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Bas Broertjes • Producer

"Documentary film can show you a mirror”


- An interview with producer Bas Broertjes of the Netherlands's Kaliber Film, one of the participants of Jihlava's 2018 Emerging Producers

Bas Broertjes • Producer

An interview with producer Bas Broertjes of the Netherlands's Kaliber Film, one of the participants of Jihlava's 2018 Emerging Producers.

Why do you produce documentaries? Do you believe that they have the power to change the world?
Bas Broertjes: 
I really love to make documentaries because the team is relatively small and you focus much more on the reality of real life. It gives you the opportunity to show a person or a place to the audience that they may never have seen before. I honestly believe that with a documentary you can change the way people feel about things because films can show you a mirror and offer the opportunity to reflect on life itself. One of the most powerful documentaries I have seen was Autumn Gold by Jan Tenhaven. It really gave me such joy and energy to watch that film and it made me think differently of older people.  

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What do you think is the future of distribution of documentary films?
With Netflix and other platforms there are many different ways of reaching your audience. I think we will continue to find more ways to distribute our films other than traditional theatrical release. You still see that TV has a strong position in distributing and financing documentaries but I think that will shift to other platforms, especially online ones. That’s why we are also focusing on stories that can be told online on different platforms. 

What projects do you have under way?
We are developing and producing a big multiplatform documentary series called Big Village. It explores the stories of Iranian Kurdish people in diaspora and follows the journey of filmmaker Beri Shalmashi in her search for identity and her place in that story. Furthermore, this year we are shooting a short documentary called A Promised Land by director Wout Malestein about young people dealing with the closed society they live in, a small and Christian village in the Netherlands. They struggle with the choice, either to continue living in this particular community like they are supposed to do, or make the hard choice to break with tradition and leave the village for a different life somewhere else. Other than these two projects we are also developing a story about changing habits and traditions concerning food in the Netherlands, showing that, in our opinion, integration is not a failure. Together we eat different kinds of foods from many cultures, without thinking twice about it.


Emerging Producers is a promotional and educational project, which brings together talented European documentary film producers. The programme is organised and curated by the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival.

Deadline for applications to the Emerging Producers 2019 edition is 31 March, 2018. Click here.

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