ND/NF Discovery: Sacha Polak’s “Hemel” (The Netherlands)

Posted by Michael Gibbons on 3.20.2012

Hemel


Our next New Directors/New Films discovery is Sacha Polak who makes her directorial debut with Hemel. Slant describes the film as an "alluring character study of a beautiful Dutch twentysomething driven to fill an emotional void with casual one-night stands" and Variety says it should make Polak into "a name to watch." Don't miss the screenings on Friday and Sunday. [buy tickets]

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Sacha Polak
 
Describe your film to someone who hasn't seen it.
During her nightly escapades Hemel searches for the difference between sex and love. Sometimes she leads, sometimes the men with whom she sleeps lead. The most important person in Hemel's life is Gijs, her father, who works in an auction house. As her mother passed away early on, Hemel grew up with him alone. Just like Hemel, Gijs is restless and isn't committed to anyone except for his daughter. This changes when Gijs falls in love with the young auctioneer, Sophie.
 
What was the most memorable day of shooting like?
The last day of shooting we were in Seville. It was a nightshoot. And everybody was very tired. People wanted to go home and be with their families. It was almost Christmas. Then I heard that there was a strike with the Spanish airspace, and on top of that there was too much snow in Holland and nobody could go home. It was a nightmare.
 
Describe your very first experience with filmmaking.
Both of my parents are filmmakers. So I cannot even remember the first time. Film was always around.
 
What would you be doing if you weren't making films?
Maybe a painter or a writer, probably unemployed.
 
From what types of art, other than film, do you draw inspiration?
For Hemel, the d.o.p. (director of photography) and I looked a lot at pictures, especially the pictures of Ryan McGinley.
 
What is your favorite food to eat on set?
The catering on most sets is wonderful. I don’t have a particular thing for a specific kind of food. Maybe mandrels.
 
Do you have any rituals or rules for yourself while you're working on a film?
No.
 
Which parts of the filmmaking process do you enjoy the most? The least?
I really like the diversity. So everything.
 
What was the biggest surprise you had while making your film?
Hannah Hoekstra [actress who plays the title role]

Hemel screens on March 23 and March 25 - buy tickets now! Follow Hemel on Facebook.

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