Traveling Back In Time: The Dutch Asian Perspective at CinemAsia 2024

CinemAsia not only aims to bring the best of contemporary Asian cinema to the Netherlands, but also seeks to help support the stories of the Dutch Asian diaspora. These stories have always been an important part of our festival and this year no different! At the 20th anniversary of the CinemAsia Film Festival we are proud to present a special selection of Dutch Asian Classics, which translates the diversity and beauty of the diasporic experiences. 

The films in the Dutch Asian Classics category take us back in time, towards the early 2000s. These films were the first ones to tell their story from an insider’s perspective, paving the way for a new generation of filmmakers  and letting their voices be heard. 


JACKY (The Netherlands, 2000),
Dir. Fow Pyng Hu and Brat Ljatifi

Jacky, a second-generation Chinese-Dutch child who grew up in a vacuum between two cultures, is urged by his mother to marry a woman from China, follow tradition, and leave the parental home. CinemAsia presents a new 4K digital presentation of a Dutch-Asian classic (the first Dutch-Chinese film), scanned from the original 35mm camera negatives. The film features one of the most known Chinese-Dutch actresses, Eveline Wu, who also wrote a cookbook with delicious Asian recipes (Simply Asian. De lekkerste Aziatische gerechten om thuis te maken). This one-time screening of the first Dutch-Chinese film will be followed by a Q&A with director Fow Pyng HU.

Screening: WED 6 March 17:35, Studio/K + Q&A


POSITION AMONG THE STARS (The Netherlands, 2010)
Original title: Stand van de Sterren
Dir. Leonard Retel Helmrich

The final part of the late Leonard Retel Helmrich’s trilogy on modern Indonesia, in which he follows three generations of the Christian-Islamic Sjamsuddin family from the slums of Jakarta for 12 years. After the screening, CinemAsia will present him a Lifetime Achievement Award (in memoriam) which will be received on his behalf by his sister, Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich

Screening: WED 6 March 18:45, Rialto de Pijp + Q&A


Original title: Chin.Ind. Een leven achter het doorgeefluikje
Dir. Yan Ting Yuen

Arguably due to her Chinese background, director Yan Ting Yuen managed in this documentary to penetrate behind the serving hatch of one of the many (by now disappearing) Indo-Chinese restaurants. 23 years later, the documentary remains relevant today as more and more Chin. Ind. restaurants are disappearing. Yan Ting, together with co-authors, published the book Chin. Ind. Rest. Kookboek (2023), with the famous “secret” recipes of the restaurants’ unique dishes. The book will be sold after the screening and you will get a chance to get it signed by the author!

Screening: SUN 10 March 12:00, Rialto VU + Q&A


Dir. In-soo Radstake

In-Soo RADSTAKE searches for his true identity in this documentary: is he Dutch or Korean? A personal journey in which he talks with his fellow adoptees and searches for his biological mother. In his debut film, he reclaims his Korean identity, similar to other emerging documentaries which also focus on the histories of people with adoption backgrounds. One of these films is DUMPLING STORIES, a 40-minute VICE documentary on Dutch-Chinese adoptees, which will be screened with MADE IN KOREA and followed by a panel discussion on adoption in the Netherlands.

Screening: THU 7 March 18:30, Rialto VU + Panel


SOUNDS OF ORIGIN (The Netherlands, 2018)
Original title: Klanken van Oorsprong
Dir. Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich

Director Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich shows the story of several Dutch-Indo musicians who, together with more than 350,000 other Dutch-Indo people, were forced to return to their original homeland of the Netherlands between 1945 and 1962. Although all these musicians are very different from each other, they have many things in common: their history of war, fleeing, starting over in a foreign country, and adapting. In addition, music is the biggest outlet for them. This unique film will be followed by a Q&A with the director.

Screening: FRI 8 March 13:55, Studio/K + Q&A


Additionally, you can check out the CROSSING BORDERS: ASIAN-EUROPEAN MEDIA MAKERS shorts program, which includes a selection of Asian-European short films by young filmmakers that deal with Asian diasporic themes concerning the continuing search for identity across borders. Like the filmmakers and represented communities who have crossed continental borders, the films cross the borders of genres, styles, and countries.

The screening will be followed by the panel “Who Can Tell What Story? — Exploring Positionality in Storytelling,” where filmmakers and decision-makers will discuss the complexities of representation and positionality in the Dutch Asian media landscape. It will highlight the significance of diversity and inclusion and what still needs to be done in the industry.

Screening: SUN 9 March 11:30, Studio/K + Q&A



OLD MISS (The Netherlands, 2024)
Dir. Chinh Tran
When a Vietnamese woman is fired from her job as a nanny, she has to decide how to say goodbye to the little children she has taken care of for all their lives.
This film is produced by the CinemAsia FilmLAB. With FilmLAB, we seek to promote the representation of Dutch-Asian film talents by offering them the opportunity to translate their story on to the big screen.

BRINDO (The Netherlands, 02024)
Dir. Andrew Van der Ven
In this documentary, we follow Dewi and Cynthia, who are curious about how their Indo background has shaped their lives. What was life like for their ancestors? How did they come to the Netherlands? And why did they end up in Breda of all places?

THE PERFORMANCE (The Netherlands, 2023)
Dir. Claire Zhou
An authentic, beautifully made film that narrates the autobiographical story of the filmmaker from the perspective of the mother. As the festive New Year celebrations of the Chinese church approach, it becomes increasingly difficult for chorister Lin to hide her trans daughter from the community.

THE CUT (United Kingdom, 2021)
Dir. Zhao Jing
The Cut is a personal essay film which explores what home means to an outsider living in a foreign land. The juxtaposition of sound and image creates a textured and intimate portrait of a street in London called The Cut, where the director herself lives

GAYAU (Belgium, 2023)
Dir. Joey Kwan
A touching and heartwarming film about family, life and death through the lens of a father-daughter relationship. This film is dedicated to the filmmaker’s father. Jennifer and her family’s life are turned upside down when her father is suddenly diagnosed with cancer. Will the Wong family be able to put aside their cultural and generational differences for the sake of their father’s well-being?


You can read more about the Dutch-Asian diasporic experiences and films here. Save the date for 5-10 March for the fantastic films and events at Studio/K, Rialto de Pijp and Rialto VU!