Zoeken nl

FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency 2021 online presentations

This year FilmForward organized the second edition of the Vrijplaats. De Vrijplaats is a three-month residency for film and AV professionals that offers free work and thinking space to work on a research question that does not fit within the existing development trajectories. The theme of the FilmForward Vrijplaats 2021 is Positionality.

In recent months, ten participants have worked together with mentors and experts on their own research and on deepening and improving their makership within a joint program. By collaborating with professionals from other disciplines, they have been able to innovate their production process.

On Wednesday 15 December 2021, the participants will present their work during the FilmForward Vrijplaats 2021 online presentations.
Do you want to be here? Please contact us at info@filmforward.nl


Four Journeys by Louis Hothothot opens IDFA 2021

On November 17, the Dutch film Four Journeys by FilmForward Vrijplaats participant Louis Hothothot (Louis Yi Liu) opens the 34th edition of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.

Four Journeys is a personal film about the destructive influence of the one-child policy introduced in 1979 on a Chinese family. Filmmaker Louis Hothothot (Louis Yi Liu) was born in 1986 as an illegal second child. As punishment, his parents were fined three times his father’s annual salary, who also saw his further career shrouded. The devastating effects of his birth on his family left Louis with a biting sense of guilt. In his twenties he left for Amsterdam. Five years after he last saw his parents and sister, he visits them to unravel the family history.

Using the camera as a sometimes intimidating weapon, Louis forces his parents to confront their traumatic past, a past in which another undisclosed drama has occurred. He does not spare his parents. With confrontational questions and remarks, he wants to pull them out of the grueling past. Painful, but necessary, because: “If memories are frozen in the past, what can dissolve the pain?”


Launching new network Screen Talent NL

The new network organization Screen Talen NL was launched during the Professionals Conference of the Netherlands Film Festival on 28 September. Screen Talent NL is a new network of regional talent and production hubs that focuses on the interregional coordination, development and cooperation between the regional talent and production initiatives spread across the country.

In addition to setting up and strengthening regional film infrastructures, this will sustainably strengthen the Netherlands as a film country. The network assumes equal access for film talent from all over the Netherlands to create a more diverse, inclusive and opportunity-level playing field, where talent in all disciplines can develop and grow and where stories and makers from all over the country are given equal opportunities.

As part of the investment agenda from the entire Dutch production sector, an investment of €6 million is requested from national politicians for this nationally spread infrastructure for talent development. In addition to strengthening the regional hubs, specific investments are made in talent activities and (production) processes.

The founding partners of Screen Talen NL are CineSud, Limburg Film Office, New Noardic Wave, Screen Noord, We Are Playgrounds (Brabant), MACA (Noord-Holland) and Machinerie (Utrecht), supported by FilmForward. In the coming years, Screen Talent NL will be working on expanding the network and wants to set up a strong infrastructure in every province by investing specifically in nodes, talent and (talent) productions.


Makers of color crew: an update

Sabrina Sugiarto, manager diversity and inclusion at FilmForward, is currently working on creating an overview of filmmakers and crew members of color and their needs.

At this moment Sabrina spoke to more than 60 makers and crew members. The talks Sabrina had with them made clear that there is a need to be more visible and to expand one’s network with both other filmmakers of color and established film organizations. Another important find is that there is a need for continuous development.

As a follow up to this research, FilmForward will provide support by organizing masterclasses. In these masterclasses knowledge transfer about diverse subjects will take place between the participants and inspirational film professionals.

Find out more about Sabrina’s research here.


Now online: the AV-Agenda

This week the AV-Agenda was launched, the place where all events for the audiovisual sector are announced.
AV-Agenda.nl is an initiative of the Netherlands Film Festival (NFF), Netherlands Professional Association of Film and Television Makers (NBF) and FilmForward and is added and supplemented in collaboration with the many branch organizations and trade associations, so that one total overview is created of all events.

Take a look at the AV-Agenda nd register your event!

If you have good intention, it doesn’t say that you are also doing the right thing

How do you cast color blind? When does cultural appropriation occur? Questions that were addressed during the second edition of the Multi-voice Storytelling workshop. Writers, directors and other industry professionals examined their positionality. The participants of the Multiple Voices -Inclusivity in Storytelling workshop agree on one thing: there are no unambiguous answers to these questions. But afterwards they unanimously concluded: they are now better able to start a conversation about diversity and inclusivity.

By Mina Etemad
Photo: Almicheal Fraay

During the workshop, led by Winnie Roseval, the participants discussed their own cases and talked to the makers Anu Henriques and Hannah Price of the feature film Rocks and Eché Janga and Esther Duysker of the feature film Buladó. In both films, extensive thought was given to diversity and inclusivity during the making process. Participant in the workshop Tessel Jonkers found it valuable to hear what the directors or writers of these films encountered. For example, Eché Janga talked about his doubts about whether he should make a film about Curaçao. His father is from there, but he himself did not grow up there. Eventually he was embraced by the locals when they discovered that he wanted to make a film about the real Curaçao.

Forced diversity
The second day started with a check-in, led by workshop leader Winnie Roseval, diversity & inclusion consultant and researcher at the Inclusive Education research group at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. Tessel Jonkers noticed that the group was very diverse in terms of age, perspectives and fields of work. ‘There were directors among them, but also screenwriters and producers like me. During the check-in we all told something about our personal background and why we participated. Some people had violent stories, but it felt like a safe environment. That was thanks to Winnie: she listened well, allowed us to be open and honest and if we disagreed with something, we could always discuss it.”

Tessel Jonkers graduated from the Film Academy in 2019 and has submitted several funding applications for various films in recent years. What she sometimes finds difficult is that when an application is made, questions about diversity are sometimes forced. ‘I think it is super important that we show a representative image of society in films, but with such an application it can feel as if check marks have to be completed. Is there a woman in the cast? check. Anyone of color? check. Recently, we replaced the sound man with a sound woman for a request, because otherwise there would be too many men in the crew. That felt artificial.”
Some participants recognized her frustration, but because of them, Jonkers also views this issue differently: ‘Through our conversations, I realized that we may now be in an interim period in which we have to enforce diversity. But the longer we work on this, the more obvious it will become.”

Good intentions
Director Pim van Hoeve has also encountered difficult situations. “During the casting of my films, I tried to be more inclusive, initially in terms of color. But I ran into things, for example with the film The pirates from next door.” In the books on which the film is based, the pirate family is white, but Van Hoeve wanted to present a more representative image. “During the casting, we also asked the actors to try out accents. I asked a black actress if she could put on a Surinamese accent, but she preferred not to. She explained that the pirate woman in the scene she played came across as stupid, rude and lazy. If she spoke with a Surinamese accent, she would contribute to stereotyping. That was the last thing I wanted!”

Her remark made Van Hoeve think and in the end he chose not to use the accent. He noticed how valuable such a conversation can be and the workshop only confirmed that conclusion. His view has been changed by everything they have discussed in those three days and now when he is confronted with such matters again he will be even more open to sensitivities, dare to be vulnerable and enter into dialogue. “I am more aware of the mistakes I can make.”
Multiple Voices -Inclusivity in Storytelling has made him aware of his positionality, a concept discussed in the workshop that denotes a way to explore from which position you tell stories. “If I, as a white maker, have good intentions, it does not mean that I do the right thing,'”Van Hoeve now knows. “To do the right thing, I have to listen to others and make the connection.”

He therefore took inspiration from the workshop for a sequel to The Pirates from Next Door, in which ninjas also come into play, and discussed the interpretation of the roles with several advisors and Asian people: could they be white actresses? Or did they have to be people of Japanese descent or people with roots from another Asian country? “If we chose white actors, we would be whitewashing, we didn’t want that. But casting only Asian people could mean falling into stereotypes. In the end we chose a Korean-Dutch actress, because we thought it was important that all Asian children could identify with her. But how we can ensure that we do not fall into racist stereotypes remains an ongoing conversation.”

Changing the curriculum
Tessel Jonkers also found the dialogues they had during the workshop very valuable and now has concrete goals in mind. “I would prefer to bring this workshop to the Film Academy, so that students can already come into contact with it.”
She has even more ideas for changing the curriculum at the academy, inspired by her own graduation project. For the film Porfotto, which is about three boys growing up in the culturally diverse district of Spangen in Rotterdam, Jonkers, together with the director and her co-producers, decided to link an educational program to their project. They visited secondary schools in Rotterdam and told the students that they too can become a filmmaker. “Many young people did not know that the Film Academy existed and that it was accessible to them. Now we have planted the seed and some may opt for the training. In this way the Film Academy can also become more inclusive, because when I studied there it was very white.”
Jonkers’ fellow students thought it was a great initiative and asked if she no longer wanted to participate. “Now I am developing a plan with various directors and producers, which we want to start together with the Film Academy. We are looking into how we can encourage more students to set up such an educational program to reach young people from all kinds of population groups and to make them enthusiastic about filmmaking.”


Watch the recap of the workshop below:

Owning the Plan

A new workshop will start on November 22th, 2021, for lineproducers, first AD’s and budgetcontrollers that want to push their skills and knowledge to an international level. ‘Owning The Plan’ is organized together with Production Value, with support of The Netherlands Film Fund and CFAP.
At this moment two spots are open: one for a First AD and one for a Line Producer. Make sure to register before September 16th.
Read more


Photo: Almicheal Fraay

Apply for FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency 2021

Are you a working professional in film and audiovisual media? Do you draw storyboards, or write scripts, compose film scores, develop games, play characters, or direct films, video clips or commercials? And have you participated in productions that have had a public screening or presentation? Then the FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency is for you!

The FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency is a three-month residency in which you, as a working professional, are given free space to work and think to conduct research that does not fit within existing development processes.

The FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency consists of joint weekly meetings and an individual process under the guidance of a mentor. The participants can also nominate speakers for the common sessions.

In addition to conducting your own research, the FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency participants will also work on the theme “Positionality”. Through joint seminars and masterclasses we get to know the meaning of positionality by identifying (birth) positions, which are always the outcome of a modern and historical, colonial context, and by researching and (learning to) understand the inseparable relational aspect of positionality determined by your values, world view, and your context in time and space.

Selected participants receive a one-time stipend to cover part of the living expenses.

Data: 22 September till 18 December 2021
Location: Online and on location in Amsterdam
Deadline for application: 12 June 2021

You want to learn more about  FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency 2021? Read more here.

Generation Inclusion is looking for storytellers

Generation Inclusion is a new talent development trajectory to make the media landscape more inclusive. To give a new generation of makers plenty of scope and make their voices heard, the sector has joined forces for Generation Inclusion, led by the production house and talent developer ROSE stories and in collaboration with FilmForward, various streamers, broadcasters, and the Film Fund.
Generation Inclusion believes in the power of an inclusive media landscape. A landscape in which everyone recognizes themselves in the stories told, in series and films. In which anyone can be a filmmaker, regardless of your origin, education, or experience. Are you a storyteller, songwriter, actor, theater maker, writer, advertiser, or any other creative talent with a fantastic idea for a movie or series but you simply don’t know where to start telling your story? Then sign up for Generation Inclusion.



Survey visibility working professionals of color

The audiovisual sector must be more diverse and inclusive! But how? The industry says: we can’t find the makers of color. That must come to an end once and for all. FilmForward is looking for individual makers and networks of color. What are your wishes, ideas and needs? How can we strengthen your creatorship? Filmmaker and screenwriter Sabrina Sugiarto takes the lead.

In order not to ignore the different needs of colored makers, we want to develop a sustainable plan with their feedback that will increase the visibility of this group and make the sector more inclusive. If you are a ‘working professional’ of color and you have at least five years of work experience, Sabrina would like to get in touch with you. Send an email to sabrina@filmforward.nl.

Monday March, 15 – online information session ‘Working in times of corona’ 

On Monday 15 March from 3:00 – 4:30 pm, FilmForward organized, in collaboration with the COVID-19 protocol working group, producer associations NAPA and NCP, and the DAFF, an online information session about working in times of corona and the COVID-19 protocol.

The online program covers various topics related to the protocol and different professionals share their experiences.

The programme can be viewed here.


Make room for other perspectives

One of the first workshops that FilmForward organized at the request of the film industry, formulated questions on diversity and inclusion in the industry and the stories we tell. The participants examined their own “positionality” and cleaned up the lens through which they look at the world.

Diversity and inclusion are currently hot topics in the film and media landscape. De Aanjager Kleur shook up the Dutch film industry this summer: we are hopelessly slow when it comes to diversity and inclusion. In order to provide the Dutch film and audiovisual industry with tools  to work more inclusive and diverse, both in front of and behind the camera, FilmForward organized the workshop Multiple Voices – Inclusivity in Storytelling with various partners.

In the run-up to the Dutch Film Festival, journalist Hadassah de Boer also held five roundtable discussions with various makers in collaboration with Kleur to make the diversity of the sector visible, but also to discuss a number of pain points. The resignation of the older generation who fought this battle as many times before. And the tricky point: quota or not?

The workshop Multiple Voices – Inclusivity in Storytelling started at the end of September with a preview of the film Rocks in Eye in Amsterdam. Filmmaker Beri Shalmashi interviewed the all-female team that had been built as a collective as much as possible to allow experienced and inexperienced voices, and as many people of color from the East London area where the film is set, to speak. Rocks is an inspiring example of how it could be: togetherness instead of authorship.

After that, NFF opening film Buladó was on the program of Inclusive Storytelling, as well as the keynote that Aminata Cairo, professor of Anthropology and ambassador for diversity and inclusivity at both academic and social level held during the festival, and the conversations that Kleur herself held during the NFF Conference. had organized.

Nourished and inspired, the participants, a group of 10 people consisting of journalists and filmmakers, then went to the Vogeleiland in the Amsterdamse Bos to take up their own position for three days under the leadership of Winnie Roseval, philosopher and researcher at the Inclusive Education (HHs) lectorate. director Norbert ter Hall uses various forms of research to make his films more diverse and at the same time increase their creative richness and scope. The workshop was concluded with a stakeholder mapping and a discussion with Aminata Cairo.

The dominant story
Roseval’s motivation to lead the workshop goes back to her humanistic, personal mission: connecting people. “As soon as you have insight into your own social conditioning and your unspoken and unconscious judgments and prejudices, you can consciously work to make room for other stories.”

Roseval shared her vision with the participants by introducing herself through her own story. “What is our own story? Where has our cradle been? The living environment in which you grow up determines your “gaze” (look). It is important to map out your own “positionality” and viewing and reaction mechanisms and patterns so that you know how you relate to all other people in the world. ”

Roseval works with a step-by-step plan in its training. First, the concept of “positionality” was explained in more detail. Subsequently, the opposites “the dominant or the other”, the dominant and the other position in a story were discussed. The first term, or the dominant story, is considered the norm and is embodied by people from the dominant group: for example the white, male protagonist. The non-dominant group is the opposite: for example, women, people from a lower social class, people with a migrant background, or LGBTIQ +. The participants then investigated their own implicit prejudices and whether they inhibit their work. Finally, they had to use keywords to structurally map their projects with the concluding question: “what do you want to have the courage for in the coming period?”

Participant and documentary maker Sacha Vermeulen: “Winnie is a skilled teacher who created a pleasant and safe environment to approach the subjects honestly and openly with the other participants and exchange ideas. It was a rediscovery of yourself: “I hadn’t looked at things like that yet”, or: “Maybe I should have fought harder for this” and: “This is what I stand for”. I wondered “What do I really stand for?” And: “Who am I as a maker?” I wanted to clarify this for myself and the training provided very good guidance. ”

As a filmmaker, Norbert ter Hall also recognizes his responsibility: “Fiction does not have to be reality, but I am convinced that much underrepresentation is the result of ignorance rather than a conscious choice. By entering into dialogue with the makers of the future, I hope to help increase that awareness. Especially with myself. ” Ter Hall states: “Every person wants to see and be seen. The stories we tell each other in series and films are the result of that need. As makers, we have the power to determine what we see of the world around us. Power, as always, comes with responsibility. If there are groups that are systematically under-represented, it is largely our fault.”

In a Zoom presentation, the filmmaker showed a case study about his series A’DAM-E.V.A. seeing, for example, how the demographics of the place where your story is set can make you aware of your own ignorance. And how that research can inspire you and strengthen your story. In Amsterdam, about 35 percent of the inhabitants have a non-Northern European background, more than 16 percent are homosexual and 12 percent have a moderate or severe physical disability. How do those percentages relate to the story you want to tell? ”

Ter Hall then talked to writer and social geographer Floor Milikowski (Who owns the city; A small country with faraway corners) and urban planner Wouter Pocornie. Ter Hall: “Milikowski described how city and countryside continue to grow apart and what that means for the people who live there, while Pocornie enthusiastically elaborated on the impact that the things we make have on people, and that makers therefore carefully that power should go. ” Participant Sacha Vermeulen: “It was nice to hear the personal story of an experienced filmmaker, and it was also instructive to see through the case study how a maker puts diversity into practice both in the script and in the performance.”

Intrinsic motivation
Participant Charlotte Scott-Wilson, director and screenwriter, indicates that the right questions were asked in the workshop. “It went back to basics:” Why are you telling something? ” From the conversation that journalist filmmaker and programmer Tessa Boerman had following the screening of Buladó with screenwriter Esther Duysker and director Eché Janga, a valuable lesson remains: “Your intrinsic motivation to tell a story really has to be right.”

Charlotte Scott-Wilson is developing a feature film based on her Scottish-Burmese family about her sister’s journey to Islam. The story is told from a Western perspective and one of the lenders questioned this. Scott-Wilson: “I went to the workshop to find answers to this. “Do I have to do this?”, “Do I really have to tell the story from the Islamic side, and what it is like for them to suddenly get a Western family there?” In the workshop she was able to see the value in her story through conversations with the other participants about the dominant and non-dominant story structure.

The future
The workshop gave participants the tools to work on inclusive storytelling forms in their projects. It is a step forward towards more inclusive forms of imagining and diverse and idiosyncratic stories from talented media makers. In order to break through any bias and constantly question their horizons, they must dare to proactively question their own position in the world.

The practical tips from the four-day workshop stayed with Charlotte Scott-Wilson the most: “How you as a creator should be alert when creating your story, and keep an eye on your intrinsic motivation to believe that your story is also valuable.” Sacha Vermeulen: “There was an underlying urgency that things had to be changed, and how you as a maker relate to it. Entering into a dialogue with other makers was an important part of what I hoped there would be room for in the workshop, and there was. ”

By: Giselle Defares
Foto: Anas Khatib

The New Wilderness

A table with a garden on it. In other words: a huge table with a mini garden on it. It is located in the middle of one of the studios at the Posta Sound for Picture in Amsterdam, which has been the home base of the FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency for about a month. That table is huge because 10 people must be able to sit and work at a distance of 1.5 meters from each other. But even on such a large table, the landscape that Art Director Arne Leddy has planted on it this summer still looks small. This is due to all the mini trees that grow there. From our human perspective, and certainly in relation to those widely spaced chairs, something is wrong.

The FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency is one of the activities that FilmForward is allowed to carry out in its pilot phase this year. In the past, Binger and the Sandberg @ Mediapark – Masterclass were for media makers. And if there was one thing that all working professionals in the field of film and audiovisual media needed, it was room to work undisturbed on a research question for a while. Questions to deepen their own professional practice, or research where within the existing processes, which often have a production as their ultimate goal, there are no longer any possibilities. A residency, or studio, as it is so beautifully called with foreign examples. But then supplemented with seminars, inspiration sessions, and intervision rounds to also learn with and from each other.

To give the wonderful group of filmmakers, multimedia artists, sound researchers, actors, storyboarders and photographers, theater makers who co-curated Rogier Klomp and I could select from nearly 80 applications this summer, not only a place to conduct that research, but also a landscape to get lost and come back full of new ideas, we were inspired by the short film Goodbye Uncanny Valley by the British multimedia artist Alan Warburton. Warburton shows what the film and media landscape is like as more and more productions rely on digital tools to embellish their realities. The world of realism and CGI are growing closer and closer together. But: “goodbye uncanny valley” he says. What could the “new wilderness” look like? The no man’s land that arises and exists at the boundaries of the prevailing aesthetic standards?

During the FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency we take these questions with us, whether we are taking a city walk through the Houthavens, wondering what it sounds like on the seabed or what artificial intelligence thinks. While our thoughts proliferate and produce the most fantastic growths, those plants on the table are not doing so well. Due to travel restrictions, we are less in that Garden of Eden than we would like. The new wilderness is quite digital right now. We are all curious what that untamed nature will do on the table if we look a little less at it. Some Lego figures have recently been spotted.

Dana Linssen
Foto: Anas Khatib

New workshops coming up….

Post-Production Workshop
The Post-Production Workshop will start in January 2020 on the technical, financial and creative aspects of post-production and the challenges of the international co-production environment. This workshop is organized by APostLab and CineSud with support from the Netherlands Film Fund and Creative Europe. read more

Owning The Plan
In March 2021 a workshop will start for line producers, first ADs and budget controllers who want to take their knowledge and skills to an international level. ‘Owning The Plan’ is organized with We Are Playgrounds and Production Value, with support from the Netherlands Film Fund and CFAP. read more

Foto: Almicheal Fraay


Sign up for our newsletter: