Amerika - De Nederlandse geschiedenis van de VS
Amerika - The Dutch history of the US
About the project
If you flip through an American history book, you’ll notice that its history doesn’t really catch steam until you hit the English colonies. Even though the United States are the result of a wild bunch of migrations throughout human history. And one of those forgotten historic journeys, is that of New Netherland.
This Dutch colony has long been regarded as unimportant, insignificant and vanished: traders who weren’t interested in long-term settlement with no cultural influence on American history. It didn’t help that the English were one of Holland’s main enemies in the centuries after.
Recent research has shown that the influence of New Netherlands has actually been underestimated, undervalued and traces can actually still be physically found. Even certain charactaristic of what’s been called ‘the American spirit’ can be traced back to these first merchants.
It’s about time that this history is dusted off and is recorded in the best possible way: by making a TV documentary. The goal is to see what remains today of those first settlers. Like some of the houses they and their offspring left behind, a man whose family has been living on the Hudson since the 17th century, and documents from New Amsterdam that survived their voyage through time.
This project will be the first chapter of what eventually will be a film that encapsulates four centuries of the Dutch history of the United States. From New Amsterdam to immigration in the 19th century, to Dutch trade missions that happen to this day. And the money we hope to raise here through Cinecrowd allows us to fund the actual tour along the Hudson, add a camerawoman, pay for editing and post-production, and maybe even make a start with the campaign for the next chapters.
Cast and crew
To tell you who we are: Thijs Roes is a journalist, film maker and specialist in American history. He has worked as a filmmaker and as a producer for the US correspondent of the Evening News in the Netherlands. America has been his hobby and obsession for as long as he can remember.
Heleen Westerhuijs is an architecture historian and co-author of the book “Exploring Dutch New York”, which was presented in the Museum of the City of New York in 2011. No one is more passionate about Dutch American history than she is, and that's why her quest to uncover Dutch heritage in the Hudson valley plays a prominent role in this film.
Thijs and Heleen met each other in 2007, in a class about the history of New York City at the University of Amsterdam.
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So just to be clear: Even though we made it past a 100%, any additional funding would still be put to good use and would be greatly appreciated. So if you haven't send our project around to people that you believe might be interested, please do!
The list of things we still need to devote time and money to:
- Film additional material
- Edit the whole thing!
- Hire a great talent for post production, animation, and overall art direction
- Put up a website
And those are just the short-term needs, which we will use to secure additional funding from third parties, trying to get our whole production to a higher plan. This project has been build up from the ground with a couple of phone calls, your help and an iron spirit. We're taking this doc as high and as far as we can go! So if you feel the urge to send it around: Please do!
First of all, we would like to thank everyone so much for all the support through these last weeks. We are truly humbled by all of you, no matter if you put it just some savings, wanting to help out, or a huge sum, because you believe in our project! Others have donated time and effort, and it's been really fantastic!
But we're not there yet! I wanted to give you an update on what we've been doing. This new video gives an impression, but let me clarify a few things.
Since KLM sponsored two tickets, we decided to start early, while the sun was still out this September. You funding paid for car rental, train tickets, a dedicated DoP, equipment rental, gas, food and a roof over our heads. (We all slept in one room). But we need so much more.
We've been following a couple of story lines. Heleen and myself, Thijs, went on a road trip through what used to be New Netherland. We explored multiple houses that are as old as some of the canal houses in Amsterdam. And we got to touch and read the exciting documents that actually tell us the history of New Netherland first-hand: the former archive of New Netherland.
But we also faced the limits of what a small team can do in one month. For some stories, we just scratched the surface. Other stories (like the suffering the Dutch have caused here too) have yet to be explored.
It most certainly looks like spring will take us back for another trip. But that's the future. First, please do enjoy the sneak peak in the following video. Thanks again!
Thijs (and Heleen)
(Video will be online around 27 sept @ 11.00h Central European Time
Well, there was a little trouble in paradise. This post was supposed to feature some examples of aerial 'drone' footage. Sadly, a little mistake by myself actually caused the thing to come crashing out of the sky. So I'm working on getting it fixed.
I'm working at full speed to get everything done before I fly out to New York next week. Your support is already helping me to make this film. We will be able to spend more time upstate, to find more Dutch barns. The interviews will look better because of better lights and audio equipment we can rent.
Most appointments have been set right now. We'll visit Albany (old 'Fort Nassau') extensively, and are diving into all that the Hudson valley has to offer. I hope to shed some more light on our plan next week, when me and Heleen will explain in short what we're going to do exactly.
Thanks again so much for your help, it is appreciated hysterically!
Hi there! Just a quick update, to thank all the early supporters who have given us a lightning start! Fantastic to see contributions rise so quickly over just one weekend! Now it's up to us to reach out to specific organizations and individuals to help us get even further. Thanks again and start looking out for updates with a little more 'ooomph' to them!
Hi allemaal! Even een snelle update, om de eerste supporters te danken die ons zo'n vliegende start hebben gegeven. Geweldig om de steun al zo snel te zien groeien in nog maar een weekend! Wij gaan nu aan de slag om specifieker mensen en organisaties te benaderen om ons verder te helpen. Opnieuw veel dank, en binnenkort komen wat updates met wat meer 'schwung' erin!