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Silent Land


Seng Channeang, a young Cambodian farmer, sees her village surrounded by land grabbers.

Backlight: The Age of Mankind

The destructive influence of mankind caused Dutch scientist Paul Crutzen to introduce a new geological era: the Anthropocene, or the age of man.

Debt Society

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In a working-class neighborhood in North Amsterdam, almost everyone is deep in debt. Every month a parade of heavies, a bailiff, a police officer and a locksmith moves through the streets to evict people from their homes.

Backlight: Eurotopia

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The European Union is morally and culturally bankrupt, according to German philosopher and historian Ulrike Guérot. Time to carry the EU project to its grave. Guérot envisions a European republic that consists of 50 regions around clusters of big cities, with a recognizable identity and shared economic and cultural interest. A decisive Europe that reinvents itself.

Backlight: Black Lives Matter

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In 2013 in Sanford, Florida, vigilante George Zimmerman was found not guilty of the murder of 17-year-old African American Trayvon Martin. As a result, the struggle against police violence flared up under the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter and turned into one of the biggest grassroots movements in the United States.

Zembla: Dry Eyed

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GP Michael Brouwer wears glasses, but he would prefer to do without, which is why he has his eyes lasered. After his operation he is in so much pain that he doesn’t know how to go on with his life. It feels as if someone is continuously poking in his eyes with a knife. It turns out that Brouwer has developed nerve pain, a rare but debilitating complication, about which he was not forewarned.

Gardens of Wonder

In the most extraordinary landscape parks art and nature merge. In a quest around the world Veen visits impressive sculpture gardens full with spectacular art objects of internationally renowned artists, like Anish Kapoor, Richard Serra, Sol LeWitt, Damien Hirst, James Turrell and Olafur Eliasson.

 

Infernal Pain

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Infernal Pain is an intimate documentary about a man whose life is completely turned upside down by chronic pain and desperately searches for pain relief. His quest takes him to a renowned pain specialist who is trying to get the pain under control with neurostimulation.

Chasing a Million

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Can you make a fortune by swapping one thing for another? Albert and Stefan believe it can be done. They start their experiment with a free rabbit from a second-hand goods website. What follows is an unusual and highly unpredictable adventure. Within three years – and against all odds – they swap to a luxurious appartment on a ski-slope in Southern Germany.

In Procedure

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A Syrian father flees to the Netherlands, to save his young daughter who is seriously ill. The long wait during the asylum procedure delays the daughters’ hope for recovery and this makes him desperately doubt his decision to flee Syria.

Backlight: Still Berning

Bernie Sanders lost the primaries to nominate a US presidential candidate for the Democratic Party to Hillary Clinton. But it was a glorious loss. And it has become a beginning, not an end. The end of the Bernie Sanders campaign marks the start of a political movement. What are the next steps for this movement and what role will it play in future elections? What is its staying power? And how can a new political generation bring democracy back into the hands of the people and make it truly representative?

Miss Kiet’s Children

Kiet Engels is the kind of teacher you’d wish for every schoolchild. She is strict but never harsh. She is loving but never soft. Her patience is endless.

Miss Kiet’s pupils have only just arrived in the Netherlands. Many of them are refugees. Everything is new for them and confusing. 

Mies goes to Hollywood

‘Mies goes to Hollywood’ tells the story of Mies (11) who knows one thing for sure: she will become a famous actress. Mies is fortunate to have a successful director as her father; the relocation of her family from Amsterdam to Hollywood is the chance for Mies to pursue that dream. And she grabs it with both hands: she indulges in her new, sunny, Californian life, with big Hollywood mansions and swimming pools. With the help of a manager, coaches, dance classes and auditions she does everything she can to succeed. But she must also learn the language, do a lot of homework, make new friends and go to the orthodontist. Will Mies be able to realize her dream of becoming an actress?

My Matthäus

‘My Matthäus’ is a film about impassioned amateur performers singing Bach’s Matthäus Passion. Their intimate stories about separation, suffering and consolation bring the Biblical themes back to human measures. The choirboy with a cracking voice, the man whos’ life is centering on getting older and saying goodbye, and the woman who found comfort in singing after a great personal loss. All individuals have their own connection to the Matthäus Passion. Their moving stories combined with the music as its décor make it hard to ever listen to the Matthäus in the same way again.

Zembla: Dangerous Play

Since 2009, American soccer trainer Amy Griffin has kept a record of players who played on artificial turf filled in with rubber granules and got cancer. She fears there may be a link between the disease and this material made of old car tyres. Today there are 230 players on her list.

Music on the run

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Abandoned by the world, a clear male voice comes from the ‘Jungle of Calais’. He sings, full of melancholy: “I am here, but my soul is at the other side of the ocean.” There isn’t a better way to describe the hopeless state of mind of thousands of refugees in the most well known refugee camp Calais in France. Their hope for a better future turns into fear, despair and apathy. What’s left is music. Out of protest, solidarity or sadness. The camera of renowned filmmaker Frans Bromet observes and registers the refugees and their music up until the moment the camp is closed down. Singing brings back dignity and humanity to people when almost everything is lost.

Backlight: Justice for all

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Access to justice: for four billion out of the just over seven billion people on earth this is too expensive, too complicated, blocked by corruption, or simply not available. Lawyers working for the Dutch government devote themselves to the digital innovation of the legal industry. Surprisingly enough, Kenya is a trendsetter in this respect. Under the inspiring guidance of Supreme Court Judge Willy Mutunga, and with the aid of text messaging, smartphones and Twitter, a countrywide network of apps and legal volunteers is built. Injustice is combatted with cell phones instead of law degrees.