I am interested in worlds and people that I can’t entirely reach, yet have the desire to do so [Kasper Verkaik]

For me film is a way of capturing the real world around me. I love realism. I want to record a piece of reality, freeze it for a moment and then use it to tell my story. Film gives me the opportunity to do that, although it will always be a construction. Reality in film is a paradox. That fascinates me. When do I as the maker take control and intervene in order to reach the essence of ‘the reality’? And when do I relinquish that control, so that I don’t violate the realness and authenticity of that real world too much? These questions are relevant to my future fiction work, as well as to the documentaries that I make.

When making documentaries, sometimes I want to take more control and work more with a construction so that I am better able to find the core of my narrative. I am interested in socio-political themes, but my journalistic tendency for completeness and to provide too much information can stand in my way as a maker when it comes to narrating a film. I see images and observation as my starting point and I want to approach big socio-political themes by means of (small) personal stories.

In my future fiction work, I want to relinquish the control within strategic moments. I seek a sense of openness in my narrative and breathing space for the audience in their interpretation of my story. I want to root my fictional stories firmly in the (socio-political) reality around me. I enjoy the limitations that reality gives me. I’m not interested in the impossible. I don’t want to make up reality.

In the stories I tell, I am interested in worlds and people that I can’t entirely reach, yet have the desire to do so; like America, which I’ve made several documentaries about. I often don’t understand America and an increasing number of Americans don’t understand it either. That fascinates me. The stories I tell are about people who want to change their worlds, but don’t know how. They are searching, just like me.

Video interview
Kasper Verkaik about his research project 'Control: the paradox to capture reality'

The Return Home

In a fictional scene, a young war correspondent returns from Afghanistan. The scene has been filmed in several different ways. As a documentary maker with no experience making fiction films, I wanted to investigate how much control I want to take when filming a fictional scene. I wanted to know what effect that control has on the authenticity and believability of a fictional narrative. The scene is based on the story of a young Dutch journalist.

[Length 3x 6.50min Medium XDCAM and Red
Crew Direction & Screenplay Kasper Verkaik Camera & Lighting Tibor Dingelstad Sound Kasper Koudenburg & Evelien van der Molen Editing Pelle Asselbergs & Daan Wijdeveld Sound design Evelien van der Molen Production assistant Levi Wilbrink Recording manager Paul Zomerhuis Camera assistant Django De Groot Screenplay advice Petra Lataster & Mark Timmer Producer Tobias Wilbrink (nufilm)
Cast Michiel Bakker, Willem Bakker, Judith van den Berg, Tsilla Voet, Rebecca Boektje]

Director Kasper Verkaik and actor Michiel Bakker discuss the script during the filming of version 3 of ‘The Return Home’.

DOP Tibor Dingelstad and focus puller Django de Groot.

‘It’s a wrap’ for the filming of version 3 of ‘The Return Home’.


What started as an idea for a documentary eventually became a synopsis for a fictional film. Missing is about Toby Williams (21). He has grown up on an American army base. Toby’s younger brother is fighting in Afghanistan and his father is an army officer. Toby wants to be a journalist and becomes fascinated by the mysterious disappearance of his grandfather during the Vietnam War. In the process of writing, I tried to incorporate a lot of true elements in the fictional narrative. I then investigated how I could bring my fictional synopsis even closer to reality by means of documentary research on an American army base. The ideas and changes that this research yielded are presented in an installation and a process book.

[Photographer Tibor Dingelstad]

The TV-channel of the US Army wanted an interview with the two Dutch priers in shorts; director/screenwriter Kasper Verkaik and photographer Tibor Dingelstad.