Cinema is more than just an art. It is a medium that mirrors society and the lives of ordinary people in extraordinary situations. Since its inception, cinema has influenced people and society as a whole. It has often carried a positive or revolutionary message to the masses. Reggery Gravenbeek, a Dutch filmmaker is now using this medium to address a grave social issue. Some reputed organizations are supporting his endeavors to initiate a positive change in society.
Born and brought up in the Zuidwijk district of Rotterdam, the street culture was not unknown to Reggery Gravenbeek. As the place is notorious for its rate of crime, the filmmaker of Surinamese descent too was absorbed into the prevalent system. Eventually, in 2006, he was arrested in a stabbing episode and was sentenced to 12 years in prison along with two of his friends.
In 2012, Gravenbeek was released for good conduct and that’s when he decided to change his life. He was trying to focus on doing something productive in his life when one of his friends working in the film industry came up with an offer. It was a small acting gig to fill in for an extra who could not make it due to illness. The small role marked his entry into the film industry and, thereafter, he started receiving many such gigs in a guest role or supporting role.
Gravenbeek has worked with renowned directors like Bardo Ellens, Mert Ugurdiken, Dylan Haegens, to name a few. His career started scaling up in 2017 when Hans Groenendijk offered him a role in the 48 Hour Film Project Rotterdam. He replaced a team that could not make it to the movie set. His performance was appreciated in the project and earned him a lead role in the movie “Stalker”. The movie was listed in the top 4 of the best films and Gravenbeek received an award as the team leader and producer.
After gaining recognition in the film industry, Gravenbeek decided to work behind the camera. His first film as a producer was “De Druk”, which premiered on October 26, 2017, in the Zuidplein Theater. The film was about his life and featured Rotterdam artists and civil servants. He tried to focus on the social issues and the problems of young people in Rotterdam. The film portrays the hard realities of street culture and how the young generation is pressured to adopt it because they often lack a better alternative.
“De Druk” was a successful attempt by Gravenbeek that brought the underlying problem of street culture into the limelight. The movie initiated grave discussions about the topic that was often overlooked by society. Gravenbeek’s project was financed by OPEN Rotterdam and the Municipality of Rotterdam. The area committees Charlois and Feijenoord of Zuidwijk also supported the project.
Gravenbeek hired young people of Zuidwijk who were victims of street culture to act in the movie “De Druk”. He believes that behind the rogues, there are huge talents that lie buried because no one has tried to discover them. These talents are lost in the struggle for survival. It is Gravenbeek’s initiative to bring about a positive change in their lives by showing them a better way to earn a living. @reggerygravenbeek
Gravenbeek wants to continue this initiative to end the street culture in Rotterdam. His films will be his only weapon in this fight against this societal problem.