It’s every director’s nightmare: to return home without your material. This is exactly what happened to director Rob Smits. At the beginning of Room 2017 – a Minimovie from 2008 – we find the director in a hotel room in Taipei. He has just returned from a trip to the Yanomami Indians in the deep green of Venezuela. Few men with a camera had spent time with this fierce tribe before him. But money talks, even in the wildest jungle, and on the day of his departure all but one of Smits’ tapes were confiscated.
Drifting through Taipei, capturing cityscapes that express his disorientation in a way that reminds us of Wim Wenders‘ documentary Tokyo-Ga, Smits has to ask himself the desperate question: ‘How to make a film with no footage.’
Room 2017 is a MiniMovie about creating a visual story from scrap, but also a contemplation on identity in a world where escaping the rat race has become all but impossible.
We see the truly nerve-wrecking story of a man trying to regain what he was out to lose in the first place. With Room 2017, Smits turns a hopeless failure into a brilliant film.
One-man-crew: Original music and editing by Rob Smits
Rob Smits (1965)
Smits has directed a large number of documentaries, mainly for the Dutch networks VPRO and NPS, such as Jungle Rudy: The Chronicles of a Family, Best in Beef, Paradise and Observations in Holland//PUNT NL. Besides director, Rob Smits is also a cinematographer, editor and for most of his films he composes the music as well.
A Minimovie is an episodic documentary consisting of 8 to 10 episodes. Episodes are 7 to 10 minutes each. Put together, they form a self-contained story. With MiniMovies SubmarineChannel explores a new narrative and visual style of documentary filmmaking. You can watch the Minimovies here or simply download them to your digital device of choice.