Leo de Boer is a Dutch film director with a lot of international experience. He studied history at the University of Amsterdam followed by a degree at the Dutch Film Academy. Most of his films were premiered at IDFA or the Int’l FF Rotterdam. Next to his work as director, Leo works as a film editor and teaches as lecturer at the Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU). At IDFA he has coached students in documentary screenplay writing. He also taught documentary at summer schools at VGIK (Moscow), CEU (Budapest) and Les Ateliers Action in Kinshasa, Congo-DR. His work includes documentaries like The Road to Bresson (FF Cannes, section Un Certain Regard), Angels of Death (winner Golden Calf for best short documentary at the Netherlands Film Festival), For Ann Lovett (Dutch entry at the Oscars for best short film). And TV-documentaries such as: Train to Grozny, Under Moscow, The Red Years. Some of his feature length documentaries were distributed internationally: The Red Stuff (awarded at Message to Man FF), Closing in on Tanja (premiered at the Mexico Film Festival, Watch Docs IFF, Verzio IFF), I want my money back (Filmfest. München).
In 2005 my 15-year-old son, Bryan, died of a brain tumor. In the 15 months that preceded his death, I filmed the entire process of his treatment; operations, radiation, chemotherapy, and watched him deteriorate. I had no goal, no film in mind. I just felt a need to record it all, it was a way for me to deal with it. Filming as therapy.
After his death, I continued. I spoke with Bryan's doctors, his high school classmates, and filmed myself in a dialogue with what you might call God. I was desperate for answers, explanations, a reason ...
It resulted in a lot of material that only started looking for a film after years. I think I needed that time before I dared face the confrontation again. Making the film was a lonely, but necessary activity for me. Little by little, the story grew. About how vibrant a young life is and how unjust death can be. About sadness, despair and bitterness. But also about life that wants to go on, about recovery, acceptance and hope.
Now, 16 years after Bryan's death, I dare to share my personal story with others. Sooner or later, we all face the death of a loved one. Everyone copes with that in their own way. For me, it was this film that helped me and gives me hope that Bryan's short existence has not been in vain.
In December and January we toast on everything with everybody. During all the festivities, glasses of wine, beer and champagne are offered excessively. There is always a reason to drink. A party, just to relax, with dinner or on the couch in front of the TV. A piece of cheese and a glass of wine, because we deserve it after a long days’ work, right? For film director Leo de Boer, the bottle, or in his case a jerrycan, has become a dear friend.
When you’re out for an evening it’s almost seen as antisocial if you don't join in drinking.
At the same time, the government's health advice is zero glasses. Is there another way possible?
Together with a group of drinkers like himself, Leo decides to go without alcohol for a month. To see if they still can. While asking themselves what reasons there are to drink.
And why do we drink when we actually know it’s not good for us? For fun? And when is it called addiction?
Booze! will be premiered in Amsterdam in December 2019.
CLOSING IN ON TANJA
A desperate mother and anti-guerrilla fighter
join forces to save her daughter from FARC.
But does she really want to get out…
Director LEO DE BOER
produced by PIETER VAN HUYSTEE
Autumn 2007. A video turns up of a Young Dutch woman who has joined the Colombian guerrilla movement the Farc. Her diaries are also found and are published in 15 languages. Tanja Nijmeijer becomes big news worldwide. In her diaries Tanja expresses unvarnished criticism on the Farc and her life is in danger.
What inspires a girl from a peaceful district in the Netherlands to burn all bridges and to join one of the most violent guerrilla movements in the world? This question also worries filmmaker Leo de Boer. He tries to get in contact with the Dutch Liduine Zumpolle, a Farc-expert and also the woman who disclosed Tanja’s diaries. For decades she has been fighting a lonely battle against the Farc in Colombia. Her organisation Manos por la Paz (Hands for peace) defends the rights of ex-guerrilla warriors and makes it attractive for them to desert.
De Boer pays her a visit and decides to go and search for Tanja in Colombia. During various journeys which take over a year they get closer and closer to Tanja. And closer to the answers to the many questions raised by Tanja’s action. Is she still alive? What happened to her since her diaries were discovered? Where is she now?
De Boer gets in touch with her mother and together they decide to go to Colombia to look for Tanja. Thanks to the many ex-guerrilleros who have turned to Liduine, they gradually get information on Tanja. They are travelling to the region where Tanja is located and are trying to get in touch with her. They are flying with the military patrols of the army that are chasing her by helicopter.
At the same time we hear how Tanja was lured in by the guerrilla when she was a student. And how high the price is that she has to pay for it now. Day after day her life is in danger. And her loved ones; how are they coping with this? De Boer has probing conversations with Tanja’s mother and sister about her. The result is that together they make an ultimate attempt to reach Tanja and stretch out a helping hand.
But does Tanja want to accept this? Can she still accept this?
Pieter van Huystee Film
1015 NA Amsterdam
T +31 20 421 0606 F +31 20 638 6255 www.pvhfilm.nl
I WANT MY MONEY BACK
Director: Leo de Boer
Producer: Pieter van Huystee
I want my money back, is a quest by director Leo de Boer for the money he lost in the financial crisis. He also lost money that his 17-year old son Michael had inherited from his grandparents and that Leo had to safeguard. ‘How should I tell him?’, Leo asks himself at the beginning of the film. Leo got greedy because he wanted the highest interest and best returns on his money. The crisis hit him hard. His losses started with the downfall of the Icelandic miracle bank Icesave. They were followed by Leo’s catastrophic adventures in the investment world, where he tried to regain the money he’d lost.
Looking back, Leo tries to find the answer to the question ‘what got into me!?’
In the film Leo meets people who, like himself, have been hurt by the crisis. When the sky was still the limit they went for the highest interest. But then the bubble burst…
Construction worker Henk lost 1,1 million euros when one of the leading banks in Holland crashed. Marja and Marcelo gave their money to their close friend Fritz N. The ‘Madoff from Deurne’ as this pub owner was branded by the local press. He promised his clients amazing interests. But when the crisis hit and Fritz throws himself in front of a train to avoid the confrontation with his friends, Marja and Marcelo are faced with the high toll of greed.
Leo’s quest also leads him into the world of big finance. The world of bankers and bonuses, where the financial crisis was born. When he sees how things work there, Leo asks himself: ‘what’s the difference between my own behavior and that of the banks?’ ‘Nothing’, replies a former top banker from ABN-AMRO.
I want my money back is as unsettling as Inside Job. But it distinguishes itself from other films on this subject because the greed that Leo shows is the greed in all of us.
I want my money back will be premiered at the IDFA in the competition for best Dutch documentary.
CIRCUSHEART, the dream of Oscar Carré
Director: Leo de Boer
Producer: Pieter van Huystee
The story of the Dutch circus tycoon Oscar Carré. A man who followed his dreams at any price. At the end of the 19th century, Oscar competed with German Circus Kaiser, Ernst Renz, to become the biggest circus director in Europe. Creating theatres in Vienna, Cologne and the famous Carre-theatre in Amsterdam.
Circusheart shows the splendour and innovation that Oscar brought to the circus - waterballets, icerinks, battlescenes. With these giant spectacles he paved the way for Hollywood in the 20s and 30s. In 1887 his long cherished dream came true; the opening of his very own theatre, the Royal Circus Oscar Carré. Up to this day one of the famous landmarks of Amsterdam.
The Circusheart still resonates in the Carre-dynasty. Maurice Carré sr., Oscar’s grandson, still worked in the circus all his life. And Louann Carré, Maurice’s daughter, hangs by her hair 30 meters above the ground as part of her flying act. In the film she uncovers some astonishing details about her great-grandfather’s life.
Oscar's specialty was the dressage of horses. At a time when life revolved around horses, Oscar’s horse whispering skills made him extremely popular with royalty. Queen Sissi of Austria, who was an ardent rider herself, asked Oscar to improve her riding skills. Rumour has it that she even fell for his charms. She gave him Mahmud, her favourite black stallion.
Oscar’s ambition had a price. In a horrible train crash he lost his beloved wife Amalia. Although Oscar was back in the ring four days later - 'the show must go on' - cinema and variety were attracting new audiences and the circus started to lose its momentum. Facing bankruptcy, and being driven to despair, Oscar is forced to make the most dramatic decision in his life. After the last show he takes his beloved horses into the dunes at Scheveningen where he shoots them one by one…
Filmed during the World Christmas Circus in Theater Carre, CIRCUSHEART pays homage to the most stunning acts that circus has to offer, including the Pyonyang trapeze acrobats and the award winning clown Bello Nock. The heritage of Oscar Carré lives on and his great circus still inspires audiences with animals, danger and passion.