VPRO guide 2022-10-04
‘Thinking differently is necessary’
Ton van Zantvoort follows designers Dave Hakkens and Nienke Hoogvliet, who try to improve the world with their projects.
In the documentary A World to Shape, filmmaker Ton van Zantvoort follows two young designers who, each in their own way, try to save the world. Dave Hakkens is the inventor of the modular telephone Phonebloks and of Precious Plastic, a worldwide movement to recycle plastic. Nienke Hoogvliet makes fish leather and textile paint from seaweed, among other things.
Why did you want to make this movie?
Ton van Zantvoort: ‘I was asked by the producer. Actually, I’m not much into design, but these two designers are working to improve the world. That inspired me. My films are also indirectly about that. I like to present the viewer with problems, such as in a documentary about the flower industry. That quickly becomes heavy. I hope this is different.”
Why did you choose these two main characters?
Dave sees the problems in the world as a challenge. I recognize myself more in Nienke, who carries the burden of the world on her shoulders. I asked them both what they would do in a world without problems. Dave said: “Then I wouldn’t know what to do”, while Nienke was relieved to spend her time on the beach. To her, it feels less like a choice, more like a moral duty. I liked those contrasting characters.”
To what extent does their methodology differ?
‘Nienke is trying to change the system from within, by inventing an alternative paint for the heavily polluting textile industry using seaweed. Dave tries to reinvent the system from the outside, by creating his own community on a piece of land in Portugal. His philosophy is that the major problems on the earth were created by humans in 150 years, so can be reversed in the same amount of time.”
Don’t you get cynical with so many good intentions?
“Well, I’m skeptical about where the world is going. That’s what most of my movies are about. I’ve been thinking in vain for twenty years that a sustainability revolution is coming. Now that I’m getting older, I’m less activist. Nienke and Dave did fuel the old fire in me. I have become more optimistic. You need dissenters to get things moving. For me, the person is always the driving force, the person and his motivation. In the script I deliberately played with the cynicism of the viewer, that you think in the beginning: this will never work.’
TARA LEWIS , OCTOBER 12, 2022
Young designers Dave Hakkens and Nienke Hoogvliet design for the world of tomorrow and attach great importance to sustainability. Where Dave is looking for new, sustainable technology and forms of living, Nienke focuses entirely on eye-catching design in sustainable materials such as fish leather and seaweed.
In conversation with director Ton van Zantvoort
Abel Vos October 12, 2022
Director Ton van Zantvoort (Sheep Hero) follows the two ambitious designers Dave Hakkens and Nienke Hoogvliet in their struggle for a sustainable future. 2Doc.nl asks the filmmaker four questions.
In previous interviews you said that you don’t really care much for design at all. Why did you want to make this movie?
‘Nothing with design… That sounds like that… You know how that works with journalists, that may have been taken a bit out of context. Look, you have those design freaks who live for design. That alone wouldn’t be enough for me.
It is true that some of my films come very much from myself, Sheep Hero for example. Other movies just happen to come my way. I previously made a documentary about pedosexual Benno L. It’s not that I always wanted to make that film. Of course I have to have something to do with the subject, because otherwise I can’t make a film about it.’
Why did you want to follow Dave and Nienke?
‘I especially thought the vision and ambition of Dave and Nienke matched the way I make films myself: I want to make people think about the world we live in with my films. They do that too, but with design.”
‘I recognize myself more in Nienke Hoogvliet, I also carry the burden of the world on my shoulders.’
How do these two characters relate to each other?
That’s actually kind of funny: these designers had never met each other but were brought together by me. Until now they have never seen each other in real life. I did wonder if that would bother the viewer, but so far I haven’t noticed that.
They share their goal to make the world a better place, but they both do it in their own way. From her studio, Nienke tries to make the clothing industry more sustainable step by step. Dave has since stepped out of the system to rebuild it from scratch in a living/working community in Portugal. In her perfect world, Nienke would sit comfortably on the beach without any problems. For Dave, “all that shit out there” is just nourishment and inspiration. I recognize myself more in Nienke, I also carry the burden of the world on my shoulders. But what I think is the gift of Dave is that he sees a challenge in everything. I liked putting that together because they’re both good ways to look at it.”
You were in Dave’s camp in Portugal for nine days to shoot this documentary. Can you see yourself living there?
Some people think, “That Dave has done some cool things, but now he’s retreating to an alternative community. But I don’t see it that way. It’s bigger than that. Dave saw a problem with a telephone and came up with a solution with Phonebloks. He saw a problem with plastic and made a solution for it. But according to him the real problem is bigger than a few ‘solutions’, we have to go back to the drawing board. He is now creating a blueprint for a new society and making it accessible to everyone online. But no, I don’t see myself living there at all. And that’s not the point. I do find it interesting to show that things are being developed in his residential community that can be implemented in today’s society.’
De DOCUPDATE 2022-10-08
A World To Shape
A better world. They don’t do it for less. Better: an improved world. Who has left the problems of the present behind and is ready for a sustainable future. This requires designers who can and dare to think big. A World To Shape (52 min.) is a double portrait of Nienke Hoogvliet and Dave Hakkens, two young idealists who together form an excellent showcase for the new generation of Dutch designers.
Yet their approach seems fundamentally different. Nienke Hoogvliet and her friend/work partner Tim Jongerius are committed to making the seriously polluting textile industry more sustainable. To this end, she is trying to develop various applications of seaweed, such as yarn and paint. She also made bowls out of used toilet paper before. With her own studio, Hoogvliet tries to change the system from within, through museum pieces and collector’s items, and to bring that more sustainable world closer.
Dave Hakkens, who previously made a name for himself with pioneering open source projects such as Phonebloks and Precious Plastic, seems to be turning away from the existing structures. As befits a real trailblazer, this caused the necessary resistance during his studies, which has long since been removed due to his success. Now Hakkens wants to create his own parallel world. In Portugal he bought a piece of land, on which he and his colleagues are developing the prototype for a new, sustainable community: Project Kamp.
Director Ton van Zantvoort juxtaposes the two designers, as two variants on the same theme, in a film that focuses entirely on their work and the ideals expressed in it. Their personal worries or the professional bumps they have to take along the way are largely left behind in the beautifully filmed and carefully edited A World To Shape, which therefore appeals to the head rather than the heart.
Eindhovens Dagblad (ED) 2022-09-05
Film about ‘Utopia’ by Dave Hakkens from Valkenswaard premieres in Natlab
EINDHOVEN – In A world to shape , the Breda documentary maker Ton van Zantvoort is looking for the motivations of the committed designers Dave Hakkens and Nienke Hoogvliet. The premiere is Thursday 8 September at 19.30 in Natlab Eindhoven
Former Helmonder and Valkenswaardenaar Dave Hakkens (1988) became internationally known with his Phonebloks, a concept for modular telephones, and Precious Plastic, a movement to develop machines and organizations for plastic recycling.
A world to shape zooms in on his ‘Project Kamp’, a living/working community in Portugal with a minimal ecological footprint. This community, on nine hectares of land, he built completely himself.
Nienke Hoogvliet’s mission is to make the second most polluting industry in the world – the clothing industry – more sustainable. She is working on various applications of seaweed, such as paint made from seaweed.
The film can also be seen on October 23 during the Dutch Design Week: 4 pm Natlab, and on October 12 on TV (10.38 pm), in AVRTROS Close Up
Dieter van den Bergh 05-09-22
In the area Breda 2022-10-10
Bredase Ton is director: ‘I want people to think about the world we live in’
Ton van Zantvoort (42) from Breda wants people to think about the world around them. He does this by making films. His latest documentary A World To Shape will be broadcast on NPO2 on Wednesday 12 October. “I follow two young designers who are both trying to shape the world of tomorrow in their own way.”
Ton has been in the business for almost twenty years. His journey as a filmmaker started at the St. Joost art academy in Breda. Ton: “After the graphic lyceum in Eindhoven I didn’t want to go to work yet and I was unexpectedly admitted to St. Joost. I discovered there that I find film the most interesting of all art forms. Every second of a film you have 25 frames to inspire people, I think that’s cool.” In 2003 he graduated cum laude in audiovisual.
Do it yourself
Since his student days Ton, who was born in Heesch, has always lived in Breda. From here he makes his documentaries and works for companies and organisations. “Many people in the film world think they have to go to Amsterdam if necessary. I have always said: ‘Amsterdam will come to me’. We also have to keep the sector in Brabant alive. There are also good people here.” The director prefers to do a lot for his documentaries himself. “I directed, filmed and edited A World To Shape myself. I like to keep the crew as small as possible, so that the main characters are as distracted as possible.”
Unfold a story
Ton has made many special films in the past twenty years. For example, A Blooming Business tells the story of how a rose you buy here in the Netherlands affects the lives of people in developing countries. Sheep herder Stijn – who has a sustainable lifestyle – was also followed for years in the documentary Sheep Hero. They are films with an activist tinge, although Ton doesn’t see himself so much as an activist. “I am really a filmmaker. The story unfolds slowly throughout the documentary. I don’t want to impose my opinion, but I give the viewer the feeling that they come to that conclusion themselves. I believe that the message will then hit much harder.”
A World To Shape
For his new documentary Ton followed two young designers – Nienke Hoogvliet (photo) and Dave Hakkens – who try to solve world problems. Nienke tries to make the clothing industry more sustainable with the help of seaweed and Dave has a living/working community in Portugal where he develops a blueprint for a new society. “I followed them for a year,” says Ton. “In the documentary I play with the viewer’s doubts a bit. You may think at first: ‘Are these solutions really going to work?’ and then hopefully you will be amazed by what these young people are coming up with.”
Ton van Zantvoort’s new documentary will be broadcast on Wednesday 12 October at 10.38 pm on AVROTROS Close Up.
October 10, 2022 Elmay Claassen
AVROTROS Close Up 2022-10-05
New generation of Dutch Designers in documentary ‘A World to Shape’
Close Up / 12 Oct 2022
The young designers Nienke Hoogvliet and Dave Hakkens represent the new generation of Dutch Designers of the moment. They design for the world of tomorrow and attach great importance to sustainability.
This generation is imbued with the realization that raw materials are becoming depleted, energy is scarce and globalization is also forcing new, small-scale production methods. As makers, they don’t care about existing boundaries between art, design and science.
Inspirational Dutch Designers
Nienke’s mission is to make the second most polluting industry in the world, the clothing industry, more sustainable. She focuses on eye-catching design in sustainable materials such as seaweed.
Minimal carbon footprint
In his project Kamp, Dave sets up a living/working community with a minimal carbon footprint. He does this in Portugal, where he has bought nine hectares of land. He creates a blueprint for a new society and shares everything open source, so that everyone can adopt and improve it and the system can be used worldwide.
The documentary ‘A World to Shape’
In the documentary ‘A World to Shape’, director Ton van Zantvoort takes you into the ingenuity of these two designers. Where many people see problems, Nienke and Dave see solutions. How realistic are their ambitions? Follow Dave and Nienke on their challenging quest.
You can see the Close Up documentary ‘A World to Shape’ on Wednesday 12 October at 10.40 pm at AVROTROS on NPO 2. Or watch the documentary (back) via NPO Start.