Biography: Stef de Hoog
'After seeing The Terminator (1984), I thought of a career as an actor, but then my brother suggested I could also create my own movies and tell my own stories as a director. That’s when I knew I had to be a movie director.'
With that goal in his mind, he started to direct his own story, namely his study career. After his secondary education he went to D'drive in Leeuwarden where he learnt the basic principles of Film & Media. Stef focused mainly on commercials and music videoclips, while learning the ins and outs of the audiovisual world.
'The most beautiful aspect of this part of my education was working with many young, unknown enthusiasts, but also cooperating with established artists like Twarres.’
Jan de Vries, teacher D'drive Leeuwarden:
'Stef is absolutely worth mentioning, especially because of the speed with which he completed his education in just two years. A remarkable person, who chose his own path early on in his development. It was a pleasure to have him at our school.’
Afterwards he went to Narafi in Brussels to broaden his knowledge of film and to continue a focus on directing. Stef underwent training to become a cameraman, sound operator, scenarist, editor and director. Because of this broad background he is a director who realises the possibilities and knows his options. 'Personally I find this an enjoyable way of working - because of my background, I know that on the set you can’t just change the shot in a few minutes simply by placing the camera in a different position and shooting from a different angle. There’s a lot more to it than that! I know what I can and cannot expect from the people around me, because of this training.'
Bart van de Velde, teacher & coach Narafi Brussel:
'Stef de Hoog is an inspiring director who can stimulate a team to give their very best through his own drive and enthusiasm
When I see Stef, I see a person with a clear vision, ambitious yet self-aware; a man on a mission, only satisfied with the best result possible.’
Subsequently Stef went to Hungary to continue his development and specialisation at the Academy of Drama and Film in Budapest.
'I fell in love with Budapest, both with the city and the people. It was there where I felt I was able to discover and refine my own style. A personal style has to grow, it takes time to shape and I had the opportunity to fine-tune my style here. My style is realism and the genres I prefer are drama and thriller.
What I enjoy the most about this profession is that am able to pull people out of their comfort zone and I can show people what they could not or would not see before. I want to believe that anything is possible, so that’s what I try to show.’
'It is quite a challenge to work with Stef, in a good way, because he does everything he possibly can to see his visions come to life, which makes you want to give 110% as well. His willingness is a beacon to follow, but if you can't keep up with him, you're lost.
He's a passionate director who always knows what he wants, and gets it done any means necessary. ' according to Bak Marton, director-assistant on the set of Wabi-Sabi.
During his studies Stef has had internships at RTL Productions, Steven de Jong Productions and Earlybirds Films where he found new experience, skills and qualities in addition to learning to adopt new perspectives and to trust his intuition.
As an artist, Stef gets his inspiration from life - a passing remark, a shocking event in a friend’s life, a cursory thought…
'One night, I lay awake and thought: What if you’re so scared that you piss your pants? That was the start of Visitor. The form is realised in the process of making the film.’
Stef is convinced that you have to invest in yourself as a director - no jumping into half-baked projects or choosing the easy way - a good director has talent and perseverance.
'A good director must have a good dose of self-awareness. In my time in Brussels, I was horrible to work with. Too extreme. A teacher once told me: ‘The fire in you is so strong, people get burnt when they come near you.’
I owe it to my public to break down my walls. Luckily I succeeded in controlling that fire and as a result of that the people in Budapest actually thought I was very relaxed. Of course the fire in me will never extinguish, I feel it growing every day!
A good film asks a lot, especially time. Time to get the story just right, to get the facts, time to bring the right people together in a perfect crew (with Visitor I worked with a crew that consisted of 5 different nationalities), time to gather the right materials , find the right location, perfect the details and time to get your feet back on solid ground. Eventually you always reach a point where you exceed your own limits. Tired, irritated, but still driven. When you reach that point, you surrender to the film and that’s when the magic happens. To experience this moment, together with the cast and crew… That’s the most beautiful experience there is.’