When Are You Coming Back, Kees?

kees schaap, Mark Schaap

In 1987, film student Kees Schaap made a documentary about a Palestinian family living on the West Bank. They were on the verge of losing their land. Thirty years later Schaap returns, filled with doubt. Did he promise too much? Did the family expect the film to save them?

Thirty years after he last spoke to Palestinian Adnan, whose family was the subject of his first documentary, filmmaker Kees Schaap receives a voicemail message: ‘It’s been a long time! When are you coming back, Kees?’ The call prompts a return to his old friends, accompanied by his son Mark, an aspiring filmmaker himself.

But Kees is uncomfortable. When he made his film, Adnan’s family threatened to lose its land to Israeli settlers. They were hoping that by telling the world their story, their land would be saved. Now, the family’s land is gone. The film did not save them. It was seen by maybe six hundred film students. As Kees and Mark warmly reconnect with Adnan and his family and find out what life is like under Israeli occupation, they discuss a filmmaker’s responsibility. Is it your duty to show injustice that is ignored by the world?


kees schaap, Mark Schaap
Country of production
Netherlands, The
54 minutes
Spoken language
Arabic, Dutch
Production company
Episode One / VARA