Why did you think it was important to make the movie?
Bas Welling (executive producer Wefilm): "When Mijn Kind Online came to us with Freek's story it shocked us. You directly feel the emotion he must have felt when his identity was misused. The main goal of our movie was to make the audience feel that emotion as well. When we first started we were focusing on a true reconstruction of what happened to Freek, however that way we feel it's hard to really touch people. That's why we chose to do it another way. In our film Freek reads the online texts to his future peers, to make it as real as possible to them.
What kind of company is Wefilm?
Welling: "At Wefilm we make films that are so special that they're worth watching and sharing. We try to put as much emotion as possible in a film, to send a very clear message. That way it creates commotion and really appeals to people. Previously we produced a series about Max the hacker, watched over 31 million times on YouTube. We also created the acclaimed DELA champagne, in which people speech publicly to each other (together with Ogilvy & Mather). For Heineken dropped we traveled the world (together with W+K Amsterdam) and recently we created a Hackers' Tutorial for Digibewust, in which a hacker shows how to become rich within a week. Our films are diverse, but the common factor is they all caused emotional impact on the viewers. We tried to do the same thing for Mijn Kind Online, and it's nice to know our film helped to get the media involved and talk about the subject."
Where did you get the idea for this film?
Jona Honer (director Wefilm): "The principle of this concept was to reflect the core of the problem in a simple setting and in an emotional manner. Communication through social networks has the alienating effect that you never directly see how the receiving person responds. To make it even more complex: in Freeks' case there are people pretending to be Freek but in reality they only want to mess with him. The receiver doesn't know this and therefore forms a negative opinion about the real Freek as well. To me the most touching part of Freeks' story is that he'll never be able to start with a clean slate. When Freek goes to a new school and his peers search his name on Google, their first impression of Freek will be negative. And everybody knows: you only get one chance to make a first impression."
Can you tell us about the making of the film?
Honer: "The practical part caused some ethical dilemma's, in particular how far you can go concerning thirteen year old children. I therefore composed the text in close consultation with the parents and the actor who plays Freek. As a starting point we used a real case study on a boy that has been bullied online with fake profiles. The children in the film see what they would see if they'd actually searched for Freek online. They all thought Freek was a real person. After filming I explained the construction to them and they all fully supported their participation."