Rialto shared Clowns Are Real

Yesterday Amsterdam Cinema Rialto shared Clowns are real to their audience. I wrote a note that to provide some context to the work.

The original article can be found here:

Below you may find the English translation.

Dear Rialto Visitor,

May this message find you in good health, may you and your roommates settled in comfortably in isolation and may your loved ones avoid the virus. Together we’ll get through it!

I’m Erik Ros, a filmmaker living in Amsterdam. Rialto is sharing my first short film and asked me to tell you about it. I would like to ask you to first watch the film before you continue reading to avoid spoilers.


A while back, I was living in LA en visited the West Hollywood indy filmmakers meetup. They are meeting at the bar of the Beverly Hilton Hotel (a touristic recommendation: just order a cocktail and absorb the scenery) . They organized a challenge: a silent short – a short film without dialog-. My first association with silent film is Buster Keaton, Charly Chaplin, and mime art. That was the starting point. I wanted to refer to those works but not create something derivative. From mime to clowns is a small step. Especially because at that time, the news in the US was filled with items about Killer Clowns who were being spotted everywhere. A sheriff told the news that people weren’t allowed to shoot them: Crazy!

The second inspiration for the movie was my personal impressions of LA. Everyone seems to live in their own bubble and everything is normal, as if all movie realities move through each other. A Ferrari is shamelessly parked next to a tent of a homeless person. The outside scene I tried to shoot in a visceral style, the inside scene in a studio-type setting (you can see it in the shadows). It was my way of reflecting these colliding worlds. Literally no-one noticed that: learning moment.

The Actors

In LA everyone and their mother is an actor. Kasi and Otto, I both got to know in a bar in the neighbourhood I was staying (yeah, okay, I did go reasonably frequently). I told them I was making a movie and before I told them the story, they wanted to join. Probably for the best. I like to create space for the actors. Emotions are being relayed to the viewer through the breath. Many action movies these days are cut so quickly that the viewer doesn’t get the opportunity to experience the adventure. Because of that, you leave the theatre with an empty feeling: such a shame!

The Production

Before we shot the movie, the actors had to understand their characters and the acting style. That’s why we rehearsed before we shot it. We rented a casting studio, I didn’t know my way around in LA so we had to improvise. A costly joke (as we say in Dutch), but I have no regrets.

An interesting experience, a casting studio. The place where we rehearsed was organized rather sadistically. The casting spaces were set up with 2 big chairs, two softboxes, and a big table: an imposing scene to walk into when you are nervous about your audition. For the actors doing the auditions, there was a tiny stool: unnecessarily mean!

In the central waiting area, they had some uncomfortable wooden benches. But the most notable thing about it was, this penetrating smell of angst sweat of all these actors hoping for their big break. You could wonder if the perseverance of these actors is more admirable than their acting.

People’s responses are often positive, some find the plot twist at the end very intense, but it is all good fun.

I hope this message gave an enjoyable context for my short film. I would like to thank Suzanne Bessem and Rialto for sharing my work. Art is only art when it finds an audience.

I wish you all strength, wisdom, and discipline in the coming period and don’t forget to tickle the mind.

With warm regards,


I am really happy Rialto shared Clowns Are Real. It is not easy finding an audience for ones work, also, very happy they deemed it worthy.

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