With signs saying ‘Caution: filming in progress’, an extensive film crew to keep people out and a camera set in the middle of the pond by the Erasmus Pavilion, Campus Woudestein looked like a real film set for shooting the Silk Road telefilm on Wednesday.

Silk Road, which refers to the online black market, is about a student called Daphne who meets a young drug dealer. This film is partly based on a true story about a Dutchman from Woerden called Michael S. who sold drugs online packaged in DVD covers. He carried on this business on a large scale even in the United States and became a multimillionaire.

Olya van Poppel of the production team says that there was a good reason for choosing EUR as the backdrop for the shots: “The ‘Rotterdam look’ goes better with the film,” she explains. “The architecture on Erasmus University campus is very modern compared to the more classical style at the universities in Amsterdam. That’s why we decided to film at EUR. And we really wanted a campus with a business school.”

‘I helped produce a masterpiece’

The film makers recruited about 80 extras at the university for the shots. Their job was to fill the lecture hall in the Theil Building and play the part of students all listening avidly to the professor giving a lecture on economics, unlike the main character Daphne.

Business Administration student Crispin Fox (20) was one of these extras: “I thought it would be fun to appear on TV,” he said. “If this film turns out to be very good, I can tell my family and friends that I helped produce a masterpiece!”

A long wait

But Crispin felt the whole thing took a very long time. “They had to shoot one scene 20 times,” he says. “Either the camera was in the wrong place or the sound wasn’t right or one of the extras had to move up a bit. Now I can understand why it takes two years to make a film.”

Crispin’s fellow student Troy Gibb (17) was keen to find out more: “I’ve always wanted to know what it’s like being on a film set,” he explains. “Of course I’ve watched a lot of films, but I’ve never seen what goes on behind the scenes.”

Telefilms are Dutch films which are specially made for television and which usually focus on today’s social issues, such as cybercrime in this particular instance. Silk Road will be broadcast on the national channel in the spring of 2017. If the film is a success, this may result in a cinema version.