At the end of my studies I got quite sick of only reading about film without even touching a camera myself. I decided to make a movie based on a script written by my friend Raymond Verhoef and based on a short story by Ethan Coen. This eventually resulted in the short feature film Destiny, which I made with a big group of friends and volunteer actors. It has shown in different theatres in Holland and on various film festivals. Shortly after the release we made up a plan to make a series of short films where we follow famous and infamous Dutch rap artists in the neighbourhood where they live. The series is called Waar Ik Woon and can be seen at Holland's biggest urban website State Magazine.
My first international filmproject took place in the summer of 2006. My friend and me were asked to make a documentary film about the hiphopscene on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar. The film is called Zenji Flava. It premiered at Film by the Sea 2006 and received many positive reviews. The film has been shown also on the Sauti Sa Busara festival in Zanzibar, the Wapi meetings in Nairobi and MTV's Black Soil in Amsterdam and The Hague.
This stimulated me to continue filming and I decided to move to Nairobi. I started the project New Voices and found Oxfam Novib willing to sponsor it. The film talks about the role of gender within hiphop and the way hiphop reaches groups of people who are normally hard to reach. New Voices at the moment is being used in secondary schools as an addition to the Africa Zeeland project.
After this I started working on the film 7 years, a documentary about homosexuality in Kenya. It drew a lot of attention in Holland and eventually I received support from Youth Incentives, Hivos and NCDO. The film has been broadcasted by the station MVS and was programmed at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam. It has also been screened at over 20 (film)festivals across the world, from Cape Town to Turin and from New York to Bilbao. I was invited to some of these festivals to present the film. New requests for 7 years keep on coming in so the film will be seen at festivals probably the next year as well. In North America (Mexico, USA and Canada) the film is being distributed by Frameline, a distributor of LGBT Media.
During my stay in Nairobi I also worked on different short films for the website Inside Africa which was founded by my friend Tim Metz. These 15 films can now be seen on my YouTube account, together with a short documentary about the Zanzibar International Film Festival 2007, which I made for Hivos.
In September 2007 I founded the InsideOut Foundation together with Tim Metz. The aim of the foundation was to create a broader image of countries that are usually depicted in a very limited way by the common media. We try to initiate filmprojects and support filmmakers across the world. In January 2008 4 young Dutch filmmakers went to Ghana to make the documentary Black Stars, about the Africa Cup in Ghana. They didn't have any experience in filmmaking so we gave then the basic preparations and borrowed them our camera. We also applied for funds and got sponsorship from the Amsterdam Art Foundation. The film premiered at the Africa in the Picture Filmfestival in Amsterdam and is now being promoted worldwide.
Through the foundation I got my first big assignment from the Dutch NGO Cordaid. For their annual Vastenaktie (Lenten campaign) I was asked to produce a DVD with short films for primary school children in The Netherlands. The films are set in Malawi and talk about the lives of children there and the projects Vastenaktie sponsors. The project was a big succes and the DVD will be marketed in February 2010. Approximately 1500 schools will buy the DVD and about 300.000 people will se the videos. Cordaid produces the DVD every year and right now I'm editing material I shot in The Philippines last December. For the Cordaid campaign Buzz The World I went to El Salvador in April 2009, again to make films about children there. I made 9 short portraits of children and they will be shown to Dutch primary school students in the age of 12 to 16.
Due to lack of time and the fact that fundraising became more difficult during the recession we decided to disband the foundation in the end of 2009. Right now I'm working as a freelancer mainly for Cordaid. In the near future I will try to expand my work and look for new interesting film projects. Apart from that I’m planning to again start developing my own idea’s for documentaries into a project and look for funds. A film about homosexuality in Morocco is still high on my priority list.