latest update: may 2005
Rufus Collins was an American actor/director who was one of the pioneers to put black / multicultural theatre on the map in the Netherlands. For many years he was a member of the Living Theatre and traveled the world with their controversial repertory. He eventually set up house in Europe; first in England, and ultimately in Holland, where he died of AIDS in November 1996.
In this documentary, Marjorie Boston and Maarten van Hinte (artistic directors Made in da Shade) and writer/actress Jenny Mijnhijmer go back in time to search for the stories and the traces of their mentor and close friend Rufus Collins. They are trying to place his legacy against the backdrop of an evolving (art)world and a growing black cultural awareness. What has changed since Rufus was last on the scene? How are black actors/artists/theater creators perceived in 2003? Their journey into Rufus' past is a journey of love.
The documentary is slated to be released in conjunction with an exhibit and lecture series about Rufus Collins and Cultural Diversity in Theater Institute Netherlands in Amsterdam in November 2006.
Mijnhijmer & Jenne Sipman
voice-over dialogen: Maarten van Hinte
research: Irene Timmer & Jeanine Slijkhuis
key crew: Micha Douwes - dp; Dorith Vinken - editor; Vernon Reid -
website: Remko van Dokkum
producer: Sasha Dees
a Sasha Dees Production & Management production.
Mijnhijmer & Jenne Sipman
funders: Anjerfonds Amsterdam, Nederlands fonds voor de film
Author/Director - JENNE SIPMAN
has worked for the last couple of years as a director of documentaries. She is a teacher and scriptdocter at the Schrijversvakschool (Academy of Creative Writing) of Amsterdam and at the School of Writing Utrecht School of Arts. She is an independent member of the Dutch Filmfund advisory committee. She writes her own scripts and develops concepts and scripts for documenteries as well as fictionfilm. Her latest films are Skin Deep about the Dutch female artist and video jockey D. Kwaaitaal and the documentary : Ge houdt dr niks aon tegeâ, about the devastating effect on the landscape of the new railroad from Rotterdam to Germany right across Jennes homeland. Jennes motto is : film fullfills our constant desire to dream.
Author - JENNY MIJNHIJMER
was born in Surinam but moved to Europe when she was one year old. She grew up in the Dutch culture but always treasured her Surinamese roots. She started writing short stories and plays at the age of five. She went to college and studied English Literature and Theatrical Science. As a student Jenny was actively involved with LEST, the Leiden English Speaking Theatre. She acted in numerous plays. During this time she auditioned for Rufus Collins for a part in a musical and she hasn’t looked back since. She is a member of theatre group Made in da Shade and enjoys acting very much. But Jenny is also one of the most productive screenwriters in the Netherlands. She has worked extensively in the theatre and in television. Her work has been critically acclaimed and she has won prizes all over the world with her short film You 2. Jenny is currently doing storylines for the first ever drama series produced by MTV and she is also working on a screenplay for an action movie.
Author - MAARTEN VAN HINTE
was trained by director, actor and teacher Rufus Collins. He worked in Rufus' theater company De Nieuw Amsterdam (DNA), as an actor, a dramaturg and a translator from its beginnings in 1984 until 1992. In 1992 Maarten, together with Marjorie Boston and Lucien Kembel, founded Made in da Shade, an Amsterdam based theater group that makes new, interdisciplinary, urban European theater. Maarten is the mixmaster responsible for Made in da Shades verbal and dramatic style. He writes, directs and occasionally performs for the company. Maarten has written for various dance, mime and theatergroups, as well as for television. In 1998 one of his plays, 'Orenthal - O.J. Othello', won the First Fringe Award for Outstanding New Writing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Together with Jenny Mijnhijmer he is the co-writer of the first black sitcom for national Dutch television 'Bradaz' and it's successor 'Weltevreden op 10'. He's also a member of .nuClarity, a legendary band from the Dutch hip-hop underground. More info: www.shade.nl
Director of Photography – MICHA DOUWES
graduated from the Photo Academy, and Amsterdam Film Academy (cinematography). He has been working as a director of photography since 1997 on commercials for clients like United Biscuit, Canon, Chrystler, Citroën, Nestlé, Seat Cars, Footlocker, Kraft Foods and Philips and was awarded by the Dutch Art-Directors Club with best TV commercial. Micha works on music videos for national and international artists and photographed numerous dramatic films, among them the award winning films YOU2, Bruxelles Mon Amour and Venus. More info: www.douwes.com
Composer/musicsupervisor - VERNON REID
is a mulitple Grammy Award winner. Vernon Reid's music has broken down barriers in terms of race and racial stereotypes everywhere. Reid formed the influential rock band, Living Colour, in 1984. Around the same time, Reid and journalist Greg Tate formed the Black Rock Coalition. Living Colour is the embodiment of the coalition's stated goal: a new freedom of expression for black musicians. Living Colour released four albums a.o. the ground breaking 'Vivid', (1988), and the critically acclaimed 'Time's up', (1990). Reid's collaborated with B.B. King, Carlos Santana, Mariah Carey, The Ramones and Bill T. Jones. Vernon has composed music for many films including the documentaries Johnny Nmemonic and E Minha Cara (2001) and features Paid In Full (2002) and the Disney Production Mr. 3000 (2004), starring Bernie Mac and Angela Bassett.
Producer – SASHA DEES
studied business (Rotterdam) and film (NYU) and is the founding director of an Amsterdam based production and management company for film/TV, performing arts and interdisciplinary projects. She travels between Amsterdam, New York and Paramaribo initiating and working on art- and cultural exchange projects and collaborations between Europe and the America's / Caribbean. As a film/TV producer she worked i.e. on: tv-series On Track (MTV Amsterdam); Whuzzup goes Bronx (MTV Amsterdam) and Couscous and Cola (BNN/IDtv); documentaries E Minha Cara (Thomas Allen Harris) selected in Sundance, Toronto and Berlin and Say My Name (Nirit Peled); shorts The Saint of Avenue B (Rene Alberta) and Trance (Cary Woodworth); and is in development on documentary Rufus Collins (Jenne Sipman), short The Surface (Nikki Byrd); features Trance (Jason daSilva), Blackvertising and Frankie (Desmond Hall). In 2003 Sasha and Philip Powel, founded the Black Soil Film Festival in the Netherlands. Sasha is also a program consultant/scout for other international film- and theater events/venues such as Africa in the Picture, ACT-the urban stage, Today's Art, CrimeJazz, COX18 (Milan) URB (Helsinki), Luna Blou (Curacao), Surifesta (Paramaribo) and Triskell (Ireland). In theater/multidisciplinary art she produces and works with many artists/groups, most known for her long time collaborations with Made in da Shade, Ruud Lanfermeijer/Remko van Dokkum, Jorgen Raymann and Chris Elam, Gabri Christa DanzAisa (NY). At this time she is in production for Meditations of the Goddess (Rha Goddess) a trilogy an international co-production with Divine Dime Entertainment, 651Arts/BAM and New World Theater Amherst. More info: www.sashadees.com
has been an editor for over 12 years, graduated from the Amsterdam Film Academy (cinematography and editing) editing became her big passion. She worked on a.o.: feature narratives: Blue Bird telefilm by Mijke de Jong, Sprookjes van tante Pit childrenTV-serie by Rieks Swarte and Ik ben Willem 2 children TV serie by Mijke de Jong and documentaires Dolle Zina by Adelheid Roosen and Mijke de Jong and Respect and Mijn laatste peuk van Claudia Tellegen.
Researcher - IRENE TIMMER
studies theatre studies and sociology at the University of Amsterdam. At this moment she’s working on a paper about Rufus Collins and on another paper about ‘PussyLounge’, a performance by Made in da Shade.