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; be tolerant

column 2022;

Jason Loftus


Last year, I was at Beholders; documentary dialogues with my son. It was my first time at this festival and my first time in Meierijstad. It was a wonderful experience, from the beginning to the end. We immersed ourselves in the Dutch culture: Bossche bollen, worstenbroodjes and historical city centres. And we felt welcome.

But the friendly people and things we saw in the Netherlands are not the only reasons that we really enjoyed Beholders last year. It was the format, the focus on the dialogue, the engagement of the audience as well. Every filmmaker wants to make impact with his story. That’s why you do it. You see a story that isn’t right and you want to bring that story. That’s what I did with my films Ask No Questions and Eternal Spring: I knew something wasn’t right and I wanted these stories to be told.

I think impact comes when people are deeply moved by your topic. The concept of Beholders, with the focus on the dialogue and bringing together an engaged audience around a topic, makes the screening an in-depth-exploration of the film. In that way the impact is enlarged. What also makes it valuable is the dialogue between the audience and us as filmmakers. It really is a two-way dialogue, and that is interesting and insightful. We, as filmmakers, don’t have all the answers, we just make films about important things. That’s why we need the dialogue. Those different thoughts, conversations, views and new insights help me to see the relevance of my film and to understand where my film fits in the world. They refresh my own perspective at the film and help me moving forward with it.

Beholders is so much more than just screenings. It is a wonderful concept. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did last year!

Jason Loftus
Eternal Spring (2022)
Ask No Questions (2021)