TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding


Everything We Always Had Was Now

Martijn Maria Smits, Stienette Bosklopper



At the fringes of Antwerp, Ward and Cindy struggle with earlier commitments. Trying to move on with her two toddlers, Cindy wants to sell their apartment and is on the verge of starting an affair with her boss, Michel. While secretly circling around his contender, Ward is obstructing the sale of the house, knowing it will lead to the inevitable end.

Ward is visited by his long disappeared father Joach, an ex-alcoholic looking for shelter after leaving the institute that was his refuge. While keeping up with turned-religious Joach in his tiny studio and liking his beer too much himself, Ward is afraid of falling into his father’s footsteps.

Received coldly by his son and former wife, Joach starts wandering the streets, visiting churches to refill his little reservoir with holy water. When Ward molests Michel and escapes unidentified, Cindy draws closer to Michel. But as Ward gives up resisting the sale and tries to lure his father into a drinking battle, Cindy discovers she has no true feelings for Michel. On a cold Winter night Joach walks back to the institute, and Ward and Cindy reunite in their emptied out apartment.
The possibility of love shines through, even when everything around them feels destroyed and wasted away.


What is it that makes us human? For me this is the most important question while making films. I write predominantly about myself and the ones close to me. Through self-reflection, I try to shape a film that feels straight from the heart. Urgent and alive. This film is a personal investigation and character study of a contemporary couple that has neglected their happiness. In the harsh reality of the day they struggle with the decay of their love. Left with doubts and uncertainties, Cindy and Ward live in a place called the present and struggle with commitments and promises from the past. While contempt has taken over previous feelings, their relatives, friends and obligations continue to be the same. In contrast with this, Lucas, their four-year-old son, gazes at life without preconceptions. The sudden visit of a ladybird seems as important to him as all possible tomorrows. This film will observe and tangibly show the dynamics of a family, brimming over with fond memories and present concerns. Their outbursts of rage, happiness and longings will come unexpectedly, instinctively as life itself. They are no victims of their circumstances, but only of the self. The problems they face inside their small family circle could be compared to those of today’s society: solitude, lack of communication and a human need for tenderness, intimacy and determination to care for someone.
Through a raw, non-judgemental and closely observational style, I want to give my characters more humanity, after all they are men and women, not symbols. Next to the passing of silence their way of talking will become an important element of the film, like a curtain-fire. I will continue working on the dialogues, in companionship with my fellow Dutch director Nanouk Leopold, and although, of course, story is involved, this film will above all be drifting on emotions. I want the actors to communicate with their personal language and symbols instead of using mine. Through natural empathy, which I hope to evoke via a realistic, believable approach, I hope to create life as familiar and true as we have experienced it ourselves, believing fiction is the perfect form to portray authenticity. Like in my previous film Anvers, I will work with a combination of actors and “genuine” people, using existing locations, to enhance a documentary approach through fictional elements. Everything We Always Had Was Now will be an ultra-realistic, dark, gritty slice of life, yet one with a fervid belief in the possibility of love and the smile of a four-year-old child.

budget & financing

Grey hues and melancholic tones are the most striking aspect of Everything We Always Had Was Now (EWAHWN). There are clouds, there is rain, thunder, dark water, leaves falling and sparrows circling. Also the actors - ‘raw’ for the two professional leads, and even sturdier for the secondary roles - and the locations contribute to this atmosphere. The story leaves much space for an extensive exploration of mood too. The plot is simple and many scenes are written with improvisation in mind. This inevitably means editing is a crucial phase, which can also be seen in Martijn’s earlier work. Without downplaying the importance of an elaborate screenplay, this director needs space and freedom to evoke his qualities. The same counts for dialogues, which are not fully drafted in this version, and will be (re)written at a later stage in collaboration with the actors and possibly a co-writer. We project to set up this film as a bilateral coproduction with Belgium for a budget of around € 1.1 million. We are selected for the Dutch Film Fund scheme called “Oversteek”, where we are competing for 3 production support awards with 6 remaining contenders. Unfortunately the final decision will not be reached until around Christmas. If we will get supported, we are financed on the Dutch side in one move - almost € 800.000. We will subsequently apply at VAF in Spring 2013, but chances to get awarded the first time are dim, therefore the TFL Award will be very much needed to finalize the budget. As the period in the film is Autumn and Winter, we will shoot the film in the last quarter of 2013.

distribution & sales

For a kick off regarding distribution and sales, we are focusing on selection for one of the major European festivals. C’est Déja L’été was in the Tiger Award Competition and was selected for more than 30 festivals. All other shorts by Martijn were prize-winning films. Our company has a solid quality profile with most of our (first time) directors selected for major festivals and we have the privilege of working with excellent partners for sales and distribution. We will start working on this once funded on the Dutch side, at the end of this year.

A contemporary ex-couple tries to move on by selling their apartment, wavering between jealousy, acceptance, and rekindled love.
Martijn Maria Smits

Scriptwriter, Film Director

Stienette Bosklopper


production notes

original title
Alles Wat We Ooit Hadden Was Nu

directed by
Martijn Maria Smits

produced byCirce Films
Da Costakade 176 HS
1053 XE, Amsterdam

total production budget
€ 1.136.880

current financial need
€ 1.100.880