Paula van der Oest is a multi award-winning and Oscar nominated filmmaker, celebrated in her native Netherlands and around the world. She has been nominated for 9 major awards: a foreign language Oscar for her first feature Zus & Zo and she has had three films chosen as the Dutch submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Feature including Tonio (2016) and Accused (2014).
She has directed over 22 features & TV shows during a prolific career including Award-winning English language feature Black Butterflies, starring Carice van Houten in a career defining performance as well as the latest season of the BBC's acclaimed drama The Split. Paula specialises in character driven dramas and thrillers with a strong visual aesthetic which made her the ideal director for The Bay of Silence.
When I read the screenplay of THE BAY OF SILENCE I saw a very compelling story, both thriller and drama about contemporary people with deeply interesting themes. It’s about stepping over boundaries, it’s about family and it’s about art. The husband, Will, (Claes Bang) discovers he actually doesn’t know his wife (Olga Kurylenko). When you start a relationship do you really want to know everything about the other person? Doesn’t a little mystery help romance? But that is also where Will goes very wrong. On the surface, Will is a straightforward character until his world falls apart. Rosalind is a more complex from the outset. It’s not an ordinary story.
“The husband discovers he doesn’t actually know his wife. When Claes Bang and I met for the first time that was one of the things we talked about. When you start a relationship do you want to know everything about the other person?” Every scene has an underlying subtext. I have directed two films with similar themes - Black Butterflies, about South African poet, Ingrid Jonker, who was bi-polar, and Tonio, (Dutch Oscar entry 2016) about a couple who lose their son but they did not possess the mystery thriller element. My DOP, Guido Van Gennep, and I, decided this film should be an atmospheric and stylised referencing the classic cinema of Nick Roeg’s Don’t Look Now, Bad Timing, Hitchcock and Polanski. At a certain moment, the plot narrows and the cinematography works with that. This is not a handheld movie. There is a lot of movement and travelling. Dollying and tracking. I like to be very prepared with the shot list and then on the day concentrate more on performance. It’s important that the characters are real, multi-layered and the audience identify with them. I believe in collaboration and a starting point together both in rehearsal and on set. But when I do a take, I want to ensure that everything is there that we discussed, going back and forth to find the right tone and pacing. We had challenges. Three separate countries – Italy, Scotland and England and a short shoot schedule, with some remote locations including beaches and cliffs, racing time and weather to get beautiful images. Isolated locations contrast with the busy urban environment of London and the beauty of La Baia Del Silenzio, to create a dramatic and atmospheric visual palette to complement this complex often disturbing story.