Van der Heijden satisfied with filming Tonio

Van der Heijden satisfied with filming Tonio

Writer A. F. Th. van der Heijden is satisfied with the translation of his personal book Tonio to the white cloth. The author and his wife recently received a private screening is in the presence of director Paula van der Oest.

“The intensity of the paper to the screen transferred,” says Van der Heijden. In the acclaimed novel, he describes the difficult grieving process of him and his wife after the loss of their only son, Tonio. The boy died at the age of 21 in a car accident. “I am there in the course of the years, better accustomed to talk about it. When someone asks something about Tonio, I give answers.”

When producer NL Film and Van der Oest asked if they made a movie of the book could make, there was some hesitation. “It is not just a story that you would like to give to film,” explains Van der Heijden. “As long as you have a story you can write, you have the reins in your hands. It is a movie to wait to see what a director does with it. I did not want the figure Tonio maimed would be.”


But the writer had great confidence in Van der Oest. “She is a good director. And a film contributes to the goal that I have with the book had, namely Tonio longer keep alive.” The look of the film was an emotional experience. “You look at Pierre Bokma your story. And you look at a boy who keelknijpend on our Tonio seems. But at the same time you notice that you have the aesthetics of the film, the acting and the structure of the story is greatly appreciate. It was a strange kind of schizophrenia that I felt while watching it.”

The author was very happy with the private screening. “I saw for myself how the premiere would go,” he says. “I got to the first images in sobs would erupt and the room would have to leave. That had me quite painful seemed. We were now together, with empty chairs around us, and our emotions run wild without having to consider other people.”

After Van der Heijden and his wife consent for the filming to be had, they are no longer with the project interfered. “I know from experience that a film of a very different work of art than a novel,” explains the writer. “And certainly a hefty novel of hundreds of pages. A director makes other choices, it deletes certain aspects. It goes to the core of the book – that Paula van der Oest and her actors very clever to know to take.”


Tonio is this year’s Dutch submission for the Oscars, according to international journals makes the film a serious chance at a nomination. Van der Heijden will find it very honorable that the story of his son, now foreign attention. “We wanted to make the world acquainted with Tonio,” says Van der Heijden. “I’ve done that in words, because the form is where I can express. It is very nice that the film now also helps to make more people familiar with his story and his life.”

Tonio runs in the week of 22 september, in a limited number of cinemas. From mid-October is the film in the Netherlands.

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