Jan Cornelis Mol was a producer and maker of scientific films. He was born in Venhuizen as the son of a fruit grower. He took over the family business at a young age, and later became the general manager of the local fruit and vegetable auction.
But Mol’s real passion was photography, especially the possibilities of experimenting with the medium. In 1921, he became in charge of the photography magazine ‘Focus’.
Mol was also interested in film, and in the 1920s began shooting footage of microorganisms. Uit het rijk der kristallen, one of his first scientific films, was highly praised, especially in the circles of the Filmliga. They considered the film a good example of ‘absolute filming’.
Mol had since switched to filming full time, and set up his own production company: Multifilm, formerly the Bureau voor Wetenschappelijke Cinematografie. For his company, he shot some footage using the so-called Zeitraffer process: at intervals of fifteen minutes or more, he filmed budding plants or flowers. In these films, the flowers seemed to bloom within a few seconds. Mol also experimented with sound and colour systems.
In the 1930s, Multifilm grew into one of the most interesting and prominent documentary film production companies. Multifilm had a branch in the Dutch East Indies, where Mol was interned in a Japanese POW camp during the Second World War.
For a few years after the war, he produced the newsreel Wordende wereld in the Dutch East Indies. He then returned to the Netherlands. Weakened by his experiences in the Dutch East Indies, he withdrew more and more from his company. He died a week before his 63rd birthday.