Highlights of the Lowlands – Touring Dutch Cinema is an initiative of the Stichting Cultural Aid in partnership with Holland Film, Nederlandse Fonds voor de Film and Avvantura Film Festival.

What do we know about Dutch cinema? Not much, I am afraid. However, there is a lot to know. Dutch cinema has won two Oscars within the same decade, one for the intriguing ode to female strength Antonia’s line (1995) by Marleen Goris and the other for the wonderfully shot, powerful drama Character (1997) by Mike van Diem. Before that, we all remember classics by Joris Ivens or Oscar winning winning documentary maker Bert Haanstra. We also remember the animation films screened at ANIMA FEST in Zagreb by the famous Paul Driessen and Gerrit van Dijk. Those who followed the world cinema scene earlier, during the 70ties and 80ties, had very few chances to see the richness and diversity of the Dutch # lms. Most of us were familiar only with some films by the most known Dutch director Paul Verhoeven, whose American films (Basic Instinct, Robo Cop, Showgirls, Starship Troopers) we actually remember, not his Dutch works, although his Soldaat van Oranje (Soldier of Orange, 1977) has been chosen as the Best Dutch film ever. The second person that was known from the Dutch cinema scene is charming actress Silvia Kristel. The rest, for most of us, remained a blind spot. Cinema goers in SEE region even today don’t have much chances to broaden their knowledge on the cinema of The Netherlands, a country with
16,5 million people, an annual harvest of 16 to 20 fiction feature films and dozens of excellent documentaries, several remarkable animation films, plus 50 or more short films. What is very intriguing for me as a curator is to bring to people the spirit of the country through cinema. In our program, we will bring several very intriguing films that could be considered as typically Dutch – from the most obvious such as a barren landscape or colorful Amsterdam, dry humor, witty and somewhat sober, minimalist dialogues and a speci# c drama with inner suspense. The films are very communicative towards audiences from all cultures, they speak to others with a cinematic language, posing intriguing questions to all of us and making us active
spectators. At the same time, they are funny, entertaining and uplifting.
by Rada Sesic – programmer

HOLLAND FILM, afiliated with the Dutch Film Fund, is the offcial marketing & promotion agency for Dutch film abroad. The organisation, financed from public funds and some private sponsors offers a wide variety of services for Dutch filmmakers and producers to enhance the perception and visibility of Dutch filmmaking worldwide. Holland Film is involved in every stage in the life of a Dutch film abroad, from its selection at a recognized film festival to its presentation at an international market. It provides the international film circuit with information on current activities within the Dutch film industry.

Festivals: Holland Film is present with a stand at the Berlin and Cannes Film Festivals and organizes market screenings and various social events as meeting places for the industry and press. Our representatives attend many international film festivals to keep in touch with current productions and to establish and broaden contact with the festival programmers, local press and distributors. Holland Film facilitates the presence of artistic delegations and offers Dutch professionals access to promotional and marketing facilities. Holland film works in close collaboration with the Netherlands Film Festival Utrecht, the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and the International Film Festival Rotterdam to present the latest Dutch films.

Oscars: Holland Film also acts as the offcial organization for the submission of the Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language feature from the Netherlands to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences AMPAS.

Dutch film events: Over the last 20 years Holland Film has build up a large archive of Dutch films. Regularly Dutch film weeks and retrospectives dedicated to Dutch cinematographers are organized all over the world.

European Film Promotion: Since 1997, Holland Film and the promotion-organizations of European countries have established EUROPEAN FILM PROMOTION (EFP). In the meantime this association has grown tremendously and we are now counting 28 members, all national European promotion agencies like Holland Film. The aim of EFP is to promote European film worldwide. With joined forces much more can be done than on a country by country base. EFP has started with the promotion of young and upcoming talent in the Shooting Stars event at the Berlin and Toronto International Film Festivals and has done a first step into Asia with a European showcase at the Pusan Film Festival. Producers on the Move is an event we have created to help young producers find their way at the Cannes Film Festival and many more events have been created, all to help our films cross borders. For more information check our website at

Publications: The annual Holland Film Catalogue which we publish provides a survey of current Dutch filmmaking from features, documentaries, shorts, animation to experimental films. This catalogue is widely used by festival programmers, distributors and journalists. For the latest News on Dutch Filmmaking, who is who in the Netherlands in the Dutch film industry check website at

Length: 112’
Genre: Drama
Year: 2007
Director: Jos Stelling
Scenario: Jos Stelling, Hans Heesen
Production: Eyeworks Egmond
Casting: Sylvia Hoeks, Sergei Makovetsky, Gene Bervoets e.a
Synopsis: On your journey when travelling with other people, sometimes you say to someone “…… if you are in the neighbourhood, you must pop in”. But what if some stranger takes the invitation for granted and at once he stands in front of the door. Bob, a Dutchmen in his forties, at a Film festival in Russia has given his business card to a Russian (Duska) thinking that he is never going to see him again. But one day Duska stands really in front of Bob’s door. What now? Bob takes him in but after some time realizes that Duska is never going to leave his home. A young
lady who works at the box o+ ce of cinema is Bob’s inspiration. But nothing really happens, until Duska, a man of few words, # nally # nds his way to leave.

Length: 85’
Genre: Drama
Year: 2008
Director: Hanro Smitsman
Scenario: Hanro Smitsman, Philip Delmaar
Casting: John Buijsman, Guus Dam, Robert de Hoog, Maurits, Delchot, Juda Goslinga,
Jason Gwen, Dajo Hogeweg, Bart Klever e.a.
Synopsis: Strong family drama of a Dutch teenager Frankie, a Jewish boy who turns be a skinhead. The father Simon, who has survived Auschwitz , doesn‘t manage to # nd a proper way to deal with his own trauma neither with his own family. Simon does not talk about that, but rather keeps his family in suspense. The mother dies of cancer, the alienated seventeen years old son tries to compensate his own frustrations and pain hanging out with friends, smoking joints and going out to look for girls. One day, he turns to an aggressive skinheads group betraying his best friend. Powerful drama on growing up and youth dilemmas of a very normal Rotterdam boy who turns into a skinhead.

Length: 10’
Year: 2006
Director: Hanro Smitsman
Country: Netherlands
Synopsis: Small events in the lives of three people eventually lead to the moment at
which a boy throws a rock from a bridge to hit a car. Small, unimportant causes can have big consequences.
Award: Berlin International Film Festival

In competition
(special guest John Appel- # lmmaker)
Genre: Documentary
Length: 85’
Year: 2010
Director: John Appel
Producer: Cobos Film
Country: Netherlands
Synopsis: A film about gambling, and about winning and losing, based on the director’s memories of his father. A son’s personal quest to # nd his father and an in-depth examination of the gambler’s true soul. A search for the universal tragedy behind hardened risk taking and the reality of how the tension and the ecstasy contrast with the pain and the loneliness. Focusing on three gamblers, a bookie, a poker player and a criminal roulette addict, Appel delves artistically into the mysterious mind of his father, who was not just a gambler, but a player of life.