February 27, 2017

Must-see for movie lovers: New Renaissance Film Festival

From 3 to 5 March 2017 our city hosts another great cinema event: the New Renaissance Film Festival (NRFF). There are more than 100 films in the line-up, including short (international) films, feature films and documentaries from independent filmmakers and screenwriters. All of this is happening at LAB111, the perfect home for a festival focused on creating opportunities for stories of a ‘different’ kind.

As a genuine movie lover, I prefer to watch films and documentaries that give me food for thought. An hour and a half spent in the cinema gives me a way to escape reality for a little while. Sometimes it’s pure relaxation, but often it gives me inspiration, a different outlook on life, a glimpse into someone else’s life, or maybe it touches a nerve. This is exactly the kind of stimulation you can expect from the New Renaissance Film Festival: an event that no indie movie lover will want to miss. Massimo Barbato, one of the event’s founders, recently talked to me about the festival and its films.

Watch the trailer for the 2017 festival

Creative city

“The first festival was last year in London. We didn’t exactly know what to expect, because we had never organised a festival before. However, we got fantastic reactions from the press and filmmakers. We’ve even made it into the top 20 of best film festivals in the UK. After last year’s launch, Amsterdam was the logical next choice”, says Massimo. “Apart from the fact that co-founder Jan Hendrik Verstraten has lived in Amsterdam, there’s no denying the international appeal of the city to creative talent (artists), and the city’s tremendous vibe.”

True renaissance

The idea for NRFF came into being when Jan Hendrik and Massimo were promoting their award-winning short film ‘I am Henry’ at film festivals. The filmmaker and writer were inspired by their love of dramatic films. But also by the fact that new technology is causing a true renaissance in the film industry: it costs much less these days to produce a movie. With a view to talent and creativity, the organisers want to create opportunities for filmmakers and screenwriters who might get overlooked in the world of mainstream cinema.



A major part of the programming is devoted to LGBTQ films. “We believe that it’s important for a film festival to shed new light on current issues. We want to expose mainstream audiences to the enormous diversity of talent that they normally don’t see. We’re really excited about the varied and fascinating programme, and we hope that it touches and inspires the visitors”, says Massimo.


The programme of international short films includes work from a select group of European filmmakers. Many of these films have won awards, and almost every one of them will be screened in the Netherlands for the first time. For example, the acclaimed ‘Nkosi Coiffure’ by Belgian director Frederike Migom, centred on relationship problems. Another highlight is the French-Greek production ‘Limbo’ by Konstantina Kotzamani. In a mysterious world between water and land, inhabited solely by children, something extraordinary happens: the carcass of a whale washes ashore. In the arthouse comedy ‘Seat in Shadow’ by Henry Coombe (UK), we see a bizarre relationship between an aging and tired psychologist and his patient, the troubled grandson of a good friend, who is depressed and has just discovered that he is gay. Less serious, in fact hilarious, is the film ‘Faux Paws’ about a gay werewolf. You can view the complete programme here.

The three-day festival also features workshops, master classes, panel discussions and Q & A sessions with filmmakers. The awards ceremony takes place on Sunday.

New Renaissance Film Festival, 3-5 March 2017

Venue: LAB111

Film programme

NRFF Facebook page

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