The Buddy Film Project

The Buddy Film Project
A Feature film by Dennis Overeem
Crowdfunding teaser: 
funded project
donated of €30.000
days to go

Project Information

About the project
LOCKLINEDutch film professionals and refugee filmmakers from various countries as Syria and Iran will work together on a feature film.

Dear people,

The crowdfund campain finished on 15 December 2016, but if you want it's still possible to give a donation to The Buddy Film Project and select a reward.

Thank you!

Love The Buddy Team




“A lot of people are lost in the new situation, are lost in the procedures and paperwork. It is confusing and we are already confused. Coming here was the last option for me to work. To do the things I like to do.” 

Monzer Darwish (filmmaker from Syria)



'The Netherlands, today. In an indolent Dutch small village everything is about to change. Houses are given to refugees with a residence permit. And when the local supermarket offers jobs to five of them some of the villagers are not too happy about that'.

WELCOME is a comedy with a heart. A light, sweet, funny and, at times, romantic look on several refugees' journey, who want to get their lives back on track in the Netherlands. It's a fictitious story set in an average Dutch supermarket and inspired by the special, touching and funny stories and anekdotes from real refugees.

Photographer: Bert Nijman - Actress Nazanin Taheri

THE BUDDY FILM PROJECT connects fled professional filmmakers to Dutch professional filmmakers, who will work together in the production of a feature film. All filmmakers have a legal stay and work permit. Through the generation of the aforementioned collaboration, The Buddy Film Project presents these fled filmmakers with a relevant and professional (film) network in The Netherlands. Thus increasing their chance of acquiring paid labour in the Dutch film sector.

We aspire to produce a feature film in one year, in which as many refugees as possible can take part; behind and in front of the camera, including caterers, runners, builders, production assistants and musicians. The film is set to premiere at the Dutch Film Festival 2018. Or rather, it is to become the opening film of the festival!

Dennis Overeem: “All these cameramen, actors and creatives have a legal work permit, yet miss a necessary network. The Buddy Film Project aims to offer this network by connecting Dutch film professionals to fled film professionals, and subsequently make a feature film together. In order to be able to realise this project, and to be able to offer payment to everyone, we want to start this crowdfunding campaign."

Photographer: Bert Nijman - Director Dennis Overeem

“I have collected clothes, and constantly share things on Facebook, but there came a point, where I wanted to do that one bit more. I decided to take people into my home, and by speaking to these people and hearing their stories, I started to understand how difficult it is to truly gain foothold.”

Initiator and actress Dewi Reijs explains the importance of the project: “These people, who stay here in The Netherlands, often have no clue where to start. With this project, they get the opportunity to integrate organically. Plus, the opportunity to obtain paid work will be created."

The Dutch film professionals will function as ‘buddies’, and they will work side to side with their Syrian and Iranian colleagues. Dutch actors, including Maryan Hassouni (FLIKKEN ROTTERDAM, DUNYA & DESIE), Tygo Gernandt (VAN GOD LOS, DOKTER TINUS), Susan Visser (GOOISCHE VROUWEN) en Yorick van Wageningen (OORLOGSWINTER, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO), have already endorsed the project and expressed their full support.

The script will be written by Dennis Overeem and Beri Shalmashi (Nominated for a Gouden Kalf MAMA (2010), HET FRONT).

Yorick van Wageningen explains why he finds this project extremely important: “It is essential to realise that these people have not merely lost their homeland, their culture, their house and their families – which is more than horrible in itself – but that they have also left their voices behind. The voice of a culture, in which they have grown up. It is vital to embrace this culture and learn from it, also.”

Our fled film colleagues will learn how the Dutch film industry works, whilst the Buddies will be taught to view things through different spectacles.

Through our colleagues, we will also learn how a film set functions in their homelands. What are the differences? What are the similarities? And how can we learn from each other?

We believe that, in order to inspire each other, to tell new stories, to create together and to reinvent the wheel, there is no better place than a film set. This way, one can build a network, and make personal connections, which will contribute to a new feeling. A feeling, in which this displaced feeling can hopefully, slowly but surely, make way for a more (even just a little) homely feeling.

Photographer Bert Nijman - Actor Arabi Ghibeh


This project extends past the mere production of a feature film, yet we are only just beginning.

Foremost, a scenario has to be written, and obviously we will have to start the search for fled film professionals! This takes a huge amount of time and we are working incredibly hard to lift this project from the ground. This means a heap of phone calls, mails, 24/7 present on social media and personal meetings. Basically, everything that is embedded in the production of a feature film! We wish to pay the people with whom we will work and therefore, money is necessary.

During the development stage, we also wish to organise a Sharing Stories Workshop, in which the fled film professionals will be invited to share their personal stories with us. Stories, which will serve as a spring of inspiration for the script and the characters, who will feature in it.

Furthermore, this workshop will function as the initiation of the cooperation between the Dutch and fled film professionals. This offers us the opportunity to explore the filmmakers professionalism and discover where their talents lay. Talents, which we can, in turn, deploy in the realisation of the film. Cinematographers will take part in a camera workshop, actors in an acting workshop, and art directors will have the opportunity to display their portfolio.

Over the course of three days, we will come together in Utrecht. In order to organise these workshops, cost will inevitably have to be made. Most refugees will have to travel from far away places and thus make travel costs. We wish to be able to reimburse these costs, but also provide them with a nice lunch and/or dinner. Moreover, we will have to hire a space to host the workshops in and we wish to cover the expenses of our volunteers, at the least.


Photographer: Jeroen Hofman - Beri Shalmashi 

The feature film WELCOME is a story by Dennis Overeem and Beri Shalmashi (Paris, 1983). Beri finds her origins in Iranian Kurdistan and graduated from the Dutch Film Academy in 2008. She’s also produced a variety of short films and received a nomination for a 'Gouden Kalf' for her (short) television drama MAMA.

In the creation of the script, she will be supported by Ernie Tee, an experienced script coach, script editor and dramaturge. He has worked on numerous film and television productions and has been working at the Dutch Film Academy since 1992. 

Thanks to:


Quote that inspired the maker

'The only way for refugee filmmakers to build a network is by going to work...'
Dennis & Dewi