1. Floor van der Meulen (33) proved with her feature film debut Pink Moon that she could also direct actors.
Hasn’t Floor van der Meulen outgrown the talent status now? Okay, she met this year Pink Moon a beautiful feature film debut in which a healthy man in his seventies wants to end his life, and his daughter in her thirties cannot possibly understand that. And she is certainly still young for a film director: only 33. But three years ago she also hit the cinemas with her beautiful, essayistic documentary about the world’s last white rhinoceros, The last man on earth. And before that she made a strong TV drama about Syrian fighters, In freedom (2016), which in turn is the result of her controversial documentary Stormers of paradise (2014).
So: talent? “I don’t know if I would characterize myself as a talent,” says the directing talent from 2022 himself. ‘Pink Moon is my first fiction film to hit theaters. It seems like your career is starting again. People go to the cinema more for fiction than for documentary. You really get more attention. But for me the difference is not that big.’
Anyone entering the fiction arena from the documentary world feels the eyes of outsiders on them: Can they direct actors? She proved to be able to do that. ‘I am proud that the film feels good in this area, that it touches people.’
How did it happen? It started with telling a story close to her heart together with screenwriter Bastiaan Kroeger. ‘We looked at our surroundings and our families and turned them into fiction, so that you already know the characters inside and out, without it becoming autobiographical. I made it so clear that the actors were always allowed to say when they don’t feel or believe something. And I had Mijke de Jong (her refugee drama Along the road premiered this year, ed.) as instructor trainer behind me. She is so open, I have learned a lot from that. As a director, you have to be strict when you have to, but you give everyone a breath of fresh air when you recognize that you don’t have a monopoly on the truth. Apparently, I grew up with the old-fashioned, male director ideal: Someone who should know everything. But it’s actually nice when your sound engineer whispers a golden tip in your ear that makes you think: never thought about that, but it is.’
2. As a photographer and filmmaker, Kevin Osepa (28) persisted in his love of rituals in his art.
The ‘magical thinking’ so evident in the first 17 years of his life in Willemstad, Curaçao, moved the photographer and filmmaker Kevin Osepa lost a little weight when he started studying at the University of the Arts (HKU) in Utrecht. Teachers did not understand his penchant for ritual in his art, he said recently de Volkskrant. They interpreted his work as fun rather than taking his intentions seriously. But Osepa remained true to his artistic heart. Last fall, he is now 28, a nice kind of recognition followed. He received the Golden Calf in the best short film category for his uncompromising The ultimate ascension, where Curaçao is depicted as a world of thought, where not only the bond between a mother and her fisherman son proves impossible to break, but also the living, the dead and the colonial past and the post-colonial present are closely intertwined. Osepa’s magical thinking has survived everything.
3. Robert-Jonathan Koeyers (30) scored It’s lovely here painful to see exactly how memory works.
Things were going strong in 2022 Robert Jonathan Koeyers (30). In May, after a production period of three years, he presented his refined animated short film set in America It’s lovely here to an international audience at the Cannes Film Festival. In December, he landed on the official shortlist for an Oscar nomination. It’s lovely here is a film that leaves you speechless because it shows so painfully beautifully and precisely how memory works. In it, we look at the memories of the best friend of a black victim of police brutality and the contrasting testimony of the overworked officer who fired the fatal shots. A film where Koeyers, as he said in The film paper, wants to examine ‘how stories of police brutality are told, forgotten and sometimes take on a whole new form’. Also captured in a powerful, distinctive, expressive animation style. In doing so, Koeyers shows a keen eye for the people behind everyone involved. In a world full of flattened opinions – and he shows them too – where people are so easily forgotten.