. For example, producer Nadine Bemelmans, now a permanent producer at Elbe Stevens Film, first came into contact with the profession at the Masterplan Filmtalent while studying Arts and Culture at the University of Maastricht. Sophie van de Pol has contributed to the screenplay of the feature film ‘Blaosmuziek’, a co-production with Pupkin Film. Elbe Stevens Films is about to embark on its the third co-production with the German director duo Lina Sieckmann and Miriam Gossing on the long-form documentary ‘Sirens Call’.