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Kapitein Zeppos -- Kurrel & Co.

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Kurrel & Co. Pages:

Introduction

Synopsis

Cast and Crew

Locations

Ludovic Beun Interview Review Exclusive Photos

Kurrel & Co. - Interview with Ludovic Beun

Ludovic Beun, writer and director of the short film, Kurrel & Co., kindly agreed to be interviewed for Adventurer in October 2004. We are pleased to share this interview with fellow Zeppos fans and thank Ludovic for his time and enthusiasm.

Adventurer: How did you come to make 'Kurrel & Co.', Ludovic, and how long did it take to complete?

Ludovic Beun: I needed a good idea for my graduation work. After thinking about several projects - amongst them a music programme - I suddenly realised, why not make a continuation of Kapitein Zeppos? At the time, I wasn't familiar with the serials and I certainly hadn't studied them. I proposed the project in May 1998 to the Head of the Television Department at the RITS - none other than Vincent Rouffaer, director, but also the SON OF Senne, the Captain!!! He thought it was a peculiar idea but also funny and catchy. During the Summer, I worked on the concept and in the Autumn of 1998, I worked on the script. At the beginning of 1999 we went into pre-production with casting and rehearsals. Filming started in April 1999 and the editing took place in May 1999.

A: Your affection for the original 'Kapitein Zeppos' series shines through in Kurrel and Co. - what makes the series so special for you?

LB: The original series is to me a real icon and example of a perfect youth-series. There was a perfect mix of Flemish national character and exotic elements (the amphibian car, fencing, the Captain himself...). And all this was made with limited Flemish resources. Top!

A: Did you encounter any difficulties in clearing the use of the Kapitein Zeppos format, or any of the characters? Was it made easier because you were a college student and the production was not for profit?

LB: I had no difficulties using the characters etc, because: (a) the product was not made to be circulated, (b) I had no intention to make a profit, (c) it was merely an exercise, (d) I had the moral support of Senne Rouffaer and Bert Struys and (e) I never asked permission.

A: The film takes the form of an opening episode of a serial. Did you plan out the whole story and then decide to simply make a part of it?

LB: I didn't write the whole story in detail, but I knew how Episode Two could be made and what the consequences would be for Episode One - so everything matched...

A: Did you ever have any plans to conclude the story?

LB: After completing Kurrel & Co., I signalled that it could be very nice to complete this project, but I never went through with it because after Kurrel & Co., I immediately started as a director with the VRT and made several enjoyable projects. Additionally, I didn't want to be known as the peddler of the new Kapitein Zeppos.

A: What was the budget for the programme, and how did you raise the money necessary to afford to make it such a professional product?

LB: The budget I got from the Rits was € 2,500, but I needed much more to make Kurrel & Co. to my taste, so I raised € 75,000 through sponsorship. I thank all sponsors and Zeppos fans for this!!

A: For a college production, Kurrel & Co. is blessed with an impressive production crew, both in quality and sheer numbers. Is it usual for a film and television project at the Erasmushogeschool to have so many people involved?

LB: No, it's not the custom to have such a number of people involved, but it's also unusual to make fiction longer than ten minutes, and surely not with several locations, etc... We knew it was all or nothing. We realised quite soon that a comprehensive team was essential.

A: Did the crew for Kurrel & Co. consist of your fellow students or people from other amateur and professional backgrounds?

LB: Kurrel & Co. was made with fellow students. Sometimes there were some professionals or teachers around to keep an eye on the progress...

A: Kurrel & Co. featured several nostalgic nods to the original series. Not least of these were the appearances of Bert Struys as Opa and Senne Rouffaer recreating his original role of Kapitein Zeppos. How were you able to involve these legendary actors in what was essentially a college production?

LB: Those two heroes of mine were, to my amazement, extremely enthusiastic about it and were honoured that I proposed this project to them. They co-operated with pleasure. For this they have my eternal gratitude, Bert and Senne!!!

A: What was it like working with Bert and Senne?

LB: It was too nice for words.

A: The lead actor in Kurrel & Co., Steph Baeyens, was not in the original series, the role of Ben originally being played by Raymond Bossaerts. Was there any particular reason you decided to recast?

LB: On the one hand Raymond was a little too old to act as a dynamic and athletic hero, on the other hand he wasn't available at the time.

A: Was there at any time the thought of casting a new Kapitein Zeppos, too - or was the plan always to try to feature Senne Rouffaer in some way?

LB: It was with the real Captain or no Captain at all.

A: Aside from the appearances of Messrs. Rouffaer and Struys, the project also saw you filming at the Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-Lombeek windmill. How did you feel when shooting scenes at a location so inextricably linked with Kapitein Zeppos?

LB: Magical... For some reason it felt like the spirit of the original film team was still there, and I'm pretty sure that the pioneers watched from the top of the Mill to make sure everything went fine with Kurrel & Co.

A: Kurrel & Co. appears to have been shot almost entirely on location. Do you find shooting in this way is more effective than constructing sets in a studio?

LB: The authenticity is hard to reproduce in a studio. Besides, as a student I had not the means or the budget to build credible sets in a studio.

A: The new locations you chose for the production were very appropriate. Where were sequences shot and how did you and the production team come to select the locations?

LB: The Castle is situated in Vladslo near Diksmuide. It represents perfectly the atmosphere I had in mind. The village where the story evolves are the picturesque streets in the centre of Veurne - they represent a tremendous 'timeless Flanders'. The car chase was shot at the countryside of Wervik (the city where I was born), because we needed a suitable place to drive the amphibian car into the Leie. The car could only go in water at a spot with a soft curve...

A: Finding an Amphicar in full working condition was a considerable coup for the production. How did you track it down and how well did the actors get on with it?

LB: Coincidentally, I saw a report on TV-Brussels at the time about an Amphicar and its owner, Mr. Plasch. This man, again to my amazement, agreed reasonably quickly to lend his jewel to a crazy student from the RITS. The car was one of the main attractions of the production, but it was not always easy to drive it, let alone to sail it. We planned a wild car chase but the Amphicar couldn't go faster than 60 km/h. When you look closely, you may notice that some of the frames of the chase are accelerated...

A: As Kurrel & Co. was made as a graduation project, did you have any ambitions for it outside education, i.e. broadcast, video release, when you made it in 1999?

LB: No, I was very pleased to make such a spectacular graduation project... It is very nice that some people are still speaking or writing about it. The fact that several thousand people have it on DVD, and people who don't know me are enjoying our student escapades makes me a little proud...

A: Now that you have established yourself in Belgian television, how do you view Kurrel & Co.? If you were making it today, what - if anything - would you do differently?

LB: It would be made differently: the script would be wittier, more tense, etc... The direction would be more professional, etc... But after five years I never would have thought that, knowing what I know now, I could look with two open eyes at Kurrel & Co, and that is something isn't it?

A: How has your career developed since Kurrel & Co. and what are your ambitions for the future?

LB: Right after Kurrel & Co., I was engaged at the VRT as a director and they gave me some incredible opportunities (Bracke & Crabbé, De Laatste Week (The Last Week), Sportpersoonlijkheid van het Jaar (Sports Personality of the Year), etc...). After that, I started a small company - Beun Verpooten - with an ex-teacher of the RITS. We have already made some enjoyable items for the VRT with this company: Nachtwacht (Nightwatch), TV.gasten (TV guests), Advocaat van de Duivel (Lawyer of the Devil), all the programmes about the last election, the start of  Sporza (the VRT's sports channel), etc... And I can let you know I'm busy with a project where the sprit of the Captain isn't far away...

Ludovic Beun - thank you. May we wish you every success and happiness for the future. Adventurer

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