Filmmaker Leonard Retel Helmrich
Leonard Retel Helmrich (Tilburg, 1959) has developed his own film style, 'single shot cinema', as well as the accompanying equipment that enables him to film in a fluid and intimate way.
Retel Helmrich studied at the Dutch Film Academy and made his directing debut in 1990 with the feature film The Phoenix Mystery. He then made the documentary Moving Objects (1991, about puppet theatre) and Jemand auf der Treppe (1994), a recording of a theatre piece by Orkater that he filmed in one shot with an HD camera. From there, Retel Helmrich developed his single shot cinema style, a variation on cinéma vérité where the camera does not register from a distance, but intuitively moves with the action. He used this style in the much-praised triptych about a family in Indonesia that he followed over a period of twelve years: De stand van de zon (2001), De stand van de maan (2004) and Position Among the Stars (2010). The last two were opening films at IDFA and both won the IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary. After he finished shooting The Long Season (2017), in which Retel Helmrich filmed daily life in a Syrian camp in Lebanon, the director was struck by a cardiac arrest and the film was completed by producer Pieter Huystee. When the film premiered at IDFA, Retel Helmrich was staying in a rehabilitation center to recover.