View Full Version : Murdered Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh haunts Toronto film festival

Friday, September 16th, 2005, 03:29 AM
Original: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20050916/wl_canada_afp/afpentertainmentcanada

Murdered Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh haunts Toronto film festival

TORONTO (AFP) - Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh became larger than life posthumously with the North American premiere of his final film in Toronto, deals signed to remake his older works and a collection of shorts presented in his memory.

"We just want to keep him alive," said his friend and producer Gijs van de Westelaken at the sold-out Toronto International Film Festival screening of van Gogh's final movie "06/05: The Sixth of May" on Thursday.

"In person, he was larger than life," he told AFP. "His death was very sad because I think he was on his way to greatness (as a filmmaker) and may have even won an Oscar in five years time."

The filmmaker was stabbed and shot to death in Amsterdam in November 2004 after his controversial film "Submission," about the abuse of Muslim women, aired on national television in the Netherlands.

"06/05: The Sixth of May" mixes fact and fiction into a conspiracy about the 2002 assassination of Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn. Theo van Gogh had finished editing the film only two weeks before his death.

Audiences expressed mixed reactions about the film, from "confusing" to "four stars."

A collection of 16 vignettes shown here in "All Soles" from 17 Dutch directors, including Mijke de Jong, Eddy Terstall and Nicole van Kilsdonk also paid tribute to van Gogh by scrutinizing the conflicted nature of Western democracy, freedom of expression and how van Gogh's assassination by a radical Islamist on the same day as an American presidential election affected many around the world.

Meanwhile, Gijs van de Westelaken said Wednesday that US actors Steve Buscemi ("Armageddon" and "Fargo"), Stanley Tucci ("The Terminal") and Bob Balaban ("Gosford Park") will remake three of van Gogh's films for American audiences -- "Interview" about a political journalist relegated to interviewing a soap star, "06" about grieving parents, and "Blind Date" about two people who meet on a phone sex line, respectively.

"The deal was signed (Tuesday) in New York," van de Westelaken said.

Filming for all three will start in New York in January 2006 with van Gogh's crew, and the movies will be released six months later, he said.

"We specifically wanted to shoot in New York with local actors because it was Theo's favorite city," van de Westelaken said.

"He had lived there for a year about 20 years ago and planned to live there in his later years. He dreamed of being a New York filmmaker," he said, noting that van Gogh had spent a week there just prior to his death.

Van Gogh's great-great-grandfather was the brother of artist Vincent van Gogh.

Mohammed Bouyeri was sentenced to life in prison in July for killing van Gogh. He confessed he acted out of religious conviction.