Meet…The Chinese Community @ de Zwijger

Martijn van Veen Verslag

Martijn from CinemAsia FilmLAB went to the event at Pakhuis de Zwijger organised by the PAC, Pan Asian Collective on Monday November 18 in the series Transnational Amsterdam of Pakhuis de Zwijger.

This was a really cool evening with a packed room.  A range of creatives from the community introduced themselves and shared their experiences on being Chinese-Dutch. Pete Wu shared a passage from his new book de Bananengeneratie and afterward discussed his family history further. In the next segment a conversation was started with psychologist Lia Lu and real estate agent Albert-Jan Shi who also discussed some of the positive experiences they have as having both an Asian and Dutch identity. In the third segment of the evening there was a talk with creatives such as FilmLAB’s own filmmaker Jimmy Tai, Artist and activist Sioejeng Tsao, and dance and theatermaker Nita liem about the role of their cultural background in their art. The evening was pleasantly moderated by presenter Laiying Wang. Afterward the audience had the possibility to enjoy the arts works of diverse Chinese artists and photographers in the hallway.


The conversation also brought out interesting responses from the audience. For instance one woman shared the difficulties her son had at his school. He was being teased incessantly with his chinese identity and it appeared the school had done little to solve the problem. She wanted make a change! It became apparant that many in the audience could relate. Even recently two acquiantances of mine from the Chinese community shared their stories on how they, on an almost daily basis, still have to deal with a range of nasty comments and sarcastic Ni Hao’s from complete strangers on the streets of Amsterdam.

Speaking Up

This might not be a big issue if it were an isolated incident. But this happens structurally! It reveals how common this issue still is. Thus far the Chinese community has appeared to be more divided and less verbal as was also brought during the event. That’s why this almost daily discrimination still seems to be completely invisible to many in the Netherlands. The first changes appeared when the action Nummer 39 with Rice took place after Dutch Celebrity Gordon joked about a Chinese contestant on Holland’s got Talent and afterward received backlash.

A new phase

Now it seems as if the conversation is entering a new fase by for example Pete Wu’s book, Sioejeng Tsao’s outspokeness and others who appear to be more willing to speak up and to use this in their art and share it with the public at large. Luckily for the woman in the audience there was a lawyer present willing to help the woman further in her legal struggles with the school.

Obviously there is still much to do to improve the representation of the Chinese community in the Netherlands and to reveal how ignorant and short sighted some people still deal with their fellow Dutch neighbours. But an event such as this event really helps! It doesn’t shy away from having this tough conversation. It starts a dialogue and helps connect and inspire the Chinese community. May there be many more of these nights to bring the community together and to celebrate their art inspired by both a Dutch and a Chinese identity.

If you are curious to learn more then please listen to the Pakhuis de Zwijger podcast interview with Pete Wu. Be aware: tt is in Dutch!

Tip: Het Brede Netwerk

Martijn van Veen Tip

Sorry, this entry is only available in Dutch.

Het Brede netwerk is een media netwerk met als doel de diversiteit bij de media te verhogen. Het netwerk bestaat uit werkende journalisten die ‘diversiteit’ voorstellen en voorstaan. Met een groep van 40 vooraanstaande journalisten van onder andere NRC Handelsblad, Nieuwsuur, Trouw, RTL, de Volkskrant, de Correspondent en de NOS brengen zij  in 2019 dit goede voornemen in de praktijk.

Het Brede Netwerk biedt dan ook high potentials de kans om deel te nemen in de vijfde ronde van het netwerk waarin een programma vol masterclasses wordt aangeboden.

In deze Masterclasses bieden bekende inspirerende journalisten  hun ervaringen. De masterclasses worden steeds op een andere redactie gehouden, bij NRC Handelsblad, de Volkskrant, de NOS, Trouw en RTL, zodat de deelnemers de kans krijgen om daar een kijkje achter de schermen te nemen. De masterclasses zijn bedoeld voor high potentials die de skills hebben van een goede journalist maar die er niet tussen komen. Er is plek voor 30 deelnemers.

Het Brede Netwerk handhaaft de volgende selectiecriteria:

  • Heb jij minimaal hbo denkniveau
  • Ben je 23 jaar of ouder
  • Ben je ervan overtuigd dat jij de journalistiek diverser kan maken
  • Kan jij jouw enthousiasme over werken in de journalistiek motiveren

Als jij je hierin kunt vinden surf dan meteen naar de website van Het Brede Netwerk om je aan te melden!


Amber Nefkens at NPO Radio 1

Martijn van Veen Nieuws

Amber Nefkens, FilmLAB Alumni from 2014 who made the short documentary Indië on a plate, has created a theatre and musical play about her grandmother and her life in Indonesia.  She shares more about the play and her colonial roots when she visited the NPO Radio 1 show De Dag. you can listen to the podcast here. But be warned, this podcast is in Dutch.

If you want to find out more about Amber, you can check out her website as well.

FilmLAB Modules

Martijn van Veen FilmLAB Update

Currently we are working on creating and sharing our FilmLAB Modules. The CinemAsia FilmLAB team has transitioned to the concept of Modules so internally and externally the different programs CinemAsia FilmLAB has to offer will be more distinct and insightful. It’s a good choice to make this distinction clearer so we can setup more specified and clearer budgets and project management. But also help our communication with the funds. With the FilmLAB modules we can seperate our programs and request funding for our seperate programs instead having to request funding for FilmLAB in its entirity. It will become clearer how much budget for which program is necessary and how much funding is necessary to greenlight a particular program.

At the moment we have created three distinct modules: the Alumni Netwerk, The FilmLAB Shorts Program and the Writers Room / Development Room.

We are now in the midst of writing and sending in our fundapplications. This takes more time than people usually think. Luckily we have already started with our Alumni Network in modest form as a team of FilmLAB Alumni has recently participated with 48 Hour Cinekid. There will also be a FilmLAB Jam Session at the end of November. FilmLAB Producer Daan Vree is working to set up a alumni newsroom to regularly update the website with interesting and relevant content.

FilmLAB Producer Eva Aussems is busy at work writing and applying to funds for the FilmLAB Shorts Program. She’s also finishing the FilmLAB Shorts planning for the next edition and will check the planning with the sponsorpartners. Will the newly tweaked planning also be better for our production sponsors? We’ll find out soon!

FilmLAB Coordinator Martijn van Veen is also in conversation with Dramaturge Gwyneth Sleutel, who has helped with the organisation and dramaturgic feedback for the Writers Room edition of 2019, to see if we can also start to setup the next edition of the Writers Room.

We will keep you up to date!

CinemAsians Team @ 48 Hours Cinekid

Martijn van Veen FilmLAB Update, Nieuws

Sorry, this entry is only available in Dutch.

De eerste deelname van het CinemAsians team aan een 48 Hour project is een feit. FilmLAB Alumni Roshni Oedit, Sandy Schardijn, Priscilla Rasyid en Sofia Murell hebben de spits afgebeten door deel te nemen aan de 48 Hour Project van Cinekid. Dit heeft geleid tot de creatie van de korte film ‘Betrapt’.  Tijdens de première is de crew ook in de prijzen gevallen. Het was zeker een succes. Op naar de volgende 48 Hour met een dynamisch team CinemAsians.

Er volgt binnenkort een verslag van deze 48 hour, dus houdt de website in de gaten!

The CinemAsia FilmLAB Website is online!

Martijn van Veen CinemAsia Update

The CinemAsia FilmLAB website is online!

The new CinemAsia FilMLAb website is online and that’s a good thing. Now you can find the correct information on FilmLAB more quickly and easily. The amount of information became too much to be properly included into the general CinemAsia Film Festival website. Not only has the CinemAsia FIlmLAB archive been improved and extended, but you can also easily find information on our mission and vision, about our team, our programma’s and an extensive Q&A section. 

Soon our FilmLAB editors will also be providing updates and articles on the website and will we provide a structure for FilmLAB Alumni to create and update their own profiles for people to see. 

I hope that you will find the information that you are looking for. In case you have a suggestion or would like to contact us directly, then you can always send us an email at or through our Linkedin page