Backlight: State of Alert Israel Style
‘When it comes to security, Europe is still in a state of denial’ – (Michal Marmary, Homeland Security Tel Aviv)
‘When it comes to security, Europe is still in a state of denial’ – (Michal Marmary, Homeland Security Tel Aviv)
Since 2013 the United States are striking important blows against fossil-rich opponents such as Saudi Arabia with the extraction of shale gas and shale oil from their own soil.
The destructive influence of mankind caused Dutch scientist Paul Crutzen to introduce a new geological era: the Anthropocene, or the age of man.
Children of the Webcam is a powerful and disturbing film about the rapidly growing new phenomenon of child sexual abuse via webcam.
This is a story of five young people who neither feel male or female, but rather position themselves somewhere in between.
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.
Designer Bas van Abel decided to create a mobile phone, while exploiting man and nature as little as possible.
The bankruptcies of department stores and shoe shops clearly show that our buying behaviour is rapidly shifting to the Internet.
With the tools and data available in the digital domain, citizens are very well able to reconstruct what happened and thus discover ‘the truth’.
A new generation of artists is fighting this trend and creating explicitly activist art connected to a changing world.
Mayor of Palermo Leoluca Orlando, celebrated and loved for taking on the mafia, is a man with a mission. He wants mobility to be recognized as a human right.
The budget Brussels makes available for European border protection has increased by billions in the past few years. The reason: terrorism and the growing numbers of refugees. New surveillance technology is a growth market that is literally gaining ground because of all the deals Brussels is making with so-called third countries: After the Turkey Deal, agreements are now also being made with countries such as Niger and Sudan, and, if current EU president Malta has anything to say about it, with Libya too, as soon as possible. Money, knowledge and technology in exchange for shifting Europe’s borders.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
For the first time, Naomi is taking her best friend Sam to visit her mother who lives in a locked institution. Naomi explains that she also uses drugs in addition to being psychotic. When she is going through old photos with her aunt, we discover that Naomi has been living with her since the age of five.
Vinyl records, rehearsal rooms, 1970s blouses and ditto music, lots of music: those are the main ingredients in the lives of Sia (15), Bas (14) and Vince (13). Best friends for many years now, together they form the psychedelic rock band Morgana’s Illusion. But recently everything changed: Sia suffers from a depression, so Bas and Vince have to rehearse without him. That alone is very boring, but it also means the future of the band is at stake. Will they ever be on stage again, the three of them?
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?
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’ 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’ 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.
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.
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.
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.
One way ticket to ISIS tells the devastating story of the families of Dutch teenagers who have run away from home to join ISIS.
Living at the end of the world is a documentary-style series about people living by choice in remote places in what seems to be the end of the world. In each episode the experienced traveller and reporter Floortje Dessing makes the often long and difficult journey to reach these people to see how they are living and to find out why they have chosen to live under these often difficult circumstances.
After studying in England, the young and ambitious lawyer Anuol, returns to his homeland South Sudan. Haunted by his own violent past and committed to fighting against human rights violations, he believes that the law will be his only true guide to bring sustainable peace to the country. But his western education clashes with the minds of his fellow countrymen. While Anuol strongly believes in the healing power of justice by convictions, others think it best to lay the past to rest. Desperately trying to convince his countrymen that there is no reconciliation without justice, Anuol finds himself on the verge of a breakdown.
For some time now, the establishment of the World Bank and IMF has had a Chinese counterpart: AIIB, which China intends to use to finance a huge infrastructure project to connect Asia and Europa, a New Silk Route.
They fly in swarms, deliver packages and can be as small as insects. Drones are much more than the weapons used by the US Army against terrorists. We see them fly more often and they pop up everywhere in our lives. In the USA, over one million drones were found as toys underneath the Christmas trees.
In 2015, almost 4000 boat refugees drown during their crossing to Europe. We only know the name of one of them: Aylan Kurdi. On September 2, the photograph of a toddler washed up on the beach in Bodrum went viral on social media. One day later it headlined newspapers worldwide. Media call the photograph iconic and politicians have used the image of the drowned infant for their own grandstanding. Supporters and opponents alike have tried to embrace Aylan as a symbol for a more generous refugee policy. Six months later, Medialogica wonders: what is the significance of such a picture in the refugee debate?
If the European leaders won’t start to listen to their citizens soon, the European Union will be a thing of the past. For this reason, former Greek minister of Finance, Yanis Varouvakis, has started a grass roots movement which is rapidly gaining support all over Europe.
To be online all the time and everywhere. It sounds great, but it has its drawbacks. As digital networks are closing in, there are fewer places to be really on your own. Being offline is becoming a luxury. Where can you be offline? For those who, from time to time, wish to escape smartphone and Wi-Fi signals, VPRO introduces the international White Spots App http://white-spots.net/ (only downloadable in the Netherlands).
With neighbouring Syria in ruins and stricken by a civil war, Turkey keeps its borders closed in exchange for billions of euros from the European Union. Many Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans have managed to cross the porous borders and are now in Istanbul, the gateway to Europe. Will they stay there or is crossing to Europe too irresistible?
In the documentary Forget me not we are introduced to a special primary school. The pupils of this school are children of rejected asylum seekers. The School principal and the teachers do all they can to give them the best possible education. Yet each morning they worry that one of their pupils may have been forced to leave the country.
One of the world’s largest rose producers is located in Ethiopia, the Dutch company Sher. Every day, Sher produces between 3 and 4 million roses for the European market. The roses carry the Fairtrade label, an international certificate for fair and sustainable products. Zembla travels to Africa and investigates how ‘fairly’ the roses are produced.
The Dutch embassy in Lebanon, under the leadership of Hester Somsen, has the difficult mission to encourage the stability in a country where ISIS is rattling at the gates, where the gouvernment is disfunctional and where the huge stream of refugees from neighbouring country Syria undermines the country and introduces problems of radicalisation.
You won’t read about it in the papers, but a silent worldwide revolution is taking place: renewable energy is becoming cheaper than energy from fossil fuels. More and more, opting for wind and solar energy is no longer an ethical choice but an economic one. This will speed up the transfer to renewable energy.
Jihadists are fighting a war on social media. The propaganda they spread is getting ever more professional. Which virtual weapons will ISIS deploy to radicalise young people in the West? Why do young Europeans fall for ‘the medieval reality show’ of ISIS?
VPRO Free Sounds travelled to Budapest, city of birth of the director and composer Iván Fischer who, with his Budapest Festival Orchestra, is working on the registration of Gustav Mahler’s intractable 7th Symphony.
– IN PRODUCTION- (TO BE COMPLETED OCTOBER 2017) The Second World War is a radical episode in history, also in the United States. Over 400.000 young soldiers die for freedom. After the liberation, America is licking its wounds and the Hollywood industry and escapism seem to be one of the remedies. Miss Emmeline Snively, (May 2, Ohio, 1909) understand what America needs: she forms a modelling agency: the Blue Book Model agency, creating icons out of hundreds of young women who come to her agency.
The series focusses on both the work and the personal life of the highly driven, passionate and fanatic maestro Jaap van Zweden, the Dutch conductor who was appointed the next music director of the New York Philharmonic this januari. A camerateam followed him around the world for a full year, a year that turned out to become a crucial year in the life of the maestro, both professionally and personal.
The beautiful island of Ilha de Maré in Brasil was once a rare habitat full of life. Now this little paradise is seriously threatened by the petrochemical industry. Fisherwomen Nega and Eliete, together with their attorney Marcos, stand up against pollution by the oil companies and the indifference of the government.
China is one of the largest world powers but we can hardly put a face on it yet. Let alone have any idea of how the average Chinese man lives and works, or what his ambitions or fears are.Photographer Ruben Terlou took his camera along the banks of the River Yangtze, talking to the locals about the impact of the economic progress.
In the spring of 2011 many protesters took over the public squares in Spain. They demanded that a stop had to be put to the cuts, the evictions, and the sell-out to the banks. In the squares of Tunis, Kiev, Amsterdam, Cairo, Istanbul and Tel Aviv big groups of people gathered over the past few years to protest and press their demands for change. But what happened after the demonstrations in the squares?
Campania, the area around Naples, is known as the biggest illegal landfill for chemical waste in Europe. This is where the Camorra, the local mafia, dumps industrial waste from all over Europe and even from outside the continent. They pour it in the rivers, they bury it in farmlands or burn it by the side of the road.
In this fifth series Jelle Brandt Corstius explores the border countries between Russia and Europe, from Latvia to Moldavia, West and East Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Film maker Carmen Cobos (Imperfect Harmony, NELSONS N˚5) presents an insightful portrait of the Milanese conductor Daniele Gatti. The Italian will be taking up the position of the Seventh Maestro of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam (RCO).
It was a world’s first when in 2012 the End of Life Clinic opened its doors in the Netherlands. Doctors working for this clinic are willing to reconsider people’s euthanasia requests after other doctors refused to carry out a patient’s death-wish. The clinic is receiving 1200 requests a year, nearly 400 patients die with their help.
Does spirituality contribute to our mental health? Four out of ten people in the Netherlands suffer from symptoms such as depression, insomnia, ADHD and stress. What are the statistics in other cultures?
With dedication and craftsmanship generations of horse breeders created a unique horse – the Lipizzaner – into perfection. But now their craft is challenged by new insights in the genetics that offer horse breeders new tools to bend the evolution to their will. How far do you go to create the perfect horse?
It started as a possible case of food poisoning but within weeks turned into a grim spectacle of enormous political proportions: Aleksander Litvinenko, former member of the Russian secret service, died in his place of residence London in November 2006, after having been poisoned with a radioactive substance.
Are we addicted to meat? Like many others, director Marijn Frank feels a dilemma between her lust for meat and her aspiration to be a better and wiser human being. She knows plenty is wrong with the meat industry, but her body craves a meaty snack regardless. In this documentary she explores the arguments and wants to come to a final, proper choice.
The colonization of space has only just begun. Numerous parties have great ambitions to explore outer space for tourism, transportation and raw materials. It’s a race, and slowly but surely it’s becoming clear that there is a need for clear rules concerning the entering and use of this space. Space lawyer Frans von der Dunk is currently one of the few people in the world who is trying to shed some light on this.
The civil war in Syria is entering its fifth year. The number of refugees leaving hearth and home is taking on unparalleled proportions. In Europe the call for closing the borders is heard and politicians are more and more calling for reception in the region, but what does this actually mean?
Our world knows four international crimes: war crimes, genocide, torture and crimes against humanity. Spanish examining magistrate Baltasar Garzón and Scottish lawyer Polly Higgins believe that this list of serious violations of international law should be expanded with a fifth: ecocide. Will Higgins and Garzón eventually succeed in gaining enough support to get recognition for ecocide, truly putting the large-scale destruction of our ecosystems high on the international political agenda once and for all?
A growing group of concerned citizens no longer trusts politicians to tackle climate change. They now focus on the financial sector and receive help from unexpected sources. Big banks like HSBC, Citibank and the regulating Bank of England recently started to warn against the so-called ‘carbon bubble’. Investing in coal, oil and gas not only causes temperatures to rise, but it also involves substantial financial risks, for pensions for example. Armed with this new weapon, activists are summoning pension funds, universities and other funds to reduce their investments in fossil fuels.
In 2012, the Eritrean soccer team defected during a tournament in Uganda. Two years later, the players turn up in the Dutch city of Gorinchem. The local cop and the soccer team immediately conscript the refugees: they are given a place to stay, clothing and of course soccer training – after all, the local team wouldn’t mind a shot at the Africa Cup.
With the relics of a human life – objects found in a flea market – Italian artist Paolo Ventura fights the fleeting nature of life. In his world built out of cardboard and poster paint, he gives these found objects new life.
Meral Uslu has an aggressive form of breast cancer. As a filmmaker, she wants to document her treatment, but not by placing a camera between the doctor and the patient. In My Cancer, the camera is the patient, giving viewers the feeling that it is they who are being treated.
Is bitcoin the blueprint for a bankless currency, or the biggest pyramid scheme ever?What if we could create money ourselves, without the need for banks? Money that can’t be forged, that will appreciate rather than depreciate, and that can be used worldwide without transaction costs.
We think new technology is developed by hip companies like Google and Apple. But is this true? VPRO Backlight explores the innovation climate in Europe, to find out what role governments and the private sector play in this. Who finances the development, and who profits from it?
The proposed free trade agreement between the US and Europe (TTIP) causes concern about the European right to self-determination. The most controversial part of TTIP is ISDS: investor-state dispute settlement. ISDS will make it possible for companies to sue governments that damage their investments. But is this arbitrage system where a few investment lawyers decide over billions of taxpayers money a protection of our business interests, or a threat to our democracy?
Now that a Grexit seems to have been averted, and the strictest cutbacks ever have been announced, Greece is entering a new chapter. The welfare state is dismantled even further and all state property is weighed and sold. What dangers are lurking, and how will the Greek sell out change the country?
‘We want to be the best. I miss that now. We just have to be better than all the others’
Gert is the ambitious managing director of a car dealership in Vianen who is way ahead of his troops. With a boundless energy he encourages his employees to be the very best. No department is spared in learning ‘The New Way of Working’ through countless training sessions and endless meetings. But will he manage to eventually turn employee 1.0 into employee 2.0 and how does his personnel deal with this increasing pressure? How does a family business survive in a time of economic crisis.
In the summer of 2014, the Netherlands received the devastating news that a plane that had departed from Amsterdam was shot down in Ukraine. There were no survivors: two hundred Dutch people were killed. Following the tragedy of flight MH17, the nation turned to mourning, sympathizing with all people who lost a loved one that day. The process of returning the body parts from Ukraine – in 243 coffins – took several months and caused a sense of nationwide grief. Seen through the eyes of three very different families, this film gives an impressive insight into the way the tragedy has affected these people personally. All families live in limbo, unsure whether or not they will ever receive new information regarding their loved ones’ remains.
The extent to which the IS caliphate seems to appeal to young Muslims, the strong Kremlin propaganda machine, and the unstoppable flow of migrants at the gates: Europe can feel the threat of it all breathing down its neck. There is an increasing urgency for Europe to restate its raison d’être. A clear and emotional story about what we are and what that is worth to us.
How well do we know the people around us? What if a loved one considers suicide? Would you be able to tell? Would they tell you? And what would you say? JUST LISTEN shows us the powerful effect of listening in times of despair. Intimate confessions of people who could be your neighbour, classmate or husband reveal what’s on their mind on these defining moments. They show us the meaning of being present at the right moment.
International motorcycle gang Satudarah frequently makes the headlines in Holland, Spain, Germany and Indonesia because of alleged criminal activities. The club is also said to be at war with the Hell’s Angels. Like with all outlaw motor gangs, the secretive world of Satudarah is notoriously difficult to enter. EMMY- and BAFTA-winning filmmakers Joost van der Valk and Mags Gavan were given unique access to the club. Their film shows not only the violence embedded within its culture but also the more fragile side of its members.
A documentary about the Rumanian-German Nobel Prize Laureate Herta Müller: her collages, her traumas and her fears.
“My mother was afraid that I would leave her and in a certain way I never did”.
At the age of 18 Arnon Grunberg leaves Amsterdam Zuid with the ambition to become an actor and to escape his dominant mother and his taciturn father.
Now, 44 years old and a successful writer living in New York, he decides that it is time to return to his family home.
Around the globe, experiments are conducted with alternatives for the existing social security system that has become stuck. People no longer believe in centrally organised long-term planning and advocates are experimenting with handing out free money using every method thinkable. In this episode, VPRO Backlight talks about the need for social security experiments to give people the opportunity to make the most of their own talents and qualities.
Featuring: Guy Standing (economist, UK), Matthias Gijsbertsen (alderman for Social Affairs, Groningen), Albert Wenger (venture investor, New York) and Michael Bohmeyer (IT entrepreneur, Germany).
When asked the question how they think of robots western people are rather reluctant, even a little scared. In Japan it’s completely the opposite, the Japanese love robots. In Japan, all objects – robots as well – have a ‘soul’. This means that in Japan intelligent robots will be accepted much easier than in the West. In this VPRO Backlight story director Rob van Hattum investigates the frameworks that determine the boundaries of how we see smart and social robots.
In the very north-east of Europe, on the border of Russia, lies the small country of Estonia. Per capita, Estonia has the most start-ups; internet access is considered a human right and all Estonians have free wifi. Whatever is new in the field of digital society has been tried out and used here first. The first e-residents have given their fingerprints for a virtual residence permit. The eyes of cosmopolitans, entrepreneurs and Silicon Valley venture capitalists are on it.
Modern food production is largely dependent on fossil fuels. Now that we are beginning to reach the end of them, the main question remains: How will we feed a global population of 9 billion people in 2050? In the Netherlands, Belgium and Silicon Valley, numerous startups have sprung up that use smart technology, big data and new distribution systems to find solutions for this issue.
The urge of technological giants to connect everyone and everything literally has no limits. Google wants to use balloons to form a shield around the planet and Facebook is experimenting with drones and a free Facebook app for mobile phones. At the moment, Africa is the continent with the most ‘white spots’ on the map: places without internet or mobile phone signal. There, however, developments have accelerated. Africa is joining the traffic on the digital highway.
Serb general Ratko Mladic knew that there would not be any NATO airstrikes when, in July 1995, his troops launched the attack on the Srebrenica enclave – which was protected by Dutch UN soldiers – and killed over eight thousand people. Six weeks earlier, the Clinton administration had decided not to carry out any further airstrikes on Serb targets ‘for the time being’. Washington made that decision ‘in silence’. The Dutch government at that time was left completely in the dark.
What lies hidden behind the imposing coloured planes in Mark Rothko’s paintings? Filmmaker Marjoleine Boonstra wanders through the life and work of Mark Rothko and visualizes his sources of inspiration in an attempt to bring the artist closer to us.
With Christopher Rothko, Mark Rothko’s son, who reads quotes from his father’s writings; Annie Cohen-Solal, Rothko’s biographer; Franz Kaiser, curator of the Rothko exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague; and Carol Mancusi-Ungaro, a conservation specialist on Rothko.
This is a documentary portrait of Zen Peacemaker Joan Halifax. The film embarks on a journey with Joan following the course of her life, marked by metaphorical and literal travels.
Joan Jiko Halifax is an American Zen Buddhist teacher, anthropologist, human rights activist, author and terminal care worker.
As a Zen Peacemaker she is a driving force of socially engaged Buddhism in the world. Joan Halifax is many things to many people. Yet they all seem to agree that no matter what role she plays, Halifax is consistently courageous, passionate and compassionate.
Our waste is worth money. Recovering it has started up a new global industry worth billions. It is called Urban Mining and it appears to be the solution for many of our environmental problems and our energy needs. A ton of broken mobile phones, computers or other electronic waste contains sixty times the amount of gold a ton of gold ore has.
In Nelsons No 5, Carmen Cobos’ second feature documentary, the world-renowned Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons – a man who is gentle and modest, but deeply passionate about his craft – takes on the Shostakovich masterpiece together with one of the world’s most celebrated ensembles, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
How do we really deal with the thought of dying? With the fact that in one hundred years probably nobody will remember that you have ever lived? In this documentary filmmaker Rob Smits searches for answers to these questions.
Zen buddhist Marloes Lasker has a rare disease called the Usher Syndrome; she is born deaf and she is also increasingly visually impaired. In this portrait she speaks candidly about her disease.
Comings & Goings (1) What’s the influence of stress on our relationships and ourselves? Modern society makes us believe that standing still is equal to decline. Anneloor van Heemstra examines the impact of stress on her personal life, and where do her ambitions come from?
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the 78 year old spiritual leader of the Tibetan people and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, visited the Netherlands from 10 till 12 May 2014.
A documentary about the Buddhist violence against the Muslim minority in Myanmar (Burma). An activist monk and a young interfaith campaigner try to stop the xenophobia. According to the two main characters, the democratic future of their country is at stake.
Twenty free thinkers; journalists, scientists and artists, from all over the world meet in Sarnath, India to discuss ‘The Four Noble Truths’ in their life and the value it still has nowadays for the suffering in the world.
A portrait of Irène Kaigetsu Kyojo Bakker. The transformation of a strong woman from a happy mother into an extraordinary Zen teacher, who translates Buddhist insight into social commitment.
Zen buddhist André van der Braak is the first professor of Buddhist Philosophy at the Free University of Amsterdam. A signal of a small, but controversial revolution. We follow him during his first steps on a journey from Beijing to Amsterdam, and from Buddha to Nietzsche.
A portrait of zen master, painter, calligrapher, writer, translator and peace activist Kazuaki Tanahashi. The movie explores the motives behind his international activism and his dialogue between East and West.
Cees Nooteboom wrote his book ‘Saigoku’ about the 33-temple pilgrimage in the surroundings of Kyoto. What did the famous Dutch writer find on his path?
With the only picture she has of her father, Renée Wilna Span embarks on a journey into her past: a childhood without her father, the Frisian musician Frans Span, who drowned at a young age. How important is it to know your origins?
Children are often too busy, just like adults. Like their parents they have many obligations: at school, in the family and during leisure time. Eline Snel is a pioneer in mindfulness training for children. Eline is teaching them mind exercises like The worry factory, the spaghetti test and the ball of compliments.
Sri Lanka is the only country where Buddhism is a living religion since it was introduced, in 250 b.C. How could it then happen in recent times, that the country was ripped apart in a long and very violent civil war between the Buddhist Sinhala majority and the Hindu Tamil minority?
Feature documentary about Sandra Roelofs, a Dutch girl who became the First Lady of exotic but politically instable Georgia. After ten turbulent years in office her husband, the now controversial Mikhael Saakashvili, cannot be re-elected. The presidential couple become citizens again. What does a life in the political limelight entail, and what is the price paid in your private life?
29 year-old Manon Ossevoort is determined to realise the dream of travelling around the world to the South Pole on a tractor. Along the way, she meets inspiring individuals who are also working to make their dreams come true under the most challenging circumstances. That is a big encouragement to Manon, who desperately wants to see proof that the world is beautiful. But the confrontations with the harsh reality sets her thinking. What was planned as an 18-month project turned into a 10 year long voyage of discovery through unknown worlds, but also of self-discovery.
Hand-out Tractor Girl
Sanne (27) suffers from borderline personality disorder, chronic depression and insomnia. After nine years of intensive treatment without positive results, she has decided she does not want to live any longer. She tells her father and best friends about her death wish to give them the chance to come to terms with her decision and say their goodbyes. We see Sanne in her final weeks, in which she looks forward to the day she will finally find peace by self-euthanasia. Letting you go is about a psychiatric patient’s right to self-determination, the longing for peace and the biggest sacrifice a father can make out of love for his child.
Zembla demonstrates how companies such as Monsanto and Syngenta are trying to gain control over vegetable crops by patenting the traits of these plants. European politicians and scientists are afraid that these agrochemical concerns will end up monopolizing the market and endanger food security. The programme makers expose the methods of these multinationals. After much persuasion Monsanto gives an exclusive interview. This company is already extremely powerful in other parts of the world in genetically modified crops which are still illegal in Europe. This revealing search shows viewers how Monsanto is attempting to take over the European vegetable market with its controversial methods.
Five individuals, one country. A five-part travel series on Great Britain as seen through the eyes of self-willed Brits.
We are smarter than ever, but have we also grown wiser? According to Ricardo Semler, the Brazilian top entrepreneur and philosopher who became immensely rich by making his employees happy, our economy has gone completely off the rails and capitalism has failed to create equality anywhere, ever.
French economist Thomas Piketty and Canadian activist Naomi Klein are intellectual super stars who conquer the world with their ideas. They inspire and mobilize millions of people all over the globe.
The channel Russia Today was launched in 2005 under the name Russia Today to bring the Russian perspective on world events to a global audience. To counter channels like BBC World, CNN and Al-Jazeera. Almost ten years later it’s the biggest news organisation on YouTube with its 2 billion views, more than CNN and BBC together. Where its critics call it a bullhorn for Russian propaganda, RT presents itself as an alternative to mainstream media.
Silicon Valley is one of the world’s most powerful regions: A region that holds more knowledge, power and money than Washington, Wall Street or Brussels. And it is here that a digital revolution is being coded that is shaping our lives at every possible level.
Curiosity brought Thomas Erdbrink (38) to Iran years ago, and now he’s married to an award-winning Iranian photographer and lives there as one of the last Western journalists in a country always at odds with the rest of the world.
In solitary confinement of a prison Viggo wonders why he developed from a sensitive little boy into a merciless criminal. He decides to give up his criminal existence for good and dives into his past to avoid making the very same mistakes a second time.
Carebot Alice leaves the laboratory to visit Mrs. Remkes, Mrs. Schellekens-Blanke and Mrs. van Wittmarschen, each in their own house. The three women are getting on in age and are therefore exceptionally suited for the services of Alice, who has been developed by SELEMCA. This is a research group which tries to discover, with the help of community nurses and family, how ‘sociobot’ Alice should talk and react to stem the effects of loneliness on older women. The outcome of the experiment is surprising for all involved.
In the North, people are happy that climate change is a fact now: If we continue this way, the Arctic ice will have melted by 2040! We will see glaciers disappear and entire species of fish migrate.
Large football clubs are bought by foreign businessmen, who are only in it for the money and have no emotional tie to football history whatsoever. The biggest European sport is facing an identity crisis.
There is new gold to be found on the internet, and possibly in your own computer. Secret backdoors, that do not have a digital lock yet, are being traded at astronomical amounts. In the cyber world trade, where there are no rules, you are in luck with “white-hat” hackers, who guard your online security. But their opponents, the “black-hat” hackers, have an interest in an unsecure internet, and sell security leaks to the highest bidder. They are the preferred suppliers of security services and cyber defence. Who are these black and white wizards, who fight for the holy grail of hackers: zero days?
Puck Meerburg (15) has been an IT prodigy from the age of seven. He has won several prestigious prizes already, including the Apple Design Award for students. Major IT companies like Microsoft and Google have shown their interest in his capabilities.
How would it be to suddenly loose consciousness? To loose control of your own body and life? That an attack is constantly on the prowl? Director Jef Monté knows how this feels as he developed epilepsy recently. In this documentary he follows a young woman who wants to live an independent life, but who is prevented from this because of her epilepsy. The film shows the struggle she must make to get control of her own life again.
A reconstruction of the first Ebola outbreak in Zaire in 1976. This 25-minute documentary includes the detailed stories of microbiologist Peter Piot and virologist Guido van der Groen, both discoverers of the Ebola virus in the 1970’s during their time in Zaire. The documentary includes footage from their personal archives.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), popularly known as electroshock therapy. This therapy is often effective but has long encountered deep-rooted prejudice and fear. Director Saskia Gubbels intimately portrays three people who undergo electroshock therapy.
This is a portrait of the Flemish-Moroccan choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaou whyle he travels trough Europe with his dance performance. He is one of the most versatile and successful dance artists of our times.
In 2013 the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra toured the world to celebrate its 125th anniversary: 50 concerts spread over 6 continents. Unbounded passion and love for music brings musicians and concert goers together.
On the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated, on November 22, 1963, it was Robert Groden’s 18th birthday. Kennedy’s death changed his life profoundly. In 1975 Robert shocked millions of Americans when he released the classified Zapruder film on national television. This amateur footage of Kennedy’s brutal murder forced US Congress to reopen the case, inviting Robert to join the investigation. It was the start of an obsessive crusade that would make Robert Groden America’s most famous JFK conspiracy theorist.
Full of ambition to fight the best in her league female boxer Diana Prazak accepts an invitation by the world’s overall number one and WBC Super feather weight World Champion Frida Wallberg to fight for her title in Frida’s hometown Stockholm.
Decreasing costs of materials and tools, and the availability of all kinds of information mean everyone can become a maker, developer or entrepreneur. Is this mass-production in reverse and the start of a new industrial revolution?
It is really possible! Turning deserts back into fertile agricultural land and, so, together, restoring the planet, the environment, and the economy. And it’s urgently needed, too, for biodiversity is being lost on a large scale. Erosion causes heavy flooding and exhaustion destroys agricultural land.
Eriss Khajira grew up on the largest dumpsite of East Africa: the Dandora dumpsite. Tens of thousands of people live on and around this dumpsite, scavenging through the waste of Nairobi’s residents. Khajira goes back to the place of her youth and she portrays five dumpsite inhabitants.
Mountain climbers achieve fame, despite the many deadly accidents. The image is partly created by the climbers themselves. But because of the difficult circumstances at these great heights, it is practically impossible to find out if all these incredible stories are actually true.
Hella de Jonge didn’t always get on with her 88-year-old father. When he had to move recently, she acquired the legacy of her great aunt, who survived the Nazi terror along with Hella’s parents. A publicity photo from 1885 of her great-grandfather as part of a comic duo then inspired Hella to investigate the history of her family.
While national governments are mired in party politics and their own bureaucracy, the cities are bursting with energy, optimism and a sense of resolve. Where national governments fail, on a city level many problems – in the fields of the environment, poverty, food production and care – are solved more quickly and together in collaboration with citizens.
The fascinating escape story of the eastern German family Anhalt. In the early 80’s the young couple Anhalt from the GDR was building a single engine aircraft to escape from the communist dictatorship.
A dynamic series about travelling and tourism for young people. The presenters travel the world in search of the most inspiring, beautiful and unique travel destinations, resulting in two travel reports per episode.
Award-winning Dutch leading travel show presenter, Floortje Dessing, travels to remote areas in the world and meets local people to find out what it is like to live at the end of the world.
In No Man’s Land Rudi Vranckx spends six episodes travelling across Africa from east to west: from Mogadishu, one of the most dangerous cities in the world, to Timbuktu, one of the most legendary cities in the world. He travels through Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Chad, Niger and Mali. His journey takes him to several important front lines of the future. He goes in search of stories about people in one of the least known regions on earth. His aim is to give people a face we do not know, we often don’t wish to know, and who we are only interested in when they are washed ashore in a boat on the Mediterranean.
What drives young Western men to leave everyone and everything behind and travel to Syria to become a Jihad fighter? The media portrays these boys as vulnerable and derailed. Is there another side to this picture? In order to understand why they feel called upon to pick up arms and leave everything they know behind, filmmaker Floor van der Meulen abandons her Western perspective to be able to see things through the eyes of the fighters.
Filmmaker Mirella van Markus is in search of the ideal construction to have a child with her wife Claudia. Despite their strong desire to have children, there are worries and doubts. Will their child be at risk, being raised by two mothers?
The village of Marienborn in Germany once was world-famous. It was the most important and most guarded border crossing of the Iron Curtain. These days, Marienborn is a quiet place.
A touching and intimate documentary about the unconditional love for a pet. Filmed at the largest animal hospital in Europe, the oncology department of The University clinic for Companion Animals in the Netherlands. Seven different people have one thing in common; their pets are diagnosed with cancer. They have to make an important decision for their cat or dog; start an intensive chemotherapy or radiation therapy, have their pet operated or decide on no treatment at all.
A personal, investigative documentary about menopause.
A film about life with HIV and AIDS. We meet three men and two women; together their five life stories give a clear picture of how the impact of HIV differs from person to person. A life with HIV cannot be generalized.
Digital data is vulnerable. Yet entire libraries are shredded and lost to budget cuts, because we assume everything can be found online. But is that really true? For the first time in history, we have the technological means to save our entire past, yet it seems to be going up in smoke. Will we suffer from collective amnesia?
What is real and what is fake these days? This question presents itself more and more frequently, whether it’s in regard to newspaper photos, designer bags or the human body.
Brothers and Sisters. You don’t get to choose them but your family bond lasts a lifetime. Sometimes they are your trusted friends, sometimes they are your rivals. But what is it like when your sibling is a megastar, an icon? We meet siblings Leon Hendrix, George Obama, Vanessa Branson and Stella Parton.
Donna Giovanna is after Rigoletto (2003) and Samson and Delilah (2006) the third operafilm presented by Opera Spanga. Donna Giovanna is a female version of the male womanizer. She is a tragic personality, whose self-confidence is based on a shaky ground: her admirers. And although we condemn her behavior, we can’t withstand the repulsive wish to hold her in our arms.
For twelve years, war photographer Oleg Klimov has documented the disintegration of the Soviet Union. He was present at almost all conflicts and ethnic tensions in the 90s. His photographs appeared on the front pages of many Western newspapers as silent witnesses of the war in the former Soviet Union.
In science fiction films the minds of scientists are downloaded into computers and criminal brains are connected with the Internet. Interesting, but how does it work in real life……?
Shortly before the local elections and inspired by the TV reality show Utopia, Backlight, together with newly-minted professor of community development Justus Uitermark, looks at how people would build their community if they could start afresh.
Russia Today – From Moscow to Magadan (7 x 45’), From Moscow to Murmansk (8 x 45’), From Sochi to Yerevan (6 x 45’)
In From Moscow to Magadan journalist Jelle Brandt Corstius travels around modern Russia and its satellite states in a quest for authentic and interesting stories that dominate the lives of ordinary Russians. Speaking Russian fluently, Jelle travels from the west to the east part of Russia and visits the endless Russian countryside and villages. In the second series From Moscow to Murmansk, Jelle travels from north to south, along Russia’s biggest river, the Wolga. A journey that carries us through unknown cities such as Murmansk, Volgograd, Nizjni and Novgorod. In the third series From Sochi to Yerevan Jelle manages again to reveal an unknown side of Russia today.
In this series writer/philosopher Stine Jensen investigates what the real Scandinavia looks like behind the clichés. She goes searching for life beyond the stereotypes. How do Scandinavians themselves look upon their life in the Northern hemisphere? How emancipated are they?
My America is an insider’s look at the country Europeans love to hate: America. Journalist Michiel Vos travels around the USA to find out what it really takes to become an American.
An investigative documentary about child prostitution in Brazil.
Fortaleza, Brazil. Out to earn money, under-age girls loiter in the bars lining the boulevard, looking for men. Often foreign men, tourists, interested in young girls. The girls are picked up along abandoned exit roads. How can 12-year-old girls entering prostitution escape the vicious circle of poverty, violence and drugs?
Europe is building a network of unprecedented surveillance technologies that can track everyone and divide all of us who travel within the EU into those who can travel freely and those who can’t.
We seem to be prisoners of a worldwide digital web, created by governments and Silicon Valley. How do we stay in control of our own data? Are there ways to escape the digital dystopia?
A documentary about the future of transportation.
Cars will become less prominent. Bill Ford of Ford Motor company claims that in ten years’ time the company will sell mobility, not cars. How will we move around in the future? The first spectacular signs are manifesting themselves.
This international documentary series investigates the new and controversial world of anti-ageing. We are fascinated by the prospect of timeless life, mesmerised by spectacular developments in science and intrigued by how to have a longer and more vital life.
In this documentary an atheist filmmaker explores what he can learn from an ambitious evangelist. Matthew van der Steen (37) is a rising star. He is the charismatic leader of the rapidly growing church “House of Heroes” and CEO of TRIN (Touch Reach and Impact The Nations). This organisation holds prayer healings in Pakistan, India and Myanmar which attract thousands of people. Van der Steen is convinced that God still walks the earth and can cure people from cancer, restore sight to the blind and resurrect the dead through the Holy Spirit.
Behind the scenes at the Tour de France.
A unique and compelling inside story of cycling team, Argos-Shimano, keen on showing that winning is possible without any use of doping. We follow the team during the 100th edition of the Tour de France. Knowing that they cannot beat their opponents in the mountains (where epo rules), they have specialized in the sprint.
Prices for contemporary art are going through the roof despite the lousy economic situation in general. Internet, the growing number of rich individuals and globalization have changed the art market beyond recognition. Has contemporary art become a commodity in the hands of the super rich private collectors?
In just a couple of years the city of Sochi has to be refashioned from a nostalgic Soviet holiday resort, filled with gorgeous sanatoriums, into a modern Russian city with The Olympic Winter Games (February 2014) in prospect. Literally everything and everyone has to yield in order to turn this status project of President Putin into a success.
What part does love play in your life when you have been married for over 60 years? Can you still fall in love at 85? Does an orgasm still feel the same? What kind of influence does an older body have on the experience of sex?
In Land of Promise we see how, since the 1950s, immigration has irreversibly changed the societies of Europe and why it will continue to do so.
The film is made out of beautiful and often provocative international archive material. Clips from talk shows, radio programmes, documentaries and feature films guide us through the debates of past decades that have helped to shape change in Europe. Post-war immigration is shown from a new perspective.
In 2002, Elena Lindemans’s mother took her own life by jumping off a tall building. She had asked for euthanasia to be relieved from her unbearable mental suffering. As a mental health patient, her request was rejected on principle, leaving suicide her only way out. The family knew what she was planning to do, but they didn’t stop her.
Hidden deep inside a massive mountain in inhospitable Spitsbergen is the most important vault in the world: the Global Seed Vault. It is 20 degrees below zero and the vault is able to withstand earthquakes, floods, missile attacks and nuclear disaster. It’s Noah’s Ark for our food production with the largest diversity in seeds from all over the world, a backup of as many crops as possible and the toolbox for seed breeders. This is vital, for by 2050 there will be 9 billion mouths to feed.
Ever since the revelations about the snooping practices of the US and the Dutch intelligence services, we have become increasingly aware of the vast amount of digital data that are stored about us on the net, in the matrix. Data about citizens, information about governments and multinationals is also stored in multi-terabyte files: big data. The good news is that a large part of this information is, thus, also accessible to all of us, if you just know where to look.
When Elroy Chester was convicted for raping two teenage girls and killing their uncle in 1998, he was sentenced to death. Chester spent 15 years on death row, but now it’s June 12, 2013, and the long wait has come to an end. In Huntsville, Texas, preparations are being made to carry out the sentence. At precisely 6 p.m., Chester will be put to death by lethal injection.
Twenty years after the genocide in which almost a million Tutsis and Hutus were murdered, the government contends that ethnicity no longer plays a role Rwanda. It claims that 98 percent of the population self-identifies as Rwandan, and the soccer field serves as the stage for this reconciliation.
In nature only one rule counts; eat or be eaten. This documentary is a poetic, and visually arresting documentary about the curious relationship between man and the rise of the wild boar. The film tells a story about confusion, despair and opportunity amidst the invasion of unruly creatures that won’t abide by manmade rules and laws. From the dark woods where it originates, this almost uncontrollably dangerous creature goes deeper and deeper into our villages and cities but at the same time tickles our imagination and inspires us. This is an exploration of a society conflicted with nature and a reflection of the curiosity of human nature itself. Will we eat them or will they eventually devour us?
Artist Florentijn Hofman is conquering the world with his huge, iconic and witty sculptures. He is famous for his creation of the ‘Rubber Duck’. This inflatable duck has been floating in the waters of Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Osaka and Sao Paulo.
This is a four part series on the fate of deported children of asylum-seekers in the Netherlands. Over the past ten years, many hundreds of children have been deported to countries they have little or no memory of, their parents having sought political asylum in the Netherlands but ultimately been rejected, leaving them the choice of leaving voluntarily in exchange for money or being forcibly deported by the Dutch government. Politically responsible administrators guaranteed that these children would be fine in the country of their parents. But virtually nothing is known about what actually happened to them after their deportation.
This series tells the story of deported children in Iraq, Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, and Kosovo.
Juan, aged 95, works as a custodian at the John Lennon park in Havana. The park is like a little metaphor for Cuba, as an (socialistic) island where people live their lives and where Lennon is a link to the outside world but at the same time the embodiment of dreams and ideals. His job is to put on Lennon’s (famous round) glasses on the statue in the park, visited and photographed by tourists from all over the world. Every day Juan is accompanied by other park ‘residents’. To each and every one of them the statue has its own meaning.
To Ondina, it represents the ideals of the Cuban Revolution, to Rodolpho, a veteran, it symbolizes Lennon’s heroism as ‘peace activist’, to Ernesto the statue feels like an old friend and to Juan …… it’s a way to make money and an opportunity to meet women.
“When you don’t have papers in this country, you suffer,” as one young Nigerian woman in the Netherlands knows firsthand. When she arrived here, human traffickers forced her to pay back a lot of money, and she was then tricked into prostitution. All she can say from her asylum seeker’s cell is, “I’m not a criminal, but they treat me like garbage.”
This touching film follows Ingrid, Vicky and Sabrina as they face inevitable and painful choices at the hospital after being diagnosed with breast cancer. They are working towards recovery through often tough and painful treatments, but are acutely aware that the disease can rear its ugly head again without warning.
This documentary is a is a cinematic poem about four young creative Egyptian women.
Most of the material is filmed by the characters themselves, who worked with the film’s directors in a process of collaboration and mentorship over a course of two years.
Fourteen years after the documentary That’s why I’m working (1999), filmmakers Maarten Schmidt and Thomas Doebele went back to the children from one of Dhaka’s slums, in Bangladesh. Under the motto `Today’s working children are tomorrow’s uneducated adults,’ they could go to school for free. They are in their twenties now, and the filmmakers were wondering if the vicious circle of poverty passed on from generation to generation has been broken.
A thriller about a genius algorithm builder who dared to stand up against Wall Street.
From the makers of the much-praised Quants: the Alchemists of Wall Street and Money & Speed: Inside the Black Box. Now the long-awaited final episode of a trilogy in search of the winners and losers of the tech revolution on Wall Street. Could mankind lose control of this increasingly complex system?
In this entertaining series author and host Jelle Brandt Corstius travels around modern Russia and its satellite states in a quest for authentic and interesting stories that dominate the lives of ordinary Russians today. In the first series he travels from the west to the east part of Russia and visits the endless Russian countryside and villages.
In the second series, the sequel to season 1 From Moscow to Magadan, Jelle Brandt Corstius travels from north to south, along Russia’s biggest river, the Wolga. A journey that carries us through unknown cities such as Murmansk, Volgograd, Nizjni Novgorod. This series is brought from the Russian perspective and the ideological vacuum, in which again Jelle manages to highlight an unknown side of Russia. Jelle for example visits the city Dzerzhinsk, one of the most polluted cities of the world. The factories are causing a high degree of pollution and the average life expectancy is forty-two years.
The personal data that is being collected by internet companies has turned into a goldmine. The applications for this enormous mountain of data is endless, from health care uses to marketeers who can accurately predict your behavior. But who is making money from it? And who is the owner of your personal data?
Google Glass is the new smartphone-with-camera-on-the-retina, that listens to spoken commands and adds a permanent, visual layer to reality. It is only the tip of the iceberg. A new generation of omnipresent cameras is creeping into everyday life and gnaws at our perception of reality.
Is ailing Greece the start of a new Europe? New economic models arising from the ruins of the bankrupt growth economy, and now citizens take their own control over supply and demand.
Many Greeks are gradually coming to terms with the collapse of a failing social and political system. They are taking matters into their own hands and addressing crucial issues through grassroots activism and local collective action. There are signs of a lifestyle transformation, incorporating values and social patterns of the past.
This is a documentary about family-life inside the United States military. Through cinematographic observation a portrait of a military family, living on a US army base in Louisiana has been made.
Alessandro Gualtieri is an Italian perfumer calling himself ‘The Nose’. An independent spirit in the perfume industry, he decided to launch his own perfume line in 2007: Nasomatto (‘crazy nose’).
In 1942 baby Anneke is taken away from her parents, who fled Germany in the early 1930’s and came to the Netherlands. Because she cannot go into hiding with them, she ends up in a foster home. When soon after war it becomes clear that her parents did not survive, Anneke, aged five, is sent to her aunt and uncle in de United States. There she grows up in a world where the past is rarely if ever discussed. Anneke is ordered look only to the future and not ask questions about her past.
This documentary tells the impressive story of Priscilla, a young Amsterdam woman suffering from a terminal illness. On her 26th birthday she gives herself a special ‘present’: euthanasia.
In the summer of 2010, 18-year-old Chamoetal Zeidler, sister to filmmaker Dikla Zeidler, started her 2 years of mandatory military service in the Spokesperson’s Unit of the Israeli Army (IDF). With an Israeli father and a Dutch mother, growing up both in Israel and in the Netherlands, going to the army wasn’t the obvious choice for the Zeidler sisters. The filmmaker herself chose not to serve and lives in the Netherlands.
Day in, day out, year after year, a long line can be seen in front of the Anne Frank House. A line of patient waiters, consisting of all possibly nationalities. They are there, because they want to enter the Anne Frank Museum, because they want to see the Achterhuis.
The hiding place of the most famous victim of the Second World War: Anne Frank.
Four friends Bas, Ivan, Jurriaan and Willem are living in a distant village on a far out peninsula on the Dutch coast. This is their last summer vacation together, since the two older friends Bas and Ivan finished elementary school and will move to high school after summer which is a one hour bike ride away from the village.
This will be their first steps away from the safety of their beloved village, as well as a big step towards adulthood.
Will their friendship survive these new developments?
For the very first time a (Dutch) television crew has been granted access to life inside a professional cycling team during the most prestigious cycling event in the world: the Tour de France (which this year celebrated its 100th edition).
Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) was one of the most prominent post-war American artists and is considered a key founder of conceptual art. His art could be described as obsession pushed to the limit of paradox and absurdity: an often simple idea leading to an overwhelming visual and intellectual beauty. To make progress, you need to go back to the essence, he felt.
While the world is in crisis, there is a man who thinks the future is as bright as it can be. Peter Diamandis, author of the book Abundance and co-founder of Singularity University, sees how technology can soon provide all basic needs such as energy, clean drinking water and food for the growing world population, with ease.
Six series featuring fascinating train journeys all around the world.
Amid protests from citizens and (populist) politicians,t Northern Europe is sending money to the ailing economies of Southern Europe. But wouldn’t it be better to combat the high youth unemployment in the PIGS countries (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain) with a better international alignment of Europe’s labour market?
Joris Luyendijk (journalist/publicist, with a ‘banker’s blog’ for ‘The Guardian’) dives into the financial brain of the London City, and descends into the minds of the master bankers. A study of adrenaline, testosterone, addiction, and the magic of the big bucks.
Backlight follows a group of Nigerian immigrants in the Chinese metropolis Guangzhou. This community is at the vanguard of an important trend that will determine the economic and political development in the first half of the 21st century: the flow of migrants from low-wage countries is shifting from the old continent Europe to the new economies in Asia.
‘Where do multinationals pay taxes and how much?’ Gaining insight from international tax experts, Backlight director Marije Meerman, takes a look at tax havens, the people who live there and the routes along which tax is avoided globally.
In this documentary the Jewish historian Saul Friedländer (1932, Prague) and his life-long quest to describe the extermination of the European Jews without losing or repressing a primary feeling of disbelief. Friedländer’s life and work is totally intertwined with the history of Europe and European Jewry.
In The Revolution Route VRT News journalist Rudi Vranckx travels the front lines of the Arab Spring. He examines who are its winners and who are its losers. He talks to the revolution’s instigators and to its ‘accidental’ heroes, to victims and to opportunists, to rebels and to soldiers, to the regimes’fallen angels and to ordinary people who dream of living in freedom.
This documentary tells the story of innovative designer, Piet Zwart (1885-1977) who clashed with the limitations of his era. He worked as an interior and industrial designer, commercial typographer, photographer, critic and lecturer, playing a key role in defining the design climate in the Netherlands in the Twentieth Century. His versatility and influence on present-day designers led the Association of Dutch Designers to award him the title of ‘Designer of the Century’ in 2000.
Toer van Schayk (1936) is a dancer, choreographer, artist and set and costume designer. This documentary pays tribute to this great artist and shows the development of his inexhaustible and versatile talent of his unparalleled choreography for ‘The Nutcracker and the Mouse King’ in Warsaw and the moment where he receives the Oeuvre Award from Benois de la Danse at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.
Most people have experienced chance events that seem to be more than mere coincidence. Experiences that are so powerful that they even give people a sense of direction or purpose in their life.
Jelle Brandt Corstius goes on a journey through India. Where, as an expert, he tried to explain Russia in the series From Moscow to Murmansk and From Moscow to Magadan, he is now a foreigner trying to understand India.
On 30 April 2013, Queen Beatrix will sign the act of abdication at Amsterdam’s Royal Palace. This magnificent edifice at the heart of Holland’s capital has had a major facelift in recent years. Inside and outside, the building has been thoroughly overhauled: stone replaced, gilding on the pediment, new upholstery for the chairs, and the silver chandeliers have been cleaned.
This documentary paints a picture of the life and work of Queen Beatrix, from her birth in 1938 until the moment she announced her decision to abdicate in 2013.
On 2-2-2002 Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Máxima said their vows at the New Church in Amsterdam. This documentary looks back on their fairy-tale wedding day with images of ‘Máxima’s tear’ and the kiss on the balcony.
What normally remains invisible to the outside world is made visible namely the physical transfer of knowledge from one generation of dancers to the next.
Not Islam, but Pentecostalism is the most successful religion on earth. It expands like a global brand, efficiently evangelising the planet. 25% of the 2 billion Christians in the world now belong to a Pentecostal church and 35,000 new members are born again through baptism every day. Wealth is good, so why not pray for a raise or a promotion at work? Backlight explores two of the new prosperity churches: the Australian-led C3 Church in Amsterdam, and the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Lagos, Nigeria.
What if we could identify the genes for human intelligence? Would a brave new world of improved human beings be waiting for us? The documentary DNA Dreams features a new generation of scientists at BGI, China’s leading genomics research institute.
In the late Renaissance, at the height of Mantua’s artistic splendor, the young Jewish violinist Salomone Rossi Hebreo became one of the most renowned composers and performers at the court of the Gonzaga dukes. In 1622 he revolutionized Jewish music with his “Songs of Solomon”, the first collection ever of originally composed music for Hebrew psalms and prayers.
In this beautifully shot documentary we follow a Dutch couple and a Norwegian single woman who travel to St. Petersburg in Russia for an egg donation treatment. What is their motivation to undergo this emotional and physical demanding treatment in Russia? And what is the motivation of the women who donate their eggs? What are the risks involved?
Trust, openness, and love are terms that will make any manager shiver. Yet, they made Brazilian top entrepreneur Ricardo Semler immensely rich. He built a world empire based on the simple question: What would really make my employees happy? He wrote a book on the subject – ‘Maverick’ – an international bestseller, that was devoured in over 35 languages. Everyone wants to know what magic spell he has found to make so much money on happiness.
After decades of lawlessness, order seems to have returned to the Hill of Pleasures. In one of Rio’s largest favelas, a Police Pacifying Unit has taken over control from organized crime. There is intensive patrolling, jurisdiction has been restored and for the first time inhabitants get to voice their complaints. But years of police brutality and corruption aren’t that easily forgotten.
This a film about the blind lottery ticket sellers in Malaga. In every Spanish city, fortune hunters buy their lottery tickets from the blind vendors in their street-corner kiosks. The Vendors work for ONCE, the Spanish national organization for the blind that provides them with employment and education.
Amsterdam-based Pauline lives life to the max; she travels around the world as a model and moves from party to party. She is thirty-one-years old when she is diagnosed with HIV. Her world falls apart and she thinks her life is over.
The commercial vice team combats human trafficking and the exploitation of prostitutes in The Hague. The film shows the team on their nightly routine visits to the red light district, on brothel inspections and while processing potential victims of human trafficking at the police station.
Through Ellen’s Ears
Eleven-year-old Ellen doesn’t speak with her voice but with her hands. She uses sign language because she is deaf. Ellen has to decide which secondary school to attend.
Drona & me is a documentary of an autistic boy, Drona (9), through the eyes of his brother Arjun (12). We are looking at Drona’s life while listening to what Arjun has to say about his little brother.
Since he was five years old, Tom has only eaten raw food. Uncooked, unheated food. His mother wants him to. She believes in the raw foot diet, which she says is the healthiest lifestyle. The hospital has determined that Tom is seriously malnourished. The mother has been reported for child neglect. Should she be allowed to continue feeding Tom a raw food diet, or should the authorities intervene?
Documentary about the attempts to reconstruct the past based on the unsolved murder of the American model Melissa Halstead in 1990.
While the rest of the world tries to come to terms with China’s rising economic and political power and its impact on the existing global order; a small group of philosophy students from Shanghai’s prestige Fudan University gathers every Friday night at their professor’s house to study Chinese classical texts by Confucius.
On the Western Jordan Banks a wonder takes place. Next year 40,000 people from the new Palestinian middle class will live in the new supercity Rawabi City.
If a system does not work well, would you not be better off by taking matters into your own hands?
This documentary investigates the economic, social and cultural power of today’s Germany
When there will be no next of kin present at a funeral, a custom-written poem is recited by a renowned poet. What does one write for somebody who is no longer known to anyone?
In the night of the 18th of February 2009, 19-year-old prostitute Betty Szabó was murdered in her room in Amsterdam.
Documentary about South African poet and singer
Gert Vlok Nel.
I pledge that I will practice medicine to the best of my ability in the service of my fellow human beings… (Opening of the Physician’s Oath of the Royal Dutch Medical Society and the Association of Universities in the Netherlands, based on the Hippocratic oath, ± 400 B.C.)
Once a bevy of children was reserved only for kings and chieftains. As a sign of their prestige. Today a tourist guide from a neat suburb in Maastricht can father 100 children, thanks to emancipation and the Internet.
Documentary about a normal Ethiopian peasant born into an epic history.
A story about a modern-day Anne Frank in hiding for a Muslim extremist fatwa.
Backlight is staying in the Basque village of Mondragón, where the majority of the population works in cooperatives.
What if we could live in a clean world?
For more than 15 years, cameraman and ecologist John D. Liu has been working on his worldwide mission to green deserts and to restore biodiversity.
50 years after Congo’s independence, Rudi Vranckx undertakes a journey, not without its risks, through our vast former colony – a world where once our flag fluttered in the breeze.
Two days in the lives of autistic teenager Jerome, his coach Kevin and Jerome’s mother Anita
It is simply reading tea leaves.
This documentary is a triptych with three stories, involving three characters.
Assuming the role of a speculator, director Kees Brouwer tries to find out whether he is merely taking advantage of the opportunity offered to investors by the food scarcity, or that, through this abstract world of financial products, he is drastically interfering in poor people’s lives.
Sasha Volgina, a 31-years old Russian, is HIV positive and pregnant. At the moment, Russia has the fastest growing AIDS-epidemic in the world. More than 1 million Russian people have HIV, most of them younger than 35.
He was born in the wrong century. Redmond O’Hanlon, the author of bestselling books like Into the heart of Borneo, In trouble again and Congo journey, decides to follow in the footsteps of his heroes: the explorers of the 19th century. The men who left everything behind to discover those blank spots on the map where no one had ever set foot before.
Travelling with O’Hanlon is a highly unpredictable event. Wherever he shows up things seem to change forever. The combination of his vast knowledge, his self mocking nature and his childish desire to go all the way makes following his journeys an often hilarious adventure.
Six heart breaking stories – six letters – six children – six countries.
The IKON TV-series Letter From My Child contains 6 x 30′ documentaries. The six documentaries (Brazil, Haïti, Uganda, USA, The Philippines and Uganda) focus on families in six countries all over the world. Countries where families have to bear the consequences of armed conflict, violence or crime, natural and economic disaster, human rights’ violations and social exclusion.
Paradiso highlights, as in an exhilarating rollercoaster ride, all aspects of the Amsterdam pop temple in a film in which the musicians are central, so it’s first and foremost also about what it means to perform in front of an audience.
A journey through Poland and the city of Krakow, guided by the Polish poet and Nobel Prize winner Wislawa Szymborska. A quest for the ‘fragments of human existence’, which she digs up and polishes into shining nuggets of poetry.
September 11 sent a shock wave through the world that has lasted for ten years.
If this piece of music had never been composed, the lives of many people would have been fundamentally different.
Coffee, Cake & Crematorium is an intriguing documentary about up-and-coming funeral tourism in the German-Dutch border region.
How do you live after suicide?
Through a series of poetic still lives, documentary filmmaker Nathalie Basteyns paints a moving portrait of families struggling with this question.
Apart from tulips and windmills, Holland is internationally known for its soft drugs policy.
Adopting a child has become an increasingly commen practice. But do we wonder where these children come from?
A documentary about the Dutch SS, men that were considered as the prime example of collaborators during the Second World War.
In total, 25,000 Dutch men joined the Waffen SS, boosting Hitler’s army.
To celebrate her 40th birthday, NOS Television has broadcasted in 2011 (16th of May, 2011) an exclusive profile of Princess Máxima.
For a year, NOS Television filmed the princess on numerous occasions: we see her at work, both at home and abroad, and witness special and everyday family moments at her home ‘Villa Eikenhorst’ in Wassenaar.
Female CEO’s are scarce in the banking world. Surprisingly, in the Malaysian world of Haute Finance female executives are at the forefront. What connects these female professionals is a respect for the Sharia laws and ethics in banking, while at the same living their lives as modern day career women.
The artist Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) is known around the world as a genius who for artistic reasons embarked on new roads in the history of art. But why did he paint all those self-portraits, where did he stand with respect to the art of portrait painting, why did he dedicate himself to etching and why did he have such a large studio with so many students?
Filmmaker Frank van Osch travelled through Indonesia where he searched for former ‘comfort women’, together with photographer Jan Banning (World Press Photo Award 2004) and journalist Hilde Janssen. During the Second World War these women were forced to carry out sexual activities in military brothels, encampments and Japanese barracks.
The voyage of the HMS Beagle has been described as the most important journey ever made. During his travels, Charles Darwin gathered information and knowledge that would drastically change the way we look at the world.
On the 6th of May 2010, the American stock markets plunged by almost 10% in only 20 minutes.
This personal documentary tells the story of 35-year old filmmaker Marieke Schellart, struggling with her ticking biological clock.
Violinist Ivry Gitlis is known as one of the greatest musical talents of his generation. He belongs to the group of violin legends from the 20th century, a league of its own, that also includes Yehudi Menuhin, Isaac Stern, Ida Haendel and George Enesco.
Jewelry designer Ted Noten (1956) is well-known for his cheeky pieces of jewelry. Are they wearable? Not necessarily. Are they provocative? Absolutely.
A series of see-through purses containing a gun, a chameleon or a line of coke with a pearl necklace… At first glance, Noten seems to be a man of the brutal gesture. But does he merely want to provoke, or is there more to it?
Filmmaker Karin Junger explores the Nederlands Dans Theather (DNT) through the eyes of two dancers currency with the company, and two former dancers who were part of the company in its very beginnings. We follow the ups and downs of a dancer’s life, the hard work, the joys of creation, and the sacrifices often made in the private life and physical condition of the average dancer.
Are the West and the Muslim world heading for an inevitable clash or are we just experiencing the growing pains of a rapidly globalizing and multicultural world?
The true story of a group of women who escaped from the deathmarch in 1945
Brilliant and wayward in equal measure, Dutch artist G.P. Fieret (1925-2009) shares his life with us through his self-portraits and grainy photographs of women.
FAREWELL tells the story of Lady Grace Drummond-Hay, the only female passenger on the first journey around the world of the Graf Zeppelin in 1929.
Erik Kessels (1966) is co-founder of the unconventional advertising agency KesselsKramer, graphic designer, curator but moreover he is a passionate photo collector, which he exhibits in books.
Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) left us a small oeuvre of only 36 paintings.
Is microfinance the answer to poverty? We follow two young ambitious Gambian bankers in their attempts to make Reliance into a steady microfinance institution. Will they succeed in this interesting and expanding market?
After returning from Auschwitz, Otto Frank, the only survivor of the family, is confronted with Anne’s diary. He renews ties with his daughter by reading it.
Born on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, best friends Ezat and Bayan are given the chance to study in their parents’ homeland: Syria. Shout is a film about their search for adventure and a sense of belonging in one of the world’s most persistent conflict zones.
Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf is on the threshold of an important year: his most recent photographic series, Hope, Grief and Rain appear to have given him an international breakthrough and, for the first time, major international museums are showing an interest.
In the penetrating film ‘Fear’ director Michiel van Erp follows the lives of six people, all dealing with an anxiety disorder.
A portrait of Derrick, Erika and Jannae, representing the thousands of abused children in the United States who have been removed from their homes. Through dating techniques and glamour photography they try to present themselves as appealing as possible to potential adoptive parents, in their search for a new home.
The miraculous story of a Christian boy who was converted to Islam and became one of the greatest architects of the 16th century.
Van Gogh the artist is world-famous but the popular conception of Van Gogh the man is disorted.
This documentary tells the fascinationg stories behind the masterpieces of Frans Hals.
A gypsy village is suddenly confronted with huge dilemmas after they are portrayed as backward people from Kazachstan in the motion picture ‘Borat’.
The world-famous Portuguese pianist Maria João Pires lives on a beautiful farm, somewhere in rural Portugal, close to the Spanish border. Far away from urban centres and sparsely populated, it is a vast site of wild natural beauty. Once she longed for a place where she could hide away, where she could be herself and not have to live up to other people’s expectations.
All over the world there are places with many thousands of years of shared history. Some of these locations are considered to have worldwide significance and are officially listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
Dutch fashion duo Viktor & Rolf first became famous as conceptual, artistic designers. But after years of being regarded as eccentric designers that were a tad too avant-garde for the fashion mainstream, the duo finally stepped into the haute-couture limelight when they struck a deal with cosmetics-titan L’Oréal to develop their own perfume.
Rutger Hauer is by far the most famous Dutch actor ever. Forever known for ‘Soldier of Orange’, ‘Turkish Delight’, popular children’s series ‘Floris’ (all by director Paul Verhoeven) and of course ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘The Hitcher’ – titles that go way back.
For thousands of years Egyptian mummies have been abused, destroyed to make paint, ground up as medicine or unwrapped in public displays.
Few facts are known about the Dutch painter Frans Hals as a person, but one can learn a lot about him as an artist by observing his paintings closely.
Marlene Dumas is one of the best-known contemporary artists in the world. She was born and bred in South Africa and has worked and lived in Holland since 1976.
A film on poetry, the Russian Mafia, suicide, love and the tragedy of the Perestroika years. A portrait of a young 21st-century poet for whom life became unbearable.
A documentary by Liesbeth Hagen on myth and reality about the Harem in Western art.
Here Comes the Sun! is a 50-minute story that will change your ideas about the future of energy
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With rising temperatures and rising gas prices, cars need to become greener fast. And superficially, the large car manufacturers seem to work hard to improve the fuel efficiency of their products. But are they really? The technology to make cars much more fuel efficient already exists for decades, but it never makes it to the showroom. Why do we have to wait so long for fuel efficient vehicles?
Hristina is invisible. Quiet and unnoticed, she cleans houses. Each day a different house each day the same work. She is a Bulgarian, living in Amsterdam. Contact with her employers takes place mainly through notes. To come to terms with her life, she takes photographs of the interiors of ‘her’ houses. Together these photos form the house she inhabits in the Netherlands. A house that holds her prisoner.
The challenging search of photograher/director Sander Veeneman for three young adults living in poverty in Mozambique, South Africa and Peru.
Everyday paediatricians ath the neonatology ward of a hospital struggle with ethical dilemmas concerning the life and death of newborn babies.
The dilemmas surrounding euthanasia are nowhere in the world as openly under discussion as in the Netherlands. However, this does not make the issues any less emotionally charged. Backlight follows the negotiations between a doctor, a patient and the family in an Amsterdam nursing home.
Step by step, film maker Paul Molijn traces the life of the famous master Vincent van Gogh. We see the current surroundings of the places where the artist lived and worked, alternated with drawings and paintings he made there.
The love story of Westerbork Girl Hannelore Cahn, her great love Rob de Vries who freed her in World War II from the Westerbork transit camp and the man who tracked her down: Hans Eisinger. A week after her escape she returned to the camp with him. Voluntarily. A decision that still haunts her today.
Two circus artists, Achat and Tarsun, are forced to choose between continuing the old circus tradition and politics. Their different choices seriously affect their lifelong friendship.
This outstanding documentary by Paul Molijn about the life and work of Rembrandt van Rijn tells the story of Rembrandt by giving an insight into the time in which he lived and the circumstances in which Rembrandt’s career was formed. The documentary lets us travel along with Rembrandt in a geographical reconstruction of his life. It features a cavalcade of beautiful images, showing where Rembrandt found his inspiration.
A future scenario for the Place of Judgment, the Middle East
For many years now the American foreign policy has been characterized by the strong tie between the United States and Israel. Does the United States in fact keep Israel on its feet? And how long will it continue to do so?
A documentary about great fame and eternal love. The life story of Lisl Goldarbeiter (Austria’s first and only Miss Universe) and her cousin Marci Tänzer (amateur film maker).
A documentary about the Cradle to Cradle principle: designers and manufacturers should incorporate the recyclability of the materials of which the products are made off.
The most authentic form of train travels around the world will be explored in this wonderful new series.
Johan Cruijff’s international fame as a football legend is still alive in Barcelona, the city where ‘number 14’ himself lives nowadays and where he has played many matches. Thirteen people from Barcelona talk about the most important moment Cruijff has given them.
A wonderful documentary about traditional African architecture
Registration of the popular Prinsengrachtconcerts which are traditionally held each year on the old canals of Amsterdam (available on HD; the concerts before 2009 are not HD).
The history of railway tracks, pioneers and travellers.
There is more life in the desert than meets the eye.
A beautiful documentary on a very special part of Israel’s nature.
This documentary tells the story of the white pelican and its amazing annual 14,000 kilometre long journey from the Delta of the Danube River in southern Romania to the lakes of Africa and back.
The Hula valley is located in northern Israel where a basalt rock blocked the Jordan River exit long ago and created a big swamp, which has become a paradise for dozens of species of migrating, wintering and nesting waterfowl.
A film about the first real explorers of the universe, the Russian cosmonauts,
A two part series on the fuel that will change the world forever.
An interesting portrait of the life and work of the famous Dutch photographer of celebrities, Anton Corbijn
A portrayal of megalomania, fascinating in its thoroughness and shocking in its revelation of how one person can destroy a whole nation.
A three-part series on nature and wildlife in Israel.
The line begins at Disentis in Switzerland and ends in Tirano in Italy
A three-part nature series on mice, snakes, birds of prey and wolves