Jos Stelling (1945, Utrecht) developed a great passion for film during his youth, spent at a Catholic boarding school, where French-speaking Wallonian monks analyzed cinema classics as part of the curriculum. After boarding school, he experimented with filmmaking and, in the absence of a film academy, taught himself the art. His debut film, Mariken van Nieumeghen (1974) was selected for the competition at the Cannes Film Festival.
Alongside filmmaking he owns and runs two well established film theatres Springhaver ( since 1978) and the Louis Hartlooper Complex (since 2004). In 1981 he launched the film festival "The Dutch Film Days", of which he was chair and (once) director until 1991. Now known as the “Netherlands Film Festival (NFF)”, this is one of the largest film events in the Netherlands .
Jos Stelling has won many awards for his films and his oeuvre at film festivals in the Netherlands and internationally (incl. four Golden Calves, A Rose d’Or, two Golden Gryphons, etc.) and honors for his contributions to filmmaking a.o. in Utrecht, St Petersburg, Riga, Gyor (Hungary), Batumi (Georgia), Setúbal (Portugal), Prague (Czech film Clubs), Yerevan, Zerkalo (Russia), Maine (USA) and Sofia (Bulgary). He is also frequently asked to sit on juries.
Vision: “Film (like the other arts) has everything to do with the flow between the polarities (the magnetic field). This can be between man and woman, past and present, day and night, etc. It is the realm of “desire”, “seduction”, but also of “revenge” and “hate”. In the final analysis, there is also the field of tension between the film itself and the audience: in this sense, film is only half the product. The filmmaker uses all the means at his disposal to attract a certain audience to him. Watching a film is all about the art of (visual) association. Minimal dialogue allows the viewer to watch better”.
Stelling feels most at home as a filmmaker in Russia and Italy. On the one hand, “L'arte della vita”, the (Italian) sense of the theatrical, and on the other the melancholy of “Sehnsucht” (Russia). In Eastern Europe in particular, Jos Stelling is seen as a major film auteur. Russian critics believe that his Calvinist traits, his visual emotionality and surrealist humor are particularly appreciated by Eastern Europeans .