There has been an idea floating around since 2014 in my head... A story set in my hometown in 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands. The idea never got off the ground, since it would be a way too big of a project for a mere student.

Until 2019, when a grant from the local municipality could be the budget for this idea: A short mockumentary film about the history of the city, but with some big fictional influences. 
The grant, from Cityboost, was approved in 2020 and the pre-production for Moerasdraak (Swam Dragon) commenced...

When a group of university students get the assignment to make a documentary about the nickname of the city of 's-Hertogenbosch - Swamp Dragon - they find weird clues in the history. Sarah, one of the students, gets obsessed with the idea that the nickname isn't just a nickname from the Eighty Year War... What if something did actually live near the city?
She leads her group to figure out what the clues are leading to and they dig so deep that their own lives are at stake...
With the help from script doctor Merel Booleman the script was done and was changed from 50+ pages to 42 pages. Storywise the concept changed: Instead of seeing the students make the film as in a "standard" film, everything was found footage or the actual documentary made by the students.
We got ourselves a crew, with fellow producer and cinematographer Koen Raedts to dissect the script and start pre-production. This would involve creating storyboards which I made myself, concept art and casting.

The crew consisted of:
Koen Raedts - Producer & Cinematographer
Kelly Papavoine - Producer
Peggy Loch - Casting
Chris de Groot - Executive Producer
Alon Israeli - Cinematographer
Gijs de Jonge - Line Producer
Floris Kimpel - Assistant Producer
Karlijn de Kok - Art Department
Job Griffijn - Set Dresser
Marijn Poelmans - Concept Artist
Pleun Wilting - Concept Artist
Sanne Boersma - Social Media Manager
Oliwia Migas - Graphic Designer
During the initial research, the idea from an actual dragon changed. If we look at the folklore, the famous statue in our city resembles a Lindworm (or wyvern) more than an actual dragon. Instead of making a monster, I wanted to look at actual (extinct) animals:
Marijn Poelman hard at work designing the creature and character concept art by Pleun Wilting:
While we were on our way, we added more crew for the actual production:

Rick Lichtenberg - Camera & Audio Operator
Niels Reuvekamp - Production Assistant
Bart Huisman - Second Camera Assistant
Glenn van de Wiel - Boom Operator
Martijn Varenhout - On-Set VFX Supervisor

Thus the casting began!
Our main casted consisted of:

Roos Groenen as Sarah
Tommy Zonneveld as Rick
Nini Pronk as Lauren
Martijm Scherff as Dirk
Muhammed Çaglar as Youssef
We were ready to go into production with 12 days of photography (during COVID), excluding shooting all the "stock" footage of and around the city of 's-Hertogenbosch.
Two long days in the swamps surrounding the city of 's-Hertogenbosch were probably the most exciting shoots we did! We grew our crew:

Julia Verheijen & Jamilla de Moor - Make-up Artists

Our cast expanded as well with Hans Doodkorte, Duncan Meijering, Yolanda van Gemert, Réjane Daniels, Willie Peijnenburg and Peter Hoens.
We went into post-production knowing there was a big challenge ahead of us: Animations, VFX and a full CG creature were to be created.

We had help by students Teun Heijligers and Alex Prijs as well from 3D professional Jasper Hesseling.

Our sound team:

Christiaan Unck - Sound Design
Jurrian Marx - Music Composer
All the compositing I did myself, with 3D visuals created by the team. In one shot a fence had to be implemented into the scene, for which I first created a test to match the camera:
In the climax of the film something missed... We had three actors portraying the mysterious team (Frank Verhoeven, Daniël Heinen and Rafke Brils), but the three were too little. The mysterious team had to be bigger, so I recorded myself against a greenscreen and I portrayed the rest of the team:
Jasper Hesseling helped with the initial creature model which was made by Teun Heijligers and was based on the concept art by Marijn Poelman and myself.
With the model done, it was time to implement it into the footage shot by Koen Raedts and Alon Israeli. Shot in front of a greenscreen in location I was able to isolate actress Roos Groenen and animate the creature.
Our film was done with a complete edit of 42 minutes.
Our film was done and ready to premiere:
The film ended up as winner at film festivals in Los Angeles and Amsterdam and the winner of the Benelux Film Festival. Moerasdraak was nominated for the Louth Festival among others.
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