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Personal Invitation
Movies that Matter Festival 2023
MtMF23 - Connect

This year’s Movies that Matter Festival – the international human rights film festival – will take place in The Hague and at satellite locations across the Netherlands from 24 March to 1 April. We present more than eighty exceptional feature films, high-profile documentaries and shorts, with an extensive in-depth programme.


In times like these, dialogue and encounters are more important than ever. With the selected films and in-depth programmes, the Movies that Matter Festival wants to contribute to breaking down walls in society and encourage people to connect.


It is therefore our great pleasure – also on behalf of our main partner the National Postcode Lottery – to invite you to the opening night and a number of special film evenings at the Movies that Matter Festival 2023.


Please find more information below. Would you like to attend one or more evenings? Please let us know no later than Monday 6th March using the button below. 

Opening Night

The 15th edition of the Movies that Matter Festival will be opened on Friday 24 by Gunay Uslu, State Secretary Culture and Media. The festival will kick off with the world premiere of Kleinkinderen van de Oost (Waves of War) by Daan van Citters. 


Van Citters starred as an actor with Joenoes Polnaija in the feature film The East (Jim Taihuttu, 2021), where a close friendship developed between the two on set. In Kleinkinderen van de Oost, they follow the trail of their grandfathers in Indonesia, who both fought for the Netherlands against Indonesian independence: Daan’s grandfather as a war volunteer from the Netherlands, Joenoes’ as a Moluccan soldier in the Royal Dutch East Indies Army.


Daan van Citters and Joenoes Polnaija are both present for an after-talk about the film. Milouska Meulens will present the evening.


Friday 24 March at 20.00 hrs, Theater aan het Spui

Activist Night

The Activist Night on Tuesday 28 March will focus on eight human rights defenders and their films. The directors of the films will also attend.  The evening will be opened by Human Rights Ambassador Bahia Tahzib-Lie. Prior to the screening of the documentary A Story of Bones, Sahar Shirzad will have a conversation with activist Annina Van Neel and director Joseph Curran.


In A Story of Bones, we follow Namibian Annina Van Neel, who works for a company building an airport on St Helena. There, she hears about the discovery of mass graves of enslaved people on the island. As Annina works to find a dignified resting place, she encounters resistance, indifference, and the stubborn legacy of colonialism.


Tuesday 28 March at 20.00 hrs, Theater aan het Spui  

Dutch Movies Matter Night

The Dutch Movies Matter programme focuses on Dutch feature films and documentaries. As different as they are, they have one thing in common: they focus their lens on social injustice and human dignity. On Wednesday 29 March, we will screen the feature film Die middag by filmmaker and one of our main guests Nafiss Nia. Die middag (That Afternoon) tells the story of Roya, who fled from Iran to the Netherlands and is about to be deported. Desperate, she visits a woman who would help refugees. But her door is closed. Behind it a man, with his own despair. Poetic meditation on life as a refugee in the Netherlands, and on the hope you carry with you on your flight.


The evening will be opened by Saskia Bruines, Alderman for Finance, Culture and Economy of the City of The Hague. Filmmaker Nafiss Nia will attend for a post-screening discussion led by programme maker Ikenna Azuike.


Wednesday 29 March at 20.00 hrs, Theater aan het Spui

Camera Justitia Night

The Camera Justitia Night on Thursday 30 March focuses on law and justice. We screen the documentary Theatre of Violence by Lukasz Konopa and Emil Langballe. Sharp, flamboyant lawyer Krispus Ayena leads us along a fascinating, complex quest for the essence of justice. Before the ICC, he defends Dominic Ongwen, a former commander in Joseph Kony’s Ugandan ‘Lord’s Resistance Army’. But Ongwen was himself kidnapped and brainwashed by that same army when he was only 9 years old, and so the question arises: is he a perpetrator or also a victim?


Filmmaker Lukasz Konopa and producer Helle Faber will be present for a post-screening discussion. Presenting the evening is Leila Prnjavorac.


Thursday 30 March at 20.00 hrs, Theater aan het Spui

You can now sign up for these special evenings!

For the opening night, we will provide a maximum of two free tickets. If you are unable to attend or would like to attend one of the other evenings for free, you can. We also offer discounted tickets for the special evenings. For more information, please contact This invitation is strictly personal. Applications are handled in order of receipt. You will receive the e-tickets by email. 



The Movies that Matter Festival 2023 is made possible by main partner Nationale Postcode Loterij and partners Amnesty International, ASN Bank, CFAP, Creative Europe Media, Dioraphte, Gemeente Den Haag, European Cultural Foundation, Fonds 1818, Fonds 21, Janivo, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nederlands Filmfonds, Oak Foundation, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, dagblad Trouw, de Versterking, vfonds, VEVAM and VSBfonds.


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