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12 Dutch Films at Cleveland International Film Festival

April 4 to 15 the Cleveland International Film Festival features twelve (semi-)Dutch (short) films

April 4 to 5 the Cleveland International Film Festival features 12 Dutch contributions in various disciplines.

This 42th edition will take place at the Tower City Cinemas and select neighborhood screening locations, and represents 72 countries with 215 feature films, 235 short films 14 virtual reality films, and 6 interactive media projects. 

Tickets go on sale to members Friday, March 16th at 11:00 a.m. and to the general public on Friday, March 23rd at 11:00 a.m.


Feature Films


An Act of Defiance (Bram Fischer, 2017)

Jean van de Velde | 123 min.

In 1963 South Africa was ruled by the brutal system of apartheid. After a raid on a farm in Rivonia—a suburb of Johannesburg—ten men were charged with conspiracy to commit violent acts and sabotage against the government. One of the accused was Nelson Mandela, who convinced his fellow defendants to make a political statement by pleading not guilty. Included in Mandela’s group were Jewish anti-apartheid revolutionaries, who also joined the cause to end discrimination. All of the accused faced the possibility of the death sentence.

Representing the men was a sympathetic white lawyer named Bram Fischer, who risked his own freedom and reputation by defending them. He was a secret activist himself—and a member of the Communist Party. This absorbing courtroom drama unfolds in Jean van de Velde’s An Act of Defiance, a riveting political thriller that examines a vital moment in Mandela’s turbulent fight for a free South Africa. It also shines a spotlight on the courageous Fischer, whose crucial contributions to the movement are lesser known.

In English and Afrikaans with subtitles.

  • Thursday, April 5 – 6:30pm
  • Friday, April 6 – 11:120am



Cloudboy (2017)

Meikeminne Clinckspoor | 77 min.

Twelve-year-old Niilas is not having a good summer. Instead of spending it at home in Belgium with his dad, he’s being sent to visit Sweden, where his mother and her family work herding reindeer. Niilas has trouble adjusting to the rugged outdoor lifestyle: he refuses to talk, threatens to run away, and acts out against his two half-siblings and stepfather. It takes a brush with death (and a stern talking-to from his stepsister, Sunna`) to shake him out of his petulant mood and convince him to give life in Sweden a chance.

Niilas starts to stretch his comfort zone and, by the end of the film, has a chance to make amends for his destructive actions—if only he can muster up the courage to embrace the unfamiliar and conquer his fears. With its gorgeous scenery and understated acting, Cloudboy ends up being a touching look at the healing power of unconditional love. 

In Dutch, Swedish, and Sami with subtitles.

  • Thursday, April 12 – 5:50pm
  • Friday, April 13 – 12:50pm
  • Saturday, April 14 – 9:30am



Disappearance (2017)

Boudewijn Koole | 92 min.

There’s frosty tension between photojournalist Roos and her ex-concert pianist mother Louise—and it’s not just because Disappearance is set in the snow-blanketed Norwegian mountains. The women are at odds over long-standing disagreements that are always on the precipice of boiling over. Still, Roos tries to make the best of things despite this rocky relationship. She bonds with her 13-year-old half-brother Bengt (an artistic teen who’s fond of experimenting with sound) and reconnects with an old flame to have some illicit fun.

Yet Disappearance‘s hidden fractures can’t help but surface—and come to a painful breaking point—after Roos confesses a wrenching secret she’s been harboring. The news is devastating, although it ultimately gives Louise a chance to give her daughter the kindest gift of all, at least under the circumstances. Nuanced and subtle, Disappearance examines the complicated familial bonds we all navigate, while giving viewers plenty of leeway to draw their own conclusions.

In English, Dutch, and Norwegian with subtitles.



Quality Time (2017)

Daan Bakker | 85 min.

Dutch director Daan Bakker makes his feature debut with a doozy of a movie consisting of five separate tales of 30-something-year-old men wading through the waters of insecurity and ineptitude. The first part of Quality Time is the story of Koen and his disinterest in chugging ham and milk at a family gathering—which he does at his family’s urging, only to become sick. Next is Stefaan, who has moved back home with his parents and visits locations from his life so he can take photos of these monumental sites. Kjell travels back in time to try and fix his insecurities with a rather brilliant plan involving a medieval fantasy tour.

Quality Time ends with a quick tour of an alien abduction before moving to the final and longest of the tales when we watch Jef work rather hard and incompetently to impress his girlfriend’s family. Bakker has mastered inventive storytelling, with each of the stories utilizing different mechanics and form. And even as the characters are searching for charm, Quality Time is all charm and more.

In Dutch and Norwegian with subtitles.

  • Tuesday, April 10 – 12:00pm | Taste of the Festival
  • Friday, April 13 – 1:30pm
  • Saturday, April 14 – 8:35pm 



Ron Goossens, Low-Budget Stuntman (2017)

Steffen Haars, Flip van der Kuil | 74 min.

When a video of Ron drunkenly trying to jump an open drawbridge goes viral, he becomes an internet sensation. Catching the attention of a shady manager, Ron is given the opportunity of becoming a stuntman on the next blockbuster starring Holland’s most successful actress, Bo Maerten. Ron ignores the offer at first, until he finds out his wife has been sleeping with pretty much the whole town. Not wanting to lose her, he agrees to her insane ultimatum: if he’s charming enough to woo Bo into bed, she’ll stay his wife.

Ron ultimately agrees to accept the stuntman offer, getting as hammered as possible in order to carry out such ludicrous stunts as stumbling off a building and getting thrown through a window by a guy in a gorilla costume. Will he survive his destructive attempts to seduce Bo, or will he literally crash and burn?
Ron Goossens, Low-Budget Stuntman is a fall down, blacked-out, sloppy comedy that will leave both you and Ron in stitches.

In Dutch with subtitles.

  • Thursday, April 5 – 4:20pm
  • Friday, April 6 – 9:45pm



Tulipani: Love, Honour and a Bicycle (2017)

Mike van Diem | 90 min.

Anna has come to the tiny village of Puglia, Italy to fulfill her mother’s wish of scattering her ashes there. Everyone in Puglia seems to know or remember Anna—and her past, which she knows nothing of. Suddenly Anna is laying in a hospital and facing possible murder charges. With the help of some villagers very eager to tell the story in their own unique way, the winding tale of Anna’s past is spun for the local police commissioner.

Tulipani is the saga of Anna’s parentage, recounted with the magic of myth. It is a tale of heroes and villains, triumph and tragedy. Somewhere, shimmering among these jewels of carefully remembered events, is the heartwarming truth of a loving family and what they did to survive. This humorous and touching film is designed to weave an enchantment around the viewer, where facts mean less than honoring the past, and love and beauty are the only truths that matter.

In English, Italian, and Dutch with subtitles.

  • Thursday, April 5 – 7:10pm
  • Friday, April 6 – 11:35am
  • Saturday, April 7 – 9:15am




Short Films


Game Nights (Spelletjesavond, 2016)

Jan van Gorkum | 15 min.

An innocent board game turn into a nightmare for Liz, when she clashes with her new mother-in-law Ingrid.



Half a Life (2017)

Tamara Shogaolu | 13 min.

After a traumatic encounter, a young, gay Egyptian joins the LGBT rights movement. When his safety is jeopardized, he must choose whether to stay in the country he loves or seek asylum elsewhere as a refugee.



Music Video


Because I Love You – Chef’Special

David-Jan Bronsgeest (2017)



Terraform – Novo Amor & Ed Tullett

Sil van der Woerd & Jorik Dozy (2017)



Interactive Media Projects


Dance Tonite

Jonathan Puckey, Moniker, Google Data Arts Team (2017) | 10 min.

Featuring the new song by LCD Soundsystem, Tonite, virtually go from room to room experiencing a series of dance performances created entirely by fans.

Part of the Perspectives exhibition


Very Very Short

Bram Loogman et al. (2017) | all under 60 seconds.

Life is short. Now more than ever. We want it all. We want it now. Right away. Very Very Short is a collection of interactive projects for smartphones, exploring the theme of mobility through very, very short experiences.

Part of the Perspectives exhibition


DutchCulture USA