Origins of Clanstate Pictures

‘Yes, I’ve been wondering that for a while already, why ‘Clanstate Pictures?’, a number of people have asked me in the past months. ‘Well, that’s an interesting story…’, I would reply. I figured it is time to dig into the history books.

During August 2018, I figured I had to enroll myself at the Chamber of Trade in order to do business accordingly. This required a name for my enterprise, so I attempted to figure out how I would present my ‘brand’ as an entrepreneur in film. It wasn’t an easy task, because… how do you know how you want to present yourself, if you are not even completely sure what your brand stands for?

Signing my contract as entrepreneur-intern

At that time, the only things I had were the person I was at that moment and the goals that I wanted to reach (and still do). But goals are fluid, they are not ‘set’. Neither am I myself, I have developed over the years and it would be a sad foresight if I’d not keep developing in the years to come. The one thing I did know was that I wanted to become international, while maintaining a strong bond with my homeland Fryslân. So, I started digging into my roots.

Monument of the Frisian rebellion against the Dutch

Roots, they are very important. It is that bit of DNA you receive at birth, which no one can take away from you. No matter how much you change during the course of your life, your roots you will never lose, and that’s why they are integral to your identity.

My family roots go back for many centuries. And Fryslân’s history goes back for many more. During the midway 1500’s, my family owned a large house, a so-called ‘state’ (pronounce something close to ‘stá-tè’). The word ‘state’ is related to the English ‘estate’.

One of them was called the ‘Clantstate’, or the ‘Herckemaheerd’. My ancestors were the first owners of this establishment, or at least, the estate was first mentioned when they were the owners (later on, the Clant name was married into the family, hence the name Clant-state).

The Clantstate

Most of these estates were demolished in the 19th century when maintenance became too expensive. However, the history still remains.

Of course, the name ‘Clantstate’ has much resemblance with the words ‘clan’ and ‘state’.

Having lived under Viking rule and being part of the Frankish Empire in post-Roman times, the ‘Frisian Freedom’ has endured most of the time between the year 1000-1498. During this time Fryslân lacked a central administration (it wasn’t ruled by a lord) and the legislation of the land was left to individual communities (comparable to traditional ‘clans’)

However, when it came to a civil war by the end of the 15th century, Fryslân became part of Saxony. The ‘States of Frisia’ was the sovereign organ that from 1580 defended the rights of the province of Fryslân when it became part of the Dutch Republic.

In 1523, Fryslân lost its sovereignty, but its history can be traced back long before that. The Frisii people were already mentioned in the year 98 BC, in ‘De origine et situ Germanorum’ by the Roman Cornelius Tacitus. The Frisian language is perceived the oldest of all Germanic languages.

A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship and descent. Considering the bond I have with my roots, the name of the estate, the still ‘rebellious’ nature of the Frisians compared to the rest of The Netherlands, and the role of the States of Friesland when it became a province of the Dutch Republic, the words ‘clan’ and ‘state’ kept returning.

I figured the two words form an excellent combination. The word ‘Clanstate’ was formed.

Oh and yes… of course. ‘Pictures’. Well, you’ve probably heard of the film companies ‘Paramount Pictures’ and ‘Columbia Pictures’. The word ‘pictures’ refers to the term ‘moving pictures’ or ‘motion pictures’, which is how ‘movies’ used to be called. Of course, since the brand name was supposed to be reflecting an international identity, the word ‘Pictures’ proved to be a suitable addition to Clanstate. And so, Clanstate Pictures was born.

Sounds good, right? Walt Disney, Warner Bros, Universal, Clanstate Pictures…

Well, one must keep dreaming.

*Clanstate Pictures is now a sub-brand, the production house of Clanstate

Written by Kilian Harkema

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