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Hoogt on Tour opens windows

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In cooperation with cultural partners, Hoogt on Tour shows unique films at different locations in Utrecht: substantive and artistic films that broaden your view. From the start, this film house has been a partner of Queer Film Festival Utrecht. We talk to Miranda van Gelder, the film programmer of Hoogt on Tour, about the love of films. 

Can you tell us something about your considerations when selecting films? 

‘For me, a film or documentary should always have artistic quality and social urgency. And a film in itself, but also the entire program, must have the right balance. Whether a film has that is, in the words of our founder Huub Bals, often a gut feeling. Why does a film move or amaze you, that’s what I’m looking for. And that means I watch a little more films than the average Dutchman. Bals once said: once you reach 3000 films, we can talk. Fortunately, I am long past that.’

Miranda van Gelder

Film love. What is your drive to work at Het Hoogt on Tour?

‘Film is life. It is my hobby, my passion and, of course, my work. At Hoogt on Tour I have the freedom to give attention in the way I see fit to those films that would otherwise be overshadowed. To small but beautiful gems, to important films from countries that are insufficiently represented in the cinemas and to films that, perhaps unexpectedly, still manage to touch you deeply.’

What is one of your favorite films? 

‘So very nice of you to ask what “one of” my favorite films is, because sometimes this changes by the day. So many great things have been made, there is so much to see. The first film I have to think of right now is Symbol (Shinboru) by Hitoshi Matsumoto from 2009. I first saw this film at the International Film Festival Rotterdam and was really blown away. It was so unexpectedly brilliant. A man wakes up in a white room filled with hundreds of tiny dicks on the walls. When he presses a pecker, “something” happens. Sushi comes out of a hatch, a skateboard rides through the room, it suddenly starts raining really hard. And he has to find the right combination of dicks to leave the room. A minimal concept, with minimal means, but what a beautiful, and especially strange film. Still whenever I feel down I put this one on. It always makes me happy.’

Het Hoogt has been a partner of QFFU from the start. Why are you so enthusiastic about the collaboration? 

‘Because it is a sincere story. We like to give attention to films that include queerness in their narrative. And fortunately, that makes it an increasingly wide selection. Where queer film was once a “genre,” you now see queerness in all shapes and sizes of films. And the more mainstream queerness in film becomes, the more we can also look again for that which does not yet have a stage. And especially the latter fits very well with the (activist) history of Het Hoogt and the program we want to present.’ 

Can you name an example from QFFU’s past programming that you look back on with pride?

‘I was very happy with the Queer Horror Shorts night last year. Because it’s a great example of representation of queerness within a specific genre. In shorts, filmmakers often also dare to make slightly more rigorous choices, which is nice to see. And I do have a bit of a weakness for watching horror with a room full of people. That always creates a special atmosphere. I’m very happy that this night will return this year, of course with new shorts.’

Is there anything you would like to program in the future in het Hoogt? 

‘I would love to make a program with young video artists. To explore the definition of what film is. Experimenting. And then preferably also share this in the public space. Where people don’t expect it. I love film that can (briefly) disrupt people. Away from everyday life. Isn’t that the most beautiful thing there is?

Tekst: Joost de Vries
Beeld: Hoogt