Meet the Cast & Crew – Arjan Bakker: Not in the spotlights, still all the fun and an audience of millions

He did not deem it necessary, this interview. The spotlights are not really Arjan’s field of interest. However, without questioning he made time for us in his busy day to day schedule.  Arjan is the co-producer who made the production of Who is Alice possible – as an investor. Why? The answer encompasses and reveals everything at the same time. “Just for fun”.

His explanation is not an expression of arrogance or indifference, rather the consequence of his course of life. “Just do something and see how it goes”, Arjan tells us. Which also characterizes his career path: Arjan studied in the Netherlands, set off to travel to Poland with a friend, and just ended up working in the field of internet. Since then he has been running an investment company, something he still enjoys very much so.

An actual film
To this very day, Arjan lives in Poland. All the more reason to ask how he ended up in Dutch film production – in a niche as vague as nonduality. The question puts a big smile on Arjan’s face. “How the idea came into being? Good question… It all started with an accidental encounter with Paul.” Immediately Arjan was intrigued by Paul’s down to earth outlook on life – and the clear-cut way in which Paul spoke about nonduality.

“We spoke again when the film All About Nothing had released a some years ago. I remember saying: ‘If you want to produce an international feature about nonduality, come talk to me.’ I didn’t hear from him a while after that conversation, but one and a half month later I received an email. Paul had conjured up a meeting with directors Robert and Ismaël. All three of them were up for a film production with nonduality as main theme.

Audience of millions
Wasn’t All About Nothing a production like that? Yes. And no, Arjan thinks. “It was mostly focused on a Dutch audience, it was more of a stepping stone to something greater. Who is Alice is international, which is visible in everything.” The co-producer alludes to the fully British cast, and of course the language: as everything is in English. The international allure of the film does not pose as an element that inclines pressing expectations. According to Arjan everything is still for fun.

“Actually it is rather simple: I hope millions people will be seeing this. Who is Alice – and especially nonduality – refers to ways to live lighter and less tense. Imagine if the whole world would be grasped by references to nonduality… As a consequence wars would just stop. Then, a little less utopian: “In the end, life is a big joke. Everything in universe just happens and us people are no exception to that.”

Arjan is someone with a rather rational approach to life. His curiosity brought him to quantum mechanics, neuroscience and spirituality. “I have always wondered why we do what we do and if what we do and experience is real. As with science, coming from my education and after that from personal interest, you will come a long way to get answers. However; there are limits to science.

Crossing those borders, is what intrigues Arjan so much. “Whether you are a scientist or not: we are constantly struggling to understand something. For instance, we conceptualize everything in our heads, because that is just how the brain works. But by doing so, we forget to just experience things without instantly forming an opinion about them.” Arjan gives an example: “Sound for instance, is something I not only hear. Sometimes I can also feel them, in that moment I am them. Sounds odd, but that is the case

Enormous fire
Back to the film, because slowly but certain the release date is approaching. It was meant to release last December, but that isn’t possible due to conversations with several distributors. In September 2017 Who is Alice will release. “I am extremely curious as to the end result. There is so much time and power in there from the crew, it’s really something special. There is an enormous fire – a passion sticking with everyone to make this film.”

And what if that fire has been extinguished, what then? He shrugs. “Let us first continue with Who is Alice, as we aren’t done yet. After that, we’ll see. Not planning far beforehand is something that I appreciate just fine. By doing so, it provides space to say ‘yes’ to the things often.

Interview: Jeroen Schalk
English translation by: Judith Boeschoten
Photography: Hans Tibben

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