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Th To e uc Du h tc h Children’s documentaries from the Netherlands

3 preface

The Dutch Touch Dutch documentaries and feature films for children have become a household brand

Over the past 20 years Dutch documentaries and feature films for children have become a household brand. In just the past fifteen years more then 200 docs for kids have been produced. A lot of these docs have found an international audience by foreign tv broadcast and by winning international festival awards. This year at the Dutch kids festival Cinekid, and at the famous Dutch Documentary Festival IDFA, many of these titles have been selected.

This booklet contains a concise overview of the background of the Dutch children’s doc world and we have attached a small catalogue of the best Dutch Docs for kids of the past years and the new arrivals of this year.

Therefore, it felt the right time to explore what is the reason behind this success and what is the power of these docs for kids. It is obvious that docs for kids are taken very seriously in the Netherlands. And since these docs are also very popular abroad at festivals and in the marketplace it seemed a good reason for EYE International and NPO Sales to create this booklet together to inform and enthuse the industry.

Claudia Landsberger Head of EYE International

We hope we can serve you better this way with your finding of great films by our talented filmmakers.

Kaisa Kriek Manager NPO Sales

4 children's documentaries

Children's documentaries Completely from the point of view of a child and also very interesting for adults

Eleven-year-old Anne is a cheerful girl. She likes to ride her bike, climb fences, jump up and down on the trampoline and bake cakes with her sisters. But Anne suffers from ‘tics’. Her body sometimes does things she doesn’t want it to: for example, it makes her turn in circles the whole time, or suddenly start licking everything. Anne suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome. She is a bit ashamed of this and doesn’t really know how to explain it to people. So she tries to suppress the tics. But that’s really difficult. Anne is someone who likes to 'fly' through life – that’s when she’s at her best.

Documentaries can expand children's view of the world flying anne is a Dutch children's documentary by Catherine van Campen that shows – in a highly effective, cinematic way – how an 11-year-old girl with Tourette’s Syndrome deals with her tics, filmed completely from the point of view of the girl herself.

Children's documentaries can have a big impact on children. They can expand children’s views of the world by giving insight into the lives of other children – lives that may be very strange, or perhaps very recognisable. Children are aware of the fact that these films tell real stories about real children. This prompts them to think about other people in different circumstances. What’s it like to be bullied really badly, but to try to ignore it? To be a boy who would really rather be a girl? Or if your best friend goes away to another school? Children's documentaries also show children that they can play the leading role. In actual fact, documentaries for children are not so different from documentaries for adults: both tell an interesting, personal story visualised by cinematographic means. The main difference is the perspective, which in children's documentaries is almost always that of a child. The child’s story and the way he or she experiences the world are central. And as children have smaller frame of reference and less experience of watching films, it is a good idea to tell the story as clearly as possible, in such a way that it’s clear what it’s about.

5 children's documentaries


In the Netherlands, children's documentary is undergoing a real renaissance. Successes such as flying anne are no exception. This year, fifteen Dutch children's documentaries will première at Cinekid and fourteen Dutch titles have been selected for IDFA. A total of almost two hundred children's documentaries were made in the Netherlands during the past fifteen years.

The Dutch children's documentary is undergoing a real renaissance What is the strength of the Dutch children's documentary? What makes this such a successful genre? One significant factor must surely be that children's documentaries can also be very interesting for adults. The frequently layered approach

to storytelling and exceptional cinematographic aspects of these films make them real, complete documentaries. Children's documentary is taken very seriously in the Netherlands.

6 internationaal succes

International success The attraction is their intimate nature and the sensitive issues they bring into the open Dutch children's documentaries are also popular outside the Netherlands. The documentary FLYING ANNE is almost literally flying round the world. The film has been selected for more than 90 festivals and has picked up 17 awards worldwide. And Willem Baptiste's documentary i'm never afraid has travelled to more than 30 festivals where it received 15 nominations and awards. In recent years, a remarkably large number of Dutch children's documentaries have been programmed and received awards at international festivals. The attraction of many documentaries is their often intimate nature and the sensitive issues they bring into the open. In this approach, the director is usually ‘invis-

“From a foreign perspective the topics Dutch documentaries choose are quite extraordinary. In many aspects, like sexuality and religion, Dutch filmmakers have an ‘easy’ approach which we often miss in productions dealing with serious issues. In the last few years, some outstanding documentaries on inclusive topics were realised about subjects which in Germany are highly discussed, and which are therefore

ible’ – unlike in many foreign children's documentaries, which are often little more than glorified reportage, featuring a child followed in his or her everyday life, interspersed with interviews to camera. Festival agent Renate Zylla regularly sees children's documentaries from many different countries – in many of these, she doesn’t see an atmosphere of intimacy which draws the viewer into the world as experienced by the child. In her opinion, filmmakers should take the time to get to know the child and build up a relationship with him or her. According to her, Dutch children's documentaries really stand out by doing this well, as children and their problems are taken very seriously.

more than welcome. On the other hand also unspectacular topics are being told in an entertaining way. ‘We are Boys’ for example is a really moving short film, without the obvious ‘challenges’ and ‘competitions’ you need a story to have if you want to realise it in Germany.” Gudrun Sommer, DOXS! Duisburger Filmwoche


The scope for the sale of Dutch children's documentaries is however rather limited. Although festivals generally provide space for the documentary genre, broadcasters outside of the Netherlands are more reluctant to do so. Time slots for children's documentaries on television are restricted – more space is devoted to drama and animation. Documentaries are not ‘mainstream’, and this means the market for them is unfortunately limited. Nevertheless, it is also true that increasing interest in this type of programme is being shown outside of the Netherlands. According to Kaisa Kriek of NPO Sales, public broadcasters in particular are increasingly showing an interest. “We are seeing that the foreign market is more and more open to them, and we are confident that this interest will continue to grow. Foreign broadcasters are very enthusiastic about the quality of our children's documentaries, and are willing to make efforts to create time slots for these kinds of children's programmes.” Programmers and buyers from outside of the Netherlands agree that the high quality of Dutch children's documentaries is principally thanks to the strong children's film culture that exists in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, making films, documentaries and programmes for children is seen as of equal value to making them for adults. The strong base present for

children's documentary here has come about thanks to structured promotion of the genre by Funds and broadcasters. And thanks to the dedication and qualities of a number of very committed people who have an unshakeable belief in children's documentary.

“The Dutch children's documentary shows how good the Netherlands is at making strong, beautiful, innovative, vulnerable documentaries. The Netherlands leads the field in the production of this type of documentary and makes efforts to create the space for this kind of important topic to be covered. They present beautiful portraits and exceptional stories told with great passion and attentiveness. These are stories that need to be shared with the world. Furthermore, a lot of the topics chosen remain current. For example, subjects such as bullying and parents who divorce. But delicate subjects that are difficult to talk about are also covered, such as children who have doubts about wearing a hijab or who are struggling with their gender and identity.” Kaisa Kriek (NPO Sales)

8 a rich tradition

A rich tradition As early as the 1970's programs were made from the child's point of view

The Netherlands has a rich tradition of creating high-quality productions for children. As early as the 1970s, documentaries and dramatic productions for television were made with considerable regularity. The social changes that took place in the 1970s radically changed attitudes towards the raising and autonomy of children. Children were listened to more, and the problems and experiences of children were taken seriously. Developments that were then reflected in television programmes for children, which were made increasingly from the child’s point of view.

as accessible programmes for the whole family: adults and children alike. The broadcaster also stressed the importance of giving a platform to emerging talent, meaning that many writers and directors were able to make their debuts and clock up many years of experience. These controversial, successful programmes meant there was a new way of viewing and telling stories.

In the late 1970s, the IKON broadcaster initiated a tradition of drama and documentaries taking ‘everyday reality’ as their starting point. These were intended

Half way through the 1980s, a new era in children's television dawned with the setting up for a dedicated youth section by the VPRO. This was a broadcaster characterised by an anarchistic approach and a great desire to innovate. A large number of highly diverse makers were brought in, and all manner of new formats thought up to appeal to children. Children's television was seen as a nursery for new talent under the motto: ‘everything is possible and everything is allowed.’ This new children's section was also committed to the children's documen-

Trudy van Keulen, programme maker and children's television editor, is seen in the Netherlands as the ‘mother’ or inventor of children's documentary. During the 1970s, she made socially committed documentaries for children for the IKON broadcaster dealing with the daily lives of children in different parts of the world where radical changes were taking place, such as DoEs

thE RAIN hAVE A FAthER and pLAYING At wAR, for which she won many national and international awards. Van Keulen is interested in what children think, how they experience things and wants the viewer to identify with this. In her documentaries, she also aims to show that there is always hope. She believes you can’t make films for children without hope.

A new way of viewing and telling stories

9 a rich tradition


tary, and from then on an impressive quantity of children's documentaries was made, often giving rise to a great deal of discussion of their content or form. For the broadcaster, the main thing was that makers were able to tell their stories in their own, creative ways. A lot of time and money was dedicated to this. A lot of filmmakers saw working for the VPRO as a kind of playground where you could try anything and gane experience. Another major force behind children's documentary is the Dutch Cultural Media Fund, a fund that supports the cultural productions of the public broadcasters. From its inception in 1988, the Fund has implemented an active policy in relation to the stimulation of high-quality children's productions for television. The Fund devotes a considerable amount as a matter of course to children's drama and documentary, the return for which is a

large quantity of high-quality productions for television. One of the Fund’s aims is for children to become accustomed to good quality; by showing quality, children can develop their taste and learn to distinguish between good and minor television programmes.

“From the 1970s, children were taken seriously by television. People thought everything that is made for adults should also be made for children. All topics should be open to discussion. This is typical of the Netherlands: that children are taken very seriously and children’s television is very important. And that documentary as a genre is part of this.” Meike Statema, Coordinator Education / Progammer Kids & Docs IDFA

10 kids

& docs

Kids & Docs The aim is to raise the level of both the talent of the maker as the level of the documentaries Children's documentary in the Netherlands really gained an identity of its own when the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) decided to dedicate a programme section to it. IDFA had programmed children's documentaries since being set up in the late 1980s – for the first ten years, these screened between all the other (adult) documentaries. In 1998, the organisation found it high time that children's documentary deserved its own regular programme section. That year, no less than fifteen children's documentaries screened at the festival. The following year also the Cinekid festival starts a permanent section for children's documentaries. However, as the volume and quality of children's documentaries were not yet particularly high, (then) programmer Signe Zeilich-Jensen of Cinekid and IDFA

“The quality of the Dutch production is very high. I guess the Kids & Docs workshop is one of the reasons, since it provides a structure which makes it possible to increase the competence of filmmakers working with and for kids over the years. Constant output, and the training of filmmakers on a regular basis I believe to be crucial in order

programmer Willemien van Aalst decided that the genre needed a boost. To be able to programme more and better children's documentaries at their festivals, they considered that the genre needed to be popularised among makers. Makers also needed to be stimulated to make better quality films about the personal stories of children, rather than simply continuing the reportage-type style customary until then. They approached the Dutch Cultural Media Fund, and in 1999 the Kids & Docs workshop was set up – a cooperation between the Fund, IDFA and Cinekid. This initiative has proved a driving force behind the genre’s success right up to the present day. In the Kids & Docs workshop, directors work intensively on developing a film plan for a children's documentary and are coached in this by experienced documentary makers. A great deal of time is dedi-

to create knowledge and experience.” “The Kids & Docs workshop became kind of a role model to develop a project for Germany with a similar aim, but transformed to suit our production circumstances.” Gudrun Sommer, Duisburger Filmwoche

11 kids

& docs


The children's documentary deserved it's own regular program me section cated to research, building a relationship with the main character and telling the story in a cinematically interesting way. Filmmaker and plan are also introduced to a broadcaster, which then supports the maker in developing the plan. At the end of the workshop, the film plans can be submitted to the Fund committee with a view to having them realised. The bar is set high: the aim of the workshop is to raise the level of both the talent of the maker in particular and the level of children's documentary in general. The filmmakers must first write a plan for a

documentary with an artistic and personal style; what exactly is the story they want to tell, and how will they visualise this? This is a new approach. Whereas it was previously a question of ‘just shoot and see what you get’, the Kids & Docs workshop aims to stimulate a professional approach to making documentaries. The Kids & Docs Workshop can now be seen as a great success. It has ensured that the level of children's documentaries has been raised considerably, and that huge volume has been generated. Kids & Docs is now an institution in the Netherlands, turning out good documentaries and well-educated makers.

12 document junior

Document Junior children's documentary is no longer a springboard to feature-lenght documentaries but a specialist field

Around 2005, children's documentary in the Netherlands experienced a minor setback. The Dutch public broadcasting system has a – for outsiders often confusingly complex – system of various broadcasters that produce and broadcast TV programmes alongside one another. In order to compete against the commercial broadcasters, and to raise the profile among the general public, some years previously children programming had been consolidated under Zapp, the public broadcasters’ joint children’s channel.

The NCRV broadcaster is inspired by the genre Children's programming was radically shaken up and the number of hours allocated and accompanying budgets were redistributed. These changes were then reflected in the number of children's documentaries being made.

“The success of Document Junior lies in the fact that we take the genre very seriously. Children's documentary need no longer act as a springboard to feature-length documentaries. We don’t want makers to just see it as a stepping stone.

As the audience ratings for these on television were disappointing, the genre had to make way for more popular programmes. The Kids & Docs Workshop continued to exist, however, and continues to inspire makers and broadcasters to make more and better youth documentaries. One of the results of this is the initiative by the NCRV broadcaster in 2010 to set up a special programme for youth documentary. The broadcaster has a longstanding tradition of making and broadcasting ‘adult’ documentaries in its documentary programme ‘Dokument’. Around 2000, the broadcaster's children's section already took the initiative to make a number of children’s documentaries for afternoon broadcasting on television under the title ‘Dokument Junior’. The result is a varied range of children’s documentaries that received an enthusiastic reception. There was no continuity, however, and over the years the children’s section shifted its focus to other programmes.

On the contrary, children's documentary is often more difficult. It’s a real specialist field.” Jelle Peter de Ruiter and Yolande van der Blij (Document Junior)

13 document junior


However, thanks to the broadcaster’s participation in the Kids & Docs workshop, the team from the ‘adult’ documentary programme ‘Dokument’ were gripped by the genre. They now wanted to make more children’s documentaries each year and decided in 2010 to take over the programme ‘Dokument Junior’. The programme is now already in its third season; this year, another eight new youth documentaries will première. And for next year, there are another 10 new productions in the starting blocks. The broadcaster now attaches great importance to children’s documentaries, as this is one of the genres with which they can set themselves apart as a public broadcaster from the commercial broadcasters. An important benefit of a programme series such as Document Junior is the continuity it brings: it is now possible for makers who have got to know the genre

and become enthusiastic to make several children's documentaries, rather than just trying it once. This has now even given rise to a kind of new generation of children's documentary makers.

“What’s very special, is that NCRV picked up the children’s documentary Dokument Junior through their adult Dokument programme. They are the only broadcaster to place this genre in the documentary field. All the other broadcasters put it under the Youth section. There is something to be said for both approaches, as long as they take it seriously. But what really helped with the NCRV is that it was given to the people in charge of a programme for adults.” Meike Statema, Coordinator Education / Progammer Kids & Docs IDFA

14 accessible for all

Accessible for all making the extensive archive available to the public Since the renewed interest in the genre, the quantity of children's documentaries that can be seen has skyrocketed. Before they can be broadcast on television (and repeated several times), most documentaries first première at the Cinekid festival or IDFA. Here, they are put in the spotlight with special screenings where the makers and main characters are present and the press is invited, which also generates publicity.

More and more schools ask for documentaries IDFA has also put together a selection of children's documentaries for the school screenings it organizes since 1993. For almost 20 years now schools have been invited to attend the festival with their

“The children love going to IDFA. Simply the fact that it’s in the cinema makes it special for them. And then the topics of the films are interesting and exciting for them. It’s great have a good way to discuss all these important issues with the children!” Teacher's reaction

classes to watch documentaries. The director of the film is present at these screenings so the children can ask questions afterwards. In addition, teaching materials are provided to accompany each film, giving the children insight into the subject of the documentary and how it was made. For example, the children may be asked: What is this documentary about? If you were in the same situation as the main character, what would you do? What styles in pictures and sound does the filmmaker use to tell his story? And what effect does this have on you when you are watching? And it works. Every year, the school screenings prove more popular, and more and more schools ask for documentaries to show in class. At school, these documentaries often lead to interesting discussions and discussions with the schoolchildren. A number of documentaries has now been made on virtually all subjects, such as friendship, school, bullying, love, faith, illnesses, etc. These provide a handy way of addressing difficult, delicate subjects. And, of course, it is a good way to introduce children to the documentary genre.

15 accessible for all

On the basis of this growing interest from schools in screening documentaries in class, Zapp amended its television programming some years ago, and now screens children's documentaries in the mornings. This means schools can watch the films in class. Nevertheless, it often turns out the timing is not convenient for the school timetable. Teachers prefer to watch the documentaries at a time that suits them. But this turns out not to be so simple. Owing to the varied television landscape in the Netherlands, the films have been made by all different broadcasters and are often difficult to trace.

A cross broadcaster online platform Time for a change, then. The VPRO, a broadcaster with a long tradition of making children's documentaries and an extensive archive of films in its possession which it would like to make available to the general public, entered into an initiative with Zapp in 2011 to create an online platform for children's documentaries. Zapp Echt Gebeurd (zappechtgebeurd.nl) is a cross-broadcaster internet platform accessible for all and where many of the children's documentaries made in the

Netherlands can be watched. On the site, the documentaries are also presented in a special layout to make them attractive and present them clearly to children. The documentaries are divided up by theme, introduced by an enthusiastic team of child reporters and there are teaching sheets on each documentary for teachers to download. This allows the documentaries to be watched either at home or at school on the smartboard, at any time.

“Zapp Echt Gebeurd was set up as a way of providing better access to children's documentaries. We consider it a public duty to allow these films to be seen by a wider audience. It is important that children also watch documentaries, as this allows them to look into the lives of other children. We hope that, if children watch documentaries, this will have an effect on them. And we want children to learn to develop their taste, and learn to look at things that are just a little bit different from what they see around them every day.� Suzanne Kunzeler, manager children's programmes

16 success in the future

Success in the future festivals and broadcasters should embrace children's documentaries

The success of children's documentaries is measured not so much in audience ratings, but more in the responses the makers, broadcasters and Funds receive from audiences, schoolchildren and teachers and the awards the makers are given at festivals. These reactions and awards are important in the documentary world. For Funds and broadcasters, they represent recognition of their work and are a major motivating factor to carry on. For other makers, such successes can inspire them, as they can see that the genre has reached a very high level of accomplishment and they may become enthusiastic about making a children's documentary.

Most documentaries are timeless and can be used for many years The key to success seems therefore to lie in opportunities to screen children's documentaries. The genre must be given the highest possible profile in order to have the greatest possible effect. One advantage is that most children's documentaries can last for a long time, thanks to their high cinematic quality and great diversity of – often timeless – topics; these films retain their interest for festivals and

broadcasters and can be used for educational purposes for many years to come. It would be great if, in the future, more film festivals outside of the Netherlands were to embrace children's documentary in their programming and if foreign broadcasters were to lobby harder for time slots for children's documentaries on television. It is the case that, in many countries, the emphasis is on drama and animation and it is relatively rare for documentaries to be programmed. In spite of the fact that this genre is superbly suited to amazing, enthusing and emotionally engaging children, as well as encouraging them to think. In addition, screenings at international festivals can prove a great source of inspiration to foreign filmmakers.


17 catalogue

New Arrivals 2012


Sounds for Mazin Something really major is about to change for Mazin. He has been deaf since birth, but soon he's going to get a cochlear implant. If all goes well, he will be able to recognize all sorts of noises and understand speech. He is very excited about this, even though it's a bit scary. What if the operation doesn't work, like what happened to his classmate Katelin? She only got nauseous from it and wants nothing more to do with implants. But on the other hand, what if Mazin's operation does work? What will his life be like then? He won't abandon all his deaf friends, will he?

“Eight years ago, I was working as a director on a theatre project with deaf children. I knew then already that one day I’d make a film about the world of the deaf. It’s a world that really had a profound effect on me. I experienced contact through sign language as more open, more honest and disarming than spoken language.

Sounds for Mazin follows the entire process, from the lead-up to the operation to getting used to hearing with the implant. Special attention is paid to the way in which Mazin perceives sounds, but at the same time, his relationships with his friends and chats with Katelin reveal that the implant will radically change his world in more ways than one. 2012 / 19 min Director: Ingrid Kamerling Producer: Hollandse Helden / EO World Sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: Hollandse Helden

Mazin is now doing very well. Not only is his Dutch getting better and better, but he’s also learning to speak Arabic. I can see he’s very proud of himself. And his parents are even more proud. And that’s really great to see.” Ingrid Kamerling, director


Little Mo

2012 / 15 min Director: Sjoerd Oostrik Producer: BALDR Films / VPRO World Sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: BALDR Films

Mo is a twelve-year-old rebel from a working-class neighbourhood in Rotterdam. We follow him during the final weeks of middle school, as he'll be going to high school next year. Despite his short size and his fragile stature he is not afraid of anyone. Whether it’s the big kids on the

playground, his older brothers, or the gym teacher: nobody messes with Mo. But tough as he may seem at first glance, during the film we get to know a different Mo as he reflects on how he'll change his behavior to work on a better future.

Taking the Plunge

2012 / 16 min Director: Michiel Brongers Producer: Selfmade Films / NCRV World sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: Selfmade Films

Kaleigh is 10 years old and can't swim yet, even though most of her peers can. As well as learning to swim, Kaleigh really wants to have lots of friends. Except for when she's invited to a friend's birthday party where there is a pool, because then she claims to have a bellyache. At least

that's better than letting everybody see that she has to wear inflatable armbands in the water. There's a special reason why Kaleigh didn't manage to get a certificate. But this time she's sure it's going to work out.


The Hideout

2012 / 15 min Director: Astrid Bussink Producer: KRO World sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: NPO Sales

Coming-of-age film about four boys from a small village in the Netherlands. Ivan and Bas are about to enter high school. Besides this meaning a move to another school, it also means homework, girls and new interests. Jurriaan and Willem are younger, and they'll still be attending

middle school for some time. Age has suddenly become an issue for this group of friends, and the crisis in their friendship is analyzed down to the minutest detail. The four friends wonder out loud in their hut, which they built themselves and use as their club house.

Just a Girl, You Know

2012 / 20 min Director: Eef Hilgers Producer: St Joost Academy World sales: Eef Hilgers Festival contact: Eef Hilgers

Thirteen-year-old Maria has got her own YouTube channel, using the moniker Happynudge. Like many of her peers, she shares her vlogs, shoplogs and video clips. It's a world of its own, a network where users meet huge numbers of new people. Maria sees some of them as her friends, even though she's never met

them. We get a picture of her online life through responses to Maria's videos and through other people's videos, and we accompany her when she goes to meet her online friends in person for the first time, at a YouTube gathering. Is Maria losing herself in the digital world, or will she find her own voice?


Jan’s Mom

2012 / 16 min Director: Anneloor van Heemstra Producer: Hollandse Helden / NCRV World sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: Hollandse Helden

The mother of 11-year-old Jan is in prison. She's been incarcerated for a year and still has about 18 months to go. How does that affect Jan's day-to-day life? As he can't call her when he feels like it, or if there's something he wants to tell his mother, he records these things

with a voice recorder. Most impotant, Jan wants to ask his mother how she's really doing. This is something he doesn't really dare to ask. The subtle shifts of perspective and depth of field create a dreamy atmosphere that complements Jan's obvious vulnerability.

Bente’s Voice

2012/ 30 min Director: Marijn Frank Producer: Dahl TV & Blazhoffski / VPRO World Sales: VPRO Sales Festival contact: VPRO Sales

Bente is 11 years old and she has the voice of an angel. She's desperate to become a singer and auditions for the TV show The Voice Kids. The celebrity judges immediately recognize that the girl is a star in the making. Bente sometimes feels insecure, and now she suddenly has to make adult choices. Signing stacks of

contracts, for example, and singing in perfect English. Everything changes at school too: suddenly, Bente is popular. She was never all that happy at school, but the more often she appears on TV, the more other kids seem to like her. Would her classmates still like her so much if she wasn't famous anymore?


Sarah's night

2012 / 17 min Director: Anne Kleisen Producer: Blackframe / BOS World sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: Blackframe

Sarah is tossing and turning in bed and can’t seem to fall asleep. She and her little brother live with foster parents. Her mom is very sick and hasn't been able to take care of her since she was five. The question now is whether she can stay in her foster home, as a conversation with

a family therapist reveals that there are problems: Sarah isn't adapting well to the family. Sarah tells her friends that she misses her mom. Will she accept that she can never go back to her mother, and will that be the solution to her insomnia?


2012 / 15 min Director: Janetta Ubbels Producer: Bananaz / NTR World sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: Bananaz

The father of 15-year-old Jurre has Alzheimer's. It's a disease that ‘keeps taking bites out of your memory’, like kind of getting deleted. Jurre knows that in the end his father will forget him, but he doesn't want to think about that yet. For now, he just wants to do fun things

with his dad. They used to do lots of stuff together, but they don't do as much anymore. So Jurre came up with the idea of the two of them going away for a weekend. As well as seeing how sad Jurre is, we also discover how he has learned to live with it.


Father Wanted: With a Piggy Nose 2012 / 17min Director: Annelies Kruk Producer: Hollandse Helden / NCRV World sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: Hollandse Helden

She got her eyes and smile from her mother. Did she get her upturned nose from her father? No one who knows the answer, because 13-year-old JaĂŤl is the child of an anonymous donor. She'll be allowed to make contact with him when she turns 16, but she doesn't want to wait

that long. JaĂŤl wants to know right now who her father is. While she's waiting, she shares with us her fantasy father: imagine John Travolta with a stubbly beard and she explains why she wants so much to meet him.


2012 / 19 min Director: Neske Beks Producer: Zuidenwind Filmproductions / VPRO World Sales: VPRO Sales Festival contact: VPRO Sales

Mookie is a very cute and cheerful Antillean/Surinamese boy of nine who bursts of imagination. Later when he grows up, Mookie wants to become a secret agent. When he isn't busy catching crooks, he plays with other kids on the playground near his house. But sometimes he's not well: he has sickle-cell anemia, a chronic

disease that can leave him tired and sore. Once, he was so sick that he almost didn't wake up. Mookie invites us into his world, where things are as they are and nothing is too terrible. Where playing is more important than talking, and death is no reason for crying.


All of me

2012 / 15 min Director: Susan Koenen Producer: Hollandse Helden / NCRV World sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: Hollandse Helden

Diede and Emma are best friends. School, singing class, shopping, joking around: they share everything. Everything? Well, almost. Because Diede has a secret. She's clairvoyant - even though she hates the word. Of all the people around her, the only ones who know are her parents. In the past, she talked about

it with other people, but they either didn't believe her or thought she was nuts. And she wouldn't want Emma to think of her like that, because that would mean Diede would lose her best friend. But what does friendship mean if you can't be completely open?

Cap or Kippah

2012 / 15 min Director: Susanne Engels Producer: Zuidenwind Filmprodukties / Joodse Omroep World Sales: Zuidenwind Filmprodukties Festival contact: Zuidenwind Filmprodukties

Bram (14) keeps it a secret at his high school that he is Jewish. He grew up in a small village where he was the only Jewish child at the local primary school, and was seriously bullied about it. So now he lives in two worlds. In one he's a normal high school student, and in the other

he's a Jew. But there is one striking thing that brings the two worlds together, and that is Amsterdam's soccer team, Ajax. At their games, Bram can parade around carrying an Israeli flag without fear, as Ajax supporters call themselves "Jews" in their eyes, it is a badge of honor.


When I look into the Mirror

2012 / 15 min Director: Saskia Gubbels Producer: Hollandse Helden / NCRV World sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: Hollandse Helden

Last summer, 15-year-old Dilan was badly burned by a flame from a fire brazier. Her good looks were changed forever in just three seconds, along with a big part of her identity. The entire front of her body, right up to her bottom jaw, received thirddegree burns. She hasn’t been back to school since the accident and has trouble

accepting what has happened. She faces hard choices with far-reaching consequences. Should she go for the painful operations that will reduce the scarring? Can she accept that her face and life will never be the same again? Will she be able to look to the future again?

Dancing in style

2012 / 15 min Director: Xander de Boer Producer: Hollandse Helden / NCRV World sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: Hollandse Helden

14-year-old Eugène has been dancing since he was 6. And not hip-hop or breakdance, but ballroom dancing. Other children his age don’t get it – doing ballroom dancing isn’t hip. He’s been teased about it for years, but in spite of his insecurity Eugène keeps on danc-

ing. Now, at secondary school, he’s fed up with being laughed at and decides to show his classmates what he can do. He decides to show them his ballroom dancing skills. His parents are not convinced – if it doesn’t work, he could be teased even more.


Bullied: Lwiza

2012 / 15 min Director: Frans Bromet Producer: Bromet & Dochters / NCRV World sales: Bromet & Dochters Festival contact: Bromet & Dochters

Lwiza is 12 years old and in the last class of primary school. She has been bullied since she was in the first class. First because they said she was fat, now because she has spots. This really undermines Lwiza’s self-confidence. She doesn’t know why they are bullying her like this,

she’s not doing anything wrong, is she? With a camera in one hand, she asks the children from her class what they think about bullying. She’s also learned that she can’t show it, because then the bullying just gets worse. But will this help her when she gets to secondary school?

Bullied: Justin

2012 / 15 min Director: Frans Bromet Producer: Bromet & Dochters / NCRV World sales: Bromet & Dochters Festival contact: Bromet & Dochters

Justin has been bullied at school for years. Why do they always pick on him? At his last school, he always came home covered in bruises. One time, they even tied his head to a climbing frame with a skipping rope and spat at him, but the school didn’t do anything about it. At his

new school, things are a little better, but he’s still being bullied. Justin thinks it’s because he is a 'softie', but he’s sick to the back teeth of it. Can his parents help him?


Highlights from the Lowlands


Through Ellen's Ears

2011 / 17 min

Eleven-year-old Ellen is deaf, just like her parents and most of her family, and only communicates through sign language. She's in the final year of primary school and has to choose which high school she will attend. She doesn't like the idea of going to a boarding school for deaf children; she'd much rather attend a school for the hard of hearing with her friend Myrthe.

Director: Saskia Gubbels Producer: Hollandse Helden / NCRV World Sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: NPO Sales

My Granny Lien

2011 / 15 min Director: Annelies de Wit Producer: Selfmade Films / NCRV World Sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: Selfmade Films

Christel loves her 84-year-old Granny Lien, who’s getting senile. Christel visits her twice a week. She has no idea if that's something other kids do too, but she thinks it's only natural; after all, her grandmother took care of her for years. She misses their close bond and wonders how it will be once Lien no longer knows her. Will she keep coming to visit so often?

Nadia’s tics

2011 / 18 min Director: Laetitia Schoofs Producer: Key Docs / BOS World Sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: NPO Sales

The first day of high school is very stressful for 12-year-old Nadia.That may be true for any seventh grader starting at a new school, but Nadia has been worrying for weeks, so much she is feeling physically ill. Nadia is a bright and openhearted young lady, but as her teacher says, there’s something special about her. She candidly explains how she struggles with her obsessivecompulsive neuroses and anxieties.



2010 / 15 min Director Hilt Lochten Producer: KRO/RKK World Sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: NPO Sales

Eleven-year-old Rino is a fanatical competitive swimmer. His nine-year-old brother Nik is his biggest fan, but he can't come to the pool very often to watch as the environment is too warm for him: Nik has a neuromuscular disease and is wheelchair-bound. Although this means the number of activities they can do together is limited, their bond is strong. Despite their obstacles, the boys look for ways to try and play together.

I am a girl 13-year-old Joppe is a typical adolescent girl. She’s fascinated by boys and makeup. Joppe is constantly in love – currently with Bart. But Joppe has a secret. Joppe used to be called Job. She was born a boy. If Bart agrees to go steady with Joppe, Joppe will have to tell him the truth. 2010 / 16 min Director: Susan Koenen Producer: Hollandse Helden / NCRV World Sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: Hollandse Helden

A dress for Anuschka 9-year-old Anuschka dreams about having a fantastic dress. Her father is getting married to stepmother Kitty, who has lived in their house for the past two years. But the family has hardly enough money to live on. Their situation is so bad that they have to go to the food bank. Will Anuschka get her bridesmaid’s dress? 2010 / 16 min Director: Annelies Kruk Producer: Hollandse Helden / NCRV World Sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: Hollandse Helden


Flying Anne Eleven-year-old Anne is a beautiful girl. The kind of girl you can’t take your eyes off. And the longer you look, the more you see her ‘tics’. Anne suffers from Gilles de la Tourette’s syndrome. This makes her body do things she doesn’t want, such as suddenly spinning around or licking everything. Anne sometimes finds it hard to cope with her illness. She’s afraid that oth-

“FLYING ANNE is told completely from Anne’s point of view. Almost no adults get to speak in the film. I think this is where the strength of a good children’s documentary lies – being made from the child’s perspective. My main aim with my children’s documentaries is for the children who tell their stories to benefit from the experience. I want to give them a platform. Anne, for example, was very afraid of being bullied, and this film meant she was able to explain this to her classmates. And then she was even invited to appear on a

ers will bully her or laugh at her. Anne therefore tries to keep her tics in check, although that isn’t easy. She prefers ‘flying’ through life, so you won’t notice anything. 2010 / 21 min Director: Catherine van Campen Producer: Zuidenwind Filmproductions / NCRV World Sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: Zuidenwind Filmproductions

television programme to talk about it. The film really did her a lot of good. But the best thing of all, I think, is that the film gives hope – this is a really good thing for a children’s documentary. In spite of her condition, Anne is a very optimistic girl and comes over as being very positive and hopeful. In the film, we see that she makes peace with her condition; she realises that it actually makes her very special” Catherine van Campen, director


We are boys

2009 / 16 min Director Tomas Kaan Producers: 100% Halal / VPRO World Sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: VPRO Sales

Jim and Sam have been friends since a very young age and are now inseparable: life without a friend is just boring. But after the summer vacation, Jim will be going to high school. Sam thinks that they will stay friends forever, but Jim is not entirely convinced. They show us how they spend their days in and around the house over the course of a beautiful summer in their charmingly situated village.

I'm never afraid!

2010 / 19 min Director: Willem Baptist Producers: Kaliber Film / VPRO World Sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: VPRO Sales

Eight-year-old Mack's room is filled with all his motocross trophies. At the age of three, he won his first prize. From that moment on, he was as big a motocross fan. But is he scared? No way. Mack has been in worse predicaments than this before: he was born with a congenital heart condition and things looked really bad for him. But Mack is a tough guy who finds inspiration with his grandfather who has passed away but tells him secrets in his ear.

Living in 2 houses: Julia / Renee

2010 / 16 min Director: Frans Bromet Producer: Bromet & dochters / NCRV World Sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: Bromet & Dochters

Ever since her parents divorced some time ago, 11-year-old RenĂŠe has lived in two different houses. She takes turns between her mother Niekie and her father Eric, who lives with his new wife and their oneyear-old son. RenĂŠe has her own room in each house, but has to obey two different sets of rules. Is it hard to constantly be shuttling back and forth? Does she like her father's new wife?


Laura & Anne 4-Ever

2008 / 23 min Director: Susan Koenen Producer: KRO/RKK World Sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: NPO Sales

Laura is 14 years old and her best friend Anne died six months ago of leukaemia. After she was diagnosed with cancer, Anne came up with the idea of a documentary about her and her friend Laura. She was convinced she would recover and wanted other sick children to draw strength from her story, but she didn't end up making it. Now, Laura explains what Anne meant to her and what she continues to mean.

Pets in pots

2008 / 15 min Director: Simonka de Jong Producer: Pieter van Huystee Film&TV / OHM World Sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: NPO Sales

Marth is a 13 year-old-girl who has a great fascination for animals, whether alive or dead. In her bedroom she is keeping her dead animals in pots with 100% formaldehyde. Marth strongly believes that only animals understand her. She has lost her faith in people three years ago, when her parents diverced. But now puberty is coming along and Marth is longing for a friend who will understand her.

Raw (series; Surviving in the Netherlands)

2005 / 25 min Director: Anneloek Sollart Producer: VPRO World Sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: VPRO Sales

In a world of chips, French fries and CocaCola, Tom is only allowed to eat carrots, apples and nuts. His mother is a confirmed believer in the Raw Food Diet. This diet requires all food to be eaten as nature intended it – not fried, cooked or heated in any way. This means that Tom can’t eat bread, meat, fish or dairy products. His mother is convinced that eating raw is healthier.


How Nikita got herself a Horse Nikita 13-year-old, tells us everything: she likes acting, loves to sing and wants to become a veterinarian. She talks about why she has a bellybutton piercing, what she thinks about life after death and how much she loves her mother and grandmother. But also about being bullied in primary school. At school one day a boy threw a pen in Nikita’s face and unfortunately it went straight into her eye. She was rushed to hospital for treatment, but once there she refused to have an anaesthetic.

“I do have the feeling this is my most successful film. Not so much because of audience sizes or awards, but more because I often hear that people have seen it and I’ve had so many positive reactions. And the film has done Nikita a lot of good too. That’s also part of the ‘success’. As a maker, you have a lot of responsibility in terms of how you portray your subject. How you visually present that personal story, which initially

Her mother became frantic at this point and promised her that she could have anything her heart desired. Obviously, that was an opportunity that Nikita wouldn’t let slip by and asked for a horse. The animal marked a change in Nikita's life, who worked miracles with the beautiful black stallion. 2006 / 24 min Director: Anneke de Lind van Wijngaarden Producer Doña Anna Productions / VPRO World Sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: VPRO Sales

is only told to you. It’s a very delicate thing. With Nikita, it worked out well because she really comes out of the film as a hero. You just have to love her when you see the film. And I think Nikita sensed that. The film really gave her a good push in the right direction.” Anneke de Lind van Wijngaarden, director


Ayla, the tsunami girl

2005 / 15 min Director: Wilma Ligthart Producer: Lemming Film / VPRO World Sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: VPRO Sales

During the Christmas holidays, the Dutch girl Ayla and her family were staying in a seaside hotel in Sri Lanka when the tsunami of 2004 hit the coast. The massive tidal wave dragged her under and she almost drowned, but a fruit vendor pulled her out of the water. Once she is safely back at home, Ayla calmly tells her story, but we realise that she is still dealing with the trauma on a daily basis.

The Bus (series: Surviving in the Netherlands)

2005 / 29 min Director: Katinka de Maar Producer: VPRO World Sales: VPRO Sales Festival contact: VPRO Sales

Henk, Jeremy, Abdel-Aziz, Serginio en Oumaina have to travel to school with a special bus for hours every day. They don’t always like it, because the children are very different from one another and are not that nice to each other. Their only common bond is that they have individual learning disabilities and therefore have to go to a special school. The film is an episode of a five-part series about children who have to adjust to unusual situations.

Naked - Sweat (Series: Naked)

2006 / 6 x 25 min Director: Mischa Kamp Producer: Submarine / VPRO World Sales: Submarine Festival contact: VPRO Sales

When Tom found out that he sweated far more than his classmates, he started to feel embarrassed. Then he went to a doctor who told him that sweating is actually very healthy. Now, he showers more often and uses deodorant. Naked is a six part series about the changes children's bodies are going through. The documentary footage has been playfully animated with a computer, ensuring their anonymity.



2004 / 16 min Director: Annelies Kruk Producer: NCRV World Sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: NPO Sales

Nima is a Somali teenager, who has lived in a centre for refugees for 5 years now. She came to the Netherlands due to the war in her country and hopes she can stay here for good. Here in Hollans she is having fun with her friends and she attends school. Every day, she asks the janitor about the mail, hoping to receive the letter that will give both her and her mother a permanent residence permit.

My father lives in Venezuela (Series: And Rightly So!)

2003 / 25 min Director: René Roelofs Producer: Lemming Film / VPRO World Sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: VPRO Sales

Roxana’s father has been in prison in Venezuela for two years after being arrested for drug smuggling. She speaks about how she kept in contact with him and how much she has missed him. According to article 9 from the UN Convention, a child cannot be separated from its parents. This film is one of the nine-part documentary series for children inspired by The Rights of the Child.

Laura is my father (Series: Unexpected Blow)

2003 / 15 min Director: Juul Bovenberg Producer: Lemming Film / IKON World Sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: NPO Sales

Alisa’s father told her that he wanted to be a woman. Alisa approved and they agreed about a name. She also helped him change the pitch of his voice. But her friends at school and the people in the village don't know what to think of it. The film is an episode from the ten-part documentary series in which children talk about a big change in their lives and how they cope with it.


Girls Girls is a short documentary in which three boys (aged 14 and 15) talk about what they understand least and what fascinates them most: girls. Since they’ve become adolescents they’ve been thinking more and more about sex. It started out slowly, but gradually got stronger. Now it’s part of everyday life and all they do is look at breasts, bottoms and gorgeous women.The three boys have been friends since first grade. Sex and girls are their fa-

“For me, GIRLs was it. I was fascinated by everything; the boys, what they thought, what they went through. That film was really about what I loved in life. And I still feel the energy and craziness whenever I see it. Pushing your boundaries, which I was able to do back then. I wanted to present a kind of subculture with a lot of music, with bits in between with nice images and home videos. We used the world of MTV, together with the home videos, to show the kind of fantasy

vourite topic of conversation. But even the best of friends have secrets. What Kelvin and Vijay don’t know about each other is that they are both still virgins. Their words are illustrated by pumping beats, clips, and images of girls of their age. 2003 / color, video, 25 min Director: Menna Laura Meijer Producer: IKON World Sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: NPO Sales

world of these boys. For me, it was also a statement, to make a film with almost exclusively dark-skinned people in it but not being problematized. Just being boys. The way in which the film opened up their world was energetic and new and had a lot of humour and intimacy. After the success of that film, I wasn’t afraid of anything anymore. I felt I had found my voice.” Menna Laura Meijer, director


The day I decided to be Nina

2000 / 15 min Director: Ingeborg Jansen Producer: Lemming Film / VPRO World Sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: VPRO Sales

The eleven-year-old Guido was born as a boy, but feels like a girl. As long as Guido can remember, he has played with girl’s toys and wanted to wear dresses. When Guido, who calls himself Nina now, goes to a friend’s birthday party in girl’s clothes, nobody really thinks he looks stupid. The film is an episode from the nine-part documentary series ‘The day I decided’ in which nine directors each portray a child who made a decision.


2000 / 20 min Director Boudewijn Koole Producer: VPRO World Sales: VPRO Sales Festival contact: VPRO Sales

Tommie Kerstens’ father Huub has passed away. Tommie used to live on a houseboat with him, his brother and mother, but now the boat will soon be sold. His father was a composer and Tommie discovers a string quartet that Huub composed before his birth. ‘For Tommie,’ it says. It has probably never been performed. Thanks to a cello player and friend, Tommie hears it for the first time.

Search for Loedertje

2001 / 16 min Director: Juul Bovenberg Producer: NCRV World Sales: NPO Sales Festival contact: NPO Sales

Willemijns whole neighbourhood was wiped out by a firework explosion. She lost her house and all her things, but most importantly she lost her cat Loedertje. She gets permission to go back through the gates that now surround the area to look for him. Wrapped up in white protective clothing, she walks among the heaps of rubble and debris. She stands on the bare remains of her house and explains where everything used to be.

38 colofon

‘The Dutch Touch. Children’s documentaries from the Netherlands’ is a publication of Eye International and NPO Sales. Editor: Esther Schmidt Thanks to The interviewed experts, Meike Statema, Monique Ruinen, Anna Pedroli, Claudia Landsberger, Kaisa Kriek. Graphic design: Jannemieke Oostra Print: Eco Drukkers Edition: 2500

Publisher Eye International & NPO Sales Contact: Eye International Ph +31 20 758 2375 international@eyefilm.nl www.international.eyefilm.nl NPO Sales PO BOX 26444, 1202 JJ Hilversum The Netherlands Ph + 31 35 677 3760 info@nposales.com www.nposales.com

© Eye International & NPO Sales (2012) Copyright: All photographs is the copyright property of the producers of the concerning films. Besides the filmcredits, all texts are written by Esther Schmidt; all rights reserved.

Profile for eye international

The Dutch Touch: Children'd Documentaries from the Netherlands  

Children's Documentaries from the Netherlands

The Dutch Touch: Children'd Documentaries from the Netherlands  

Children's Documentaries from the Netherlands