Jan van den Berg’s films are mostly about human rights and the environment, but he also created important documentaries on culture, like El Abrazo (1990) about famous tango dancers in Buenos Aires, and the series Utrecht by the Sea on that city’s artists.
Forty years after recording his first film ‘Olvereños’, Jan returns to the topic of that film: small family farms which try to survive under almost impossible circumstances. At the time, many farmers from the Spanish city Olvera migrated to the Netherlands for work. The film was included in several school projects to inform people about the reasons behind this migration flow.
In 1974, it was the continuing drought in Andalusia that forced people to leave their country. In 2013 it are large multinational that force small farmers off their lands on a large scale in various countries around the world. In Silent Land we see how some of these farmers try to resist.
Watch the short documentary on Jan van den Berg’s work, from the series ‘Utrecht by the Sea’:
The Silent Land project also involves educational material for schools and has the same purpose: inspiring people into taking action. The project’s first (short) film ‘When elephants dance, the grass gets beaten’ plays an important role in the introduction to a yet to be finished feature length documentary on the same topic. Jan created the short film from recordings during his field research in Cambodia.
Within his production company drsFILM, Jan collaborates with writers, artists and fellow filmmakers. He won various national and international awards for his films, like a Golden Calf (Deacon of Death, the Netherlands), a Golden Snail (Silent Snow, Bolognia), a Golden Sun Award (Silent Snow, Barcelona), Grand Prize Environment (Cine’eco, Seia).
For more information: www.drsfilm.tv