Ad Bol: Seeking Truth in Thrillers
Truthfulness. That is at the core of Ad Bol’s films: “That’s also why I prefer to write my own scripts: it’s easier for me to find truthfulness – and to convey that in a film – if the story’s emotional core is based on my own experience.” Seeing the development of his work, it is clear that it has become increasingly important ever since he started making films.
Filmmaking got a hold of him during his first year at the prestigious Gerrit Rietveld Academy of Art: he painted but also experimented with film – and his work got him noticed. A young production company offered him a job as director for TV programs and commercials, and he left school to take the opportunity. While he continued to paint, from then on he focused on making documentaries and commercials for large international organizations. These projects gave – and still give – him the opportunity to find creative solutions and experiment visually as well as technically in various circumstances with different means.
First feature films
This rapidly built skill set resulted in his first feature film CASTINGX (2005), a dark voyage into voyeurism, seduction and revenge that premiered at the Dutch Film Festival and was reviewed by Luc de Rooy as 'an outline of a future masterpiece'. His short film SWEET BETTY was the result of a collaboration with Robby Muller and Rutger Hauer at the Rotterdam Film Factory. It was shown at the International Rotterdam Film Festival 2007.
His second feature BLINDSPOT (2008), which won multiple awards internationally, was also a psychological thriller. It’s difficult to pinpoint for Bol why he prefers this genre. He does remember being deeply fascinated when he saw Apocalypse Now, but this fascination is not just about the suspense or the action, he says: “It’s actually more important that the characters get under your skin; there has to be a development there. In the protagonists themselves, and in their relationships too.”
Next to strong character development, his films distinguish themselves through a constant tension driven by unexpected turns, in a style reminiscent of Alejandro González Iñárritu and David Fincher. Still, Bol stresses that his brand of unpredictable suspense is not only a goal in itself: it also is an instrument that makes emotional undercurrents tangible. This intention is also reflected in the way he directs his actors: “I don’t want an actor to interpret a character’s emotion – I want to see an emotion that is the actor’s – that is real in that very moment. I want them to relate to their own experience, just like I do when I write the script. ” And he wants the camera to do that exact same thing: make the story tangible, truthful.
Collaboration with Dara Marks
This philosophy has an effect on the people he works with, of course. After all, their truth is different from Bol’s – but rather than seeing that as an obstacle, he sees the advantage: it adds more personal experience that can make a story relatable. He adds: “And I love to work together with other people who bring their own expertise to the table, and help make my story better. It would be a shame not to make use of that.” He also collaborated on one of his latest scripts with celebrated Hollywood script consultant Dara Marks, who, upon reading it, commented: ‘This is the best script I read in a long time’.
Marks was equally enthusiastic about RAIN DOGS, which tells the story of a merciless and highly accomplished assassin, who becomes the hunted and is forced to abduct his junkie daughter and his despondent ex-wife in order to protect them from his potential killers. In his search for truthfulness, Bol will surely use this web of conflict and dilemma as a means of revealing the truth about the character’s human nature – even if that human is a cold-hearted killer.
Eager Films is an award-winning international film production company founded by Ad Bol in 1998. We produce commercials, online films and feature films.
Our mission is to connect with our audience through innovative storytelling and marketing savvy. Each of our stories is a journey of surprise, reflection, creativity, and emotion.
- 2005: CASTINGX (feature film)
- 2007: SWEET BETTY (short)
- 2008: BLINDSPOT (feature film)
- 2013: IDIOSYNCRATIC (short)
- 2015: RAIN DOGS (screenplay)
- 2016: TRUTH99 (screenplay)
AWARDS / SELECTED FILMOGRAPHY
- Best International Director at the New York Independent International Film Festival
- Best Feature Film at the Waterford International Film Festival
- Best Director at the Estepona International Film Festival
- Film by the Sea
- Dutch Film Festival
“I don’t want an actor to interpret a character’s emotion – I want to see an emotion that is the actor’s – that is real in that very moment. I want them to relate to their own experience, just like I do when I write the script".