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NFF Extended: Een veilige av-sector

Grensoverschrijdend gedrag is een van de meest urgente onderwerpen in de Nederlandse av-sector. Van pesterijen tot discriminatie, intimidatie en ongewenste toespelingen. Wat is de structuur die daaraan ten grondslag ligt en hoe gaan we die veranderen? Hoe pakken we dat probleem aan op kantoor, op de set en tijdens industriegelegenheden?

Kom op woensdagmiddag 30 november naar ‘NFF Extended – Een veilige av-sector’. Met deze bijeenkomst wordt de stap van praten naar handelen gezet, een bijeenkomst waar de focus ligt op de praktijk. Aan de hand van casussen wordt besproken wat je als medewerker of zzp’er, instelling of beleidsmaker kan doen in het geval van grensoverschrijdend gedrag.

De bijeenkomst is een samenwerking met het Nederlands Film Festival, Mores Online, FilmForward,  producentenverenigingen NAPA en NCP, Eye Filmmuseum, Vrouwen in Beeld en DAFF.

Lees hier meer over de sprekers en bestel een gratis kaartje.

Lancering Het Beloofde Land

Tijdens het Noordelijk Film Festival werd op 12 november j.l. Het Beloofde Land gelanceerd, een ontwikkel- en productietraject voor filmmakers uit de verschillende regio’s in Nederland.

Deze eerste (pilot)editie is voor makers en/of verhalen die geworteld zijn in de regio’s Limburg, Noord-Brabant, Drenthe-Friesland-Groningen. Je kan ideeën indienen voor korte en mid-length fictie producties en (aspirant)producenten uit de regio’s Limburg, Noord-Brabant en Drenthe-Friesland-Groningen kunnen zich aanmelden. De deadline voor inzending is 9 januari 2023.

Het Beloofde Land is een initiatief van Screen Talent NL, het netwerk van talent- en productiehubs in de Nederlandse filmsector dat zich richt op de interregionale afstemming en samenwerking tussen de (regionale) talent- en productiehubs. FilmForward is partner van Screen Talent NL.

Lees hier meer over Het Beloofde Land.

New BHV course for film and AV-industry

Who in your organization and/or on the set is responsible for ER (emergency response)? Are there enough people with an official certificate for Emergency Response Officer? Are you participating, or do you know someone who needs an certificate? Or do you want to do a refresher course? On Monday evening January 23, FilmForward is organizing another emergency response course for professionals in the film & AV industry in MACA at the NDSM wharf.

Date: Monday 23 January 
Time: 18.00 – 21.30
Location: MACA at the NDSM werf (Amsterdam Noord)

Costs: Course  (course + extra e-learning) €142,50 excl BTW / Refresh course (granting your current certificate): €95,- excl BTW.

You can register before January 9th through this link.

Train-Up: tool for skills- and talentdevelopment programs

FilmForward has launched a new tool for skills and talent development programs: Train-Up.
TrainUp is a database for AV professionals who are looking for a workshop, training or masterclass. The tool offers an overview of one-off masterclasses, talks and lectures as well as multi-day training courses and long-term talent development processes. TrainUp also contains an overview of available grants for skills and talent development.
As Train-Up is a developing database and dependent on industry response, feedback and suggestions for content are most welcome!

Mirella Muroni about the Vrijplaats Residency

Mirella Muroni took part in the Vrijplaats Residency 2021 – Positionality. Sabrina Sugiarto interviewed her about her experiences during the Vrijplaats and her new project ‘Attestation de Vita’, for which she has entered into a collaboration with Vrijplaats Residency participant Daniel Jacoby.

Can you tell us something about your experience during the Vrijplaats Residency?
The Vrijplaats Residency struck a special chord with me. The workshops, lectures and coaching sessions offered were given by people of color. I first experienced education from a black female perspective. That was new to me. Because the lessons that I have followed in addition to my practice in the film sector are all workshops from a white perspective. As a result, the Vrijplaats Residency was very pleasant and satisfying and very comforting. I felt I was understood.

What made the most impact on you as a maker?
What made a big impact was Winnie Roseval’s Positionality program. That touched me so much that a door opened in me. This brought me to the invisibility that I felt as a maker. Through the collaboration with other Vrijplaats Residency participants, who make more abstract work, I came into contact with my abstract voice again. A voice that I let go of for a while, because the film industry is less open to it. But it is something I really enjoy doing. And that was the beginning where I thought; I also have an abstract voice and I need to start using it more.

What did you do with that rediscovered voice during the Vrijplaats Residency?
I have started a project called ‘Attestation de Vita’. It is a series of 10 short films in which I work with archive material with women of color as the subject. Because there is little or no archive material in which these women appear, I want to add moving images to the existing archive with these films. For this project I entered into a collaboration with a participant of the Vrijplaats; Daniel Jacoby. Daniel works as an editor on this project. When I saw his work I immediately felt a match of recognition. He has an abstract way of telling and the structure of his stories contains mystery and humor. That’s who I am; mystery and humor.

Where can we see your work in the future?
There is a possibility that the project will be placed with Eye on Art. This is a monthly program at Eye where visual art and film come together.

On Saturday 29 October (between 2 pm and 9 pm), Mirella Muroni is organizing a crowdfund event for the financing of ‘Attestation de Vita’. During the event, fragments from the Attestation de Vita series about the representation of black women in the Dutch moving image archive can be seen. The event takes place in De Kas (new Herengracht 18). Do you want to know more? Send an email to mirellakoops@yahoo.com.

Presentaties Vrijplaats Residency 2022 Young Perspectives

De Vrijplaats is FilmForward’s residency where film and AV makers conduct research to deepen their professional practice. This edition of the Vrijplaats has as an overarching theme Young Perspectives and is organized in collaboration with Cinekid.

During the Vrijplaats, eight idiosyncratic and talented film and AV makers did research and were inspired by joint seminars and masterclasses by various speakers and experts about innovating and making youth productions more inclusive.

On Thursday 20 October, the participants will present their work at the Cinekid Film Festival.


Watch FilmForward at the NFF Talentplein

FilmForward was present at the Talentplein during the Netherlands Film Festival last September. AV-Professionals could ask questions about talent development, trajectories and organizations and about the AV-Agenda and Train-Up and the New Producers Academy.

Take a look at the impression of this successful day here.


FilmForward at the NFF Talentplein

On Monday, September 26, FilmForward will be present at the Talentplein of the Netherlands Film Festival. The Stadsschouwburg Utrecht is being transformed into a place where new makers are a the centre. You can contact FilmForward with all your questions about talent development, processes and organizations and about the AV-Agenda and the new Train-Up website. You can also talk to organizers and participants of the Vrijplaats, the Positionality workshop, the New Producers Academy and the Plus What program of the wedowe foundation. Everyone is welcome!

New call for Generation Inclusion

Generation Inclusion, the talent program of ROSE stories, will start with a new edition this fall. Generation Inclusion is an inclusive community for the film and TV industry, which collaborates with, among others, Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video, BNNVARA, VPRO and various funds.
Generation Inclusion wants to educate a new generation of film and television makers and is looking for new voices and stories to show us how colorful the Netherlands is. The trajectory mainly focuses on creatives from under-represented groups and offers participants a six-month trajectory with training courses, masterclasses and personal guidance, and visits to network events.

Do you want to create new stories and is your heart in the TV and film world? And do you want to know more about the program? Read more on the Generation Inclusion website.

Vrijplaats Young Perspectives

During the summer the participants of the FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency worked on their own research and in September we started the joint sessions again. The final presentations will take place on Thursday 20 October during the Cinekid Festival.

In the coming period we will start with the joint DasArts feedback sessions led by Rogier Klomp. This method was developed in the DasArts master’s program of the Academy of Theater and Dance of the AHK. Rogier Klomp has adapted these for the film and audiovisual sector and the Vrijplaats trajectory.

Read more his method.

Shape your network

On Wednesday, July 6, FilmForward organized a meeting on the NDSM site for everyone who has been involved in the fundament of FilmForward and the partners with whom we have worked closely since then.
The afternoon was devoted to the different ways there are to shape network organizations, with inspiring presentations by, among others, Farid Tabarki, Playgrounds, Generation Inclusion and LOADS. New director Marit van den Elshout was also introduced and an update was given on the latest developments and plans of FilmForward.

Would you like to know more about FilmForward and network organizations? Please contact us!

Kick off New Producers Academy class of ‘22

Five participants recently started the fellowship program of the new training program New Producers Academy in Rotterdam. Mirwais Sarwary, Emilia Lantink, Nizar El Manouzi, Madhiha Duynhouwer and Yordi Werkzam, led by a team of coaches, will focus on developing their professional and personal leadership skills through tutoring, master classes and guest lectures. The connecting factor is their drive to change the Dutch film industry for good with stories that have never been told before. The coaches include Shenin Lebrun, Winnie Roseval and Yke Ntoane.

Check out the New Producers Academy website to find out more.

Marit van den Elshout new director FilmForward

Marit van den Elshout has been appointed as the new director by the Board of FilmForward. As of September 1, 2022, she will take over the tasks of quartermasters Dana Linssen and Joost de Vries. With her national and international network and innovative vision on talent development, she will determine the further course of the new network institution and center of expertise for talent development in the Dutch film and AV sector.

Marit van den Elshout is currently head of studies at the New Producers Academy, the newly established training program for producers with diverse backgrounds in Rotterdam. Marit will remain involved with the NPA until September to help shape the program and after that she will continue to offer her network and knowledge to the NPA Fellows from FilmForward.

From 2006 to the beginning of this year, Marit was head of the IFFR Pro department of the International Film Festival Rotterdam and was a member of various selection committees, including those of the Rotterdam Media Fund and the Netherlands Film Fund. She attended the EAVE Producer’s Workshop in 2009, has served on several project market juries and is a member of the European Film Academy.

FilmForward is a network institution and center of expertise for talent development in the Dutch film and AV sector. The organization started in 2020 as a sector-wide initiative to create a crossroads for the film and audiovisual industry in the Netherlands where all initiatives in the field of talent and skills development can come together. FilmForward focuses on the sustainable development of knowledge and skills for all professionally working makers in the film and audiovisual sector, with a focus on innovation, diversity and inclusion. There is close collaboration with the funds, festivals, professional training courses, professional and industry associations, broadcasters and streaming services and with Eye Filmmuseum. FilmForward is also part of the Screen Talent NL network for talent in the region.

Over the past two years, quartermasters Dana Linssen and Joost de Vries have set Filmforward on track, developing a substantive program of activities together with the board and the stakeholders, shaping the structure of the organization, including the development of a governance model and a have drawn up a strategic policy plan. Marit van den Elshout will take over the work of the two quartermasters from September.

Marit van den Elshout: “The Dutch film and television industry is on the move. There are challenges, but certainly so many opportunities to further professionalize it and make it more diverse and inclusive. FilmForward plays an important connecting role between all the great initiatives. that are already there at the moment and will try to fill in what is still missing. I consider it an honor and challenge to build on what Dana Linssen, Joost de Vries and the current FilmForward team have achieved over the past two years. To put together a permanent and diverse team that will turn FilmForward into a fully-fledged knowledge center that contributes to the further development of film and television talent in the Netherlands at all levels and thus to the future of the Dutch AV industry.”

Ernestine Comvalius, chairman of the board: “We are impressed by the clear way in which Marit has outlined in our discussions the steps that must now be taken to grow from the pilot phase of FilmForward into the network institution that can contribute to a more innovative, inclusive and diverse way of developing talent for all working professionals in film and audiovisual media in the Netherlands.”

Dana Linssen and Joost de Vries, quartermasters: “We know Marit as a passionate networker who listens carefully to what is going on in the sector. Her international experience will certainly contribute to raising talent development in the Netherlands to a higher level.”

Participants Vrijplaats Young Perspectives announced

The selection of the participants of FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency 2022 has been announced. Eight working professionals are selected  to get started with their research question. The participants consist of a mix of screenwriters, video artists and program makers with a diversity of experiences and backgrounds.

During the FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency – Young Perspectives they all focus on their own subject with a focus on cinematic and audiovisual productions for children from 3 to 14 years old. They also discuss current themes that play a role in the children’s film landscape: how do youth productions find their way on the multitude of new platforms? How do you tell human stories in digital worlds and what does it mean for children to be yourself in a changing world with big questions about the environment, uncertainty and threat? The FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency will be concluded with a public presentation about the research process during Cinekid Festival 2022.

About the FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency
Cinekid and FilmForward are joining forces and this year they are organizing the FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency together with the theme ‘Young Perspectives’. The process started last week with two introduction days. This week the participants follow lectures and case studies in a seminar week. They then dive into joint inspiration sessions and are given the opportunity to conduct research that does not fit within existing development processes. The participants receive individual guidance from a mentor.
In addition to the many experts and guest speakers who visit the FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency, the participants also provide feedback on each other’s research. They can also fill in part of the program themselves with their own ideas for masterclasses and joint screenings with Q&A.
In the FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency, participants broaden their knowledge, innovate their creative process and collaborate with professionals from other disciplines to arrive at new insights. It is an open and creative space; a laboratory that contributes to the deepening and improvement of the participants in their makership and the film and audiovisual sector.

The participants of the FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency – Young Perspectives

Abhay Kumar | filmmaker and visual artist
Obtained a Masters Degree in Cinema in 2021 at the master’s program of the Film Academy. His films are shown worldwide via platforms such as Netflix and well-known film festivals such as IDFA, IFFR, Tribeca and HotDocs.
At the Vrijplaats he will explore the fluid morality and children’s perspectives in the work of Céline Sciamma and is working on a science fiction dance film.

Anne Piet Hofstede | visual artist, writer and educator
Attended the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and the Professional Artist training in the classroom. She works on analog animation films, writes children’s stories and gives poetry and stop-motion lessons to students who are learning the Dutch language.
At the Vrijplaats she wants to investigate the encounter between fantasy stories, feature film and analogue stop-motion. She wants to depict a imaginative emotional world by working according to traditional methods.

Anouk Stilkenboom | program maker
Makes programs for both the Public Broadcasting and commercial channels. During her work she focuses on socially relevant topics and resilient protagonists.
At the Vrijplaats she will study the possibilities of creating an audiovisual platform for children about loss in the broadest sense of the word.

Cheryl Asruf| actor, screenwriter, director and producer
Started screenwriting, directing and producing in 2021 after a long career as an actress. Works from her personal experience as the daughter of immigrants and brown woman in a ‘white man’s world’.
At the Vrijplaats she wants to investigate how the children’s persective from her short film Botje can be translated into a strong audiovisual concept.

Isis Cabolet | actress and filmmaker
She graduated from the Maastricht Theater Academy in 2011 and was nominated for the Debut Prize of the Netherlands Film Festival with her short film Kutleven.
At the Vrijplaats she will focus her research on the life stage of young people between childhood and puberty and the uncomfortable experiences of their changing bodies

Jeanine Cronie | screenwriter
Wrote screenplays for school programs, live-action and animated films and series. Her children’s series Evi & Co won first prize for Best Live Action TV at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival.
At the Vrijplaats she will research historical stories and perspectives to pass on to young viewers.

Justin Bentvelsen | video artist, 3D generalist, composer and model designer
In its cinematographic language, it combines the old movie magic of scale models with the modernity of VFX, telling socially relevant topics.
At the Vrijplaats Justin will do research for an experimental children’s film.

Milou Rohde | screenwriter
After her studies at the HKU, she wrote the screenplay for the film Spotless, which won the prize for best Short Film on Cinekid and a Crystal Bear at the Berlinale.
At the Vrijplaats she wants to investigate how social media can be used by writing a separate storyline in addition to a classic narrative story to increase audience reach.


Photo: Almicheal Fraaij

FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency 2022: Young Perspectives

In collaboration with Cinekid, FilmForward is organizing a new edition of the FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency, called ‘Young Perspectives’.

The FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency is a residency in which you, as a working professional, are given free work and thinking space to conduct research that does not fit within existing development processes and to follow joint inspiration sessions.

Are you a working professional in film and audiovisual media? Do you draw storyboards or write screenplays, develop the visual style for a film or other youth production, are you an editor, compose film music, develop games, work with VR or AR, play characters, or direct films or documentaries? And are you developing a project aimed at children and young people aged 3 to 14? Then the FilmForward Vrijplaats Residency 2022 might be interseting for you!

What is positionality?

By Winnie Roseval

Positionality has its roots in social and cultural anthropology and is the understanding that shows that who you are determines what you know about the world. The social and political context in which you were born determines the perspective you have on the world and how you deal with the people and the world around you. As a researcher in anthropology, writing a position statement is a requirement, recognizing and analyzing identity and experiences that shape our perspective on the world. In this way, researchers become aware of their (unconscious) (pre)judgments and privileges that can influence a research group and the way in which they assess that research group. This is important because the presence of a researcher can influence the dynamics of a group. In any case, their positionality influences the way findings are interpreted and how a publication is ultimately written; the story.

The filmmaker’s personal lens
Filmmakers are storytellers. They create stories because something drives them to tell that specific story, but which stories are actually told and valued the most? Looking beyond the boundaries of our own perspective is something we find very difficult. This calls for identifying assumptions that you view as universal truths, but which are instead made by your own unique identity and experiences in the world. And, if you’re in a context that just confirms the assumptions you have, blind spots arise. Quite simply, because our views are limited by our own experiences, socialization, conditioning, etcetera. If we dare to acknowledge this and realize that we make assumptions based on our positionality, which in short is a limiting view of the world, recognizing and analyzing positionality becomes an interesting skill to understand how and why we know what we know.

This personal lens, including filter, determines how we interact with others, make choices and interpret the actions of others. In that light, learning about our own positionality in relation to others is; filmmakers, experts and inspirational speakers a method that can help to see things that may have been missed or omitted about someone’s position, for example in one of the characters in your film. By assessing the different positions equally, individual knowledge, in this case all personal lenses, thus contributes to a more collective understanding.

The sky is the limit
I want to provide insight into my own positionality based on my reflection. Like many others, I was raised to believe that the sky is the limit. But what I find really interesting is that this means something different to both my parents. And I realize this has something to do with their perspectives from their conditioning. For my father, who is a white, Dutch man, the sky is the limit means that anything is possible without restrictions. His image in this regard can be traced back to the fact that he is not limited by (power) structures in society. That doesn’t mean he didn’t have his own struggles, but the struggles he had didn’t have much to do with his positionality. For my mother, on the other hand, a black woman, born in Suriname, ‘the sky’ has its own specific meaning; make sure you are successful. And success is specifically about being well educated, because in her opinion that is the best tool you can have as a woman of color. Part of my view of the world is based on their positions and helps me understand why I know what I know. By giving their perspective an equal place, their judgments can be seen as a resource that has helped me understand positions in society.

In short, if film professionals learn more about their own positionality, especially about how some parts of their identity are valued, it can make them think about the relationship between themselves and the people they work with. It will also help articulate the personal motivation, why of their projects and inspire to think about the relationship between themselves and their character.

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!

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

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:

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


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