For nine days from the end of September, Utrecht becomes the film capital of the Netherlands and the best place to watch all the latest movies on offer in our country. There’s a bit of everything: feature films, documentaries, animations, short films and television dramas, as well as games, interactive projects and a festival nerve centre in the Winkel van Sinkel, where you can spend long evenings discussing the films with a drink and a bite to eat. The full English programme is on filmfestival.nl/en, but here are a few of our tips.
> 27 September to 5 October, various locations
1) NFF Interactive Expo
You watch feature films in a comfy chair in a packed cinema, but experiencing interactive media is often something you do on your own. The NFF nominated ten virtual reality games and films, installations and multimedia productions for a Gouden Kalf award (the Dutch Oscar). You can watch (or experience) all ten at the free NFF Interactive Expo. In Eight, Mixed Reality allows you to track the life of a woman in reverse order: it starts when she’s seventy, then you see her at thirty-five and finally at eight. Die Fernweh Oper is a VR installation featuring an endless opera being sung by the 30-metre tall singer Astoria. She is singing just for you, about your ridiculous love for her.
> 27 September to 3 October, Academiegalerie (Minrebroederstraat 16) and IMPAKT (Lange Nieuwstraat 4)
2) Shorts: Meeting the Other Woman & At All Costs
Meeting the Other Woman is about Kimberly (Lotte Verbeek), sentenced to death for murdering her lover. An hour before her execution, his grieving wife visits her in hope of hearing answers to her unanswered questions. At All Costs explores the psyche of young students who want to make a career at any price. Even if it means sacrificing their own physical and mental well-being.
3) The Beast in the Jungle
This film by the Dutch director Clara van Gool is based on a novel of the same name by Henry James. Set in a remote English country house, it revolves around the mysterious love story of John Marcher and May Bartram. John is convinced that something sinister will befall him during his life. The feeling is so real that it cripples him. May is the only person he trusts enough to tell, and they decide to wait for the moment together. But their love is doomed from the start.
4) Devil’s Pie – D’Angelo
The Dutch director Carine Bijlsma made this intimate, moving, unusual portrait of d’Angelo, one of the most mysterious figures on the contemporary music scene. His albums Brown Sugar (1995) and Voodoo (2000) gave him an unequalled status in the neo-soul movement.
5) Film in the church
Who wouldn’t want to watch films for free in a church? For three days during the NFF, you can come to the Janskerk to watch free screenings. Check filmfestival.nl/en for the full programme.
> 29 September to 1 October, Janskerk