Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) is the principal railway operator in the densely populated Netherlands, which has the busiest rail network in Europe. In any weather, Dutch people take the train to go anywhere—not just to their place of work, but also to visit family, attend festivals and parties, sporting events, the beach etc.
To capture life on the train throughout the year, director Jacobine van Hellemond and a small team spent about 30 days on the tracks, shooting footage of ordinary people as well as NS personnel going around the country. Trying to catch ‘real moments’ from the traditional Nieuwjaarsduik (new year’s dive) in the North Sea on the 1st of January to the national holiday King’s Day in April through December’s holiday season. Jacobine: ‘We were making decisions on the go all of the time, chasing people to get them to sign release forms.’
A highlight was shooting around Carnival, the director says. ‘DOP Myrthe Mosterman shot some fantastic images. We were walking around one of these Mondrian trains and we were looking for someone in primary colors. We met a clown who didn’t feel like being filmed, and shortly after had the incredible luck that there was another one who did! I also traveled a lot with Douwe Hennink, another very good DOP who captured many wonderful moments. Every three months everyone convened in the edit room to discuss what did and did not work. At the end of the year we started editing with Amber Hooijmans, the music was decided on and after shooting a couple of final moments around Christmas, a 1-minute version finally went out.’