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Digital Sketches

digital citizen media, ict with a focus on Central Asia and the Middle East.

Tag Archives: Amsterdam

My favourites for the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) are this year:

Burma VJ; winner of the Joris Ivens Award and the ‘Movies That Matter’ Human Rights Award and also my number one.

Afghan Star; how about the tv programme Idols in Afghanistan? A film  about national roadshow in search of Afghanistan next big star.

When Carmen meets Borat; Carmen is 17 years old and lives in Glod; a small gypsy village somewhere in the Romanian mountains. She works daily in the shop and pub of her father. But Carmen dreams of a future somewhere else; somewhere she can find her ideal husband and lead a fantastic and rich life. She watches Spanish soap operas on TV and learns Spanish. When a man named Borat and his film crew appear; the villagers cooperate on what they believe will be a documentary.

Rough Aunties; “Fearless, feisty and resolute, the ‘Rough Aunties’ are a remarkable group of women unwavering in their stand to protect and care for the abused, neglected and forgotten children of Durban, South Africa.”

The Queen and I;  ‘Whereas during the Iranian Revolution in the late seventies the leftist documentary-maker Nahid Persson helped depose the shah the Iranian king. In reaction to these reprimands, Nahid decides to make a film about the last Iranian queen Farah, who lives abroad, like herself. This leads to a fascinating encounter of two women with clashing political visions, who develop an improbable friendship in the two years of their association’


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Last night Nitin Sawhney performed in Amsterdam. His concert in de Melkweg was part of the Amsterdam India festival. This concert tour is also to promote his latest album, London Undersound. It discusses how London has changed in the last few years – particularly since the London bombings of 7/7/2005. The album tells how Nitin and his collaborators have perceived that change.

I always try to attend his concerts in Holland because a night with Nitin is a wonderful experience. He is serious and playful, he has with a nose for good musicians and he dares to be silent. Years ago he started mixing flamenco, Indian voices and tablas, drum’n’ bass, rai etcetera. The result might sometimes be a bit slick, but most of the times wonderful balanced and surprisingly powerful. As was the case last night in the packed Melkweg.

After the concert he signed the new cd, as he did two years ago after his concert in Paradiso. Like real fans, I took a picture of my old-time friend Astrid with our hero.


Last night a rumour was spreading Nitin and Natacha Atlas will perform together in 013 in Tilburg, somewhere mid January. That really sounds tempting! I will certainly reserve some space for this event in my new agenda. Have a look at and listen to Nintin Sawhney on You Tube. Enjoy!

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Prinses Irene
Iedere woensdag werd Folia opgemaakt op de zetterij van Vrij Nederland in een zijstraat van de Kalverstraat. Op een dag sta ik in de lift met een zeer gedistingeerde dame die me bekend voorkomt. Het blijkt prinses Irene, die onder kantoortijd een bezoekje brengt aan haar dan nog geheime scharrel, Vrij Nederland-hoofdredacteur Joop van Tijn.

Onder de sollicitanten voor een jaarcontract als leerling-redacteur was er een die een knoop op tafel legde. ‘Deze knoop’, zei hij, ‘komt van het colbert van minister Deetman. Die heb ik er persoonlijk van afgerukt bij de opening van het P.C. Hoofthuis.’ Voor de sollicitatiecommissie stond de geschiktheid van de kandidaat daarmee onomstotelijk vast. De jongeman werd aangenomen en heeft nog jaren voor Folia gewerkt.

Lekker kontje
De getalenteerde en veelzijdige leerling-redacteur Beau van Erven Dorens werd op reportage gestuurd naar OV-jaarkaart BV in Rotterdam, om hem ook eens iets  serieus te laten doen. De dag erop bibberde een fax binnen van de directeur: er zaten nogal wat fouten in het conceptartikel. Maar verder was de Folia-verslaggever ‘toch wel een lieve jongen’ geweest met bovendien ‘een lekker kontje’. De naam van de directeur van OV-jaarkaart BV: Pim Fortuyn.

Enkele anekdotes van Sjaak Priester, mijn oude hoofdredacteur. Meer Folia herinneringen op Folia60jaar

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About one third of the Dutch is enjoying their holidays. It may sound nasty but this way Holland is at its best. Less crowded, less stress and lots of festivals.

Last week I visited the my old time favourite, Het Over IJ Festival. It is mainly theatre, in various forms, played inside and outdoors at the NDSM wharf, by now familiar city oasis for the festival. I saw Meisje Loos (autobiografic, well played, multimedia) and Wild Boys (lively, rough and subtle). I watched both performances at the same evening, so I do not know how many people in total visited the festival. I noticed it was rather quite – for example only 30 people attended Meisje Loos – which is curious because quality, atmosphere and prices are inviting. This festival deserves bigger audiences.

The after performance drinks we had – sitting on a green sofa in the mild summer evening – made this small and sympathetic festival delightful again.

Last weekend I visited for the first the legendary North Sea Jazz Festival, in Rotterdam. It seems the definition for jazz is very broad (including R&B, soul, funk and world music). I saw and heard Zuco 103 and Al Jarreau and furthermore zapped through several concerts, varieting from classical, latin, experimental jazz and everything in between. I found the North Sea audience surprisingly civilized, without being snobbish. Strolling between different locations, the outdoor terracces proved to be great places – especially the disco on top of the roof – to hang out and to refill.

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