Hopsa Heisasa

Singing Hopsa, heisasa makes Willem feel less lonely. But when he meets the drowned ghost of Isra, who's afraid to go on to the afterlife without her lost teddybear, he discovers there's more behind the song than merely giving love and solace.

  • Vincent van den Ouden
    The Maiden and The Gatekeeper
  • Vincent van den Ouden
  • Vincent van den Ouden
  • Lisa de Bye
  • Gwen Albers
    Key Cast
    We Had Plans, Routes Familieres
  • Tim Klumpers
    Key Cast
    De Kleine Pianist
  • Romaissa Badrising
    Key Cast
  • Jan van Ooijen
    Routes Familieres, Killer Carnaval
  • Dani van Riet
    Offbeat, Tussen Nu en Morgen
  • Johan van der Voet
    De Club van 5, Wognum, Straks is Alles Anders, Kristen
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Hopsa Heisasa
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    17 minutes 56 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 31, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    12,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - RITCS School of Arts
  • Internation Film by the Sea Festival
    September 19, 2020
  • Filmhuis Breda
    November 28, 2020
  • International Film Festival Gorinchem
    April 14, 2021
Director Biography - Vincent van den Ouden

Although still a filmschool student Vincent van den Ouden has a varied repertoire of short films up his sleeve. From intimate dramas to eccentric comedies or dark fairy tales, Vincent has experimented in lots of genres.
In 2013 Vincent came through the finals of FilmstarZ, a talent course in the Netherlands in which beginning but promising filmmakers are chosen to make their first short film through extensive workshops and professional coaching. This prompted him to apply for the RITCS School of Arts in Brussels for which he was selected.
In 2016, his student film The Maiden & The Gatekeeper was selected for the Open Curtain Festival in Rotterdam, and nominated for the BN/De Stem Culture price and the Lions Club Award and the PZC Jury Prize at the festival Film by the Sea. The same film won the ‘best student short’ at the Catharsis International Film Festival and a couple of years later in 2018 it opened the first edition of the International Film Festival Middelburg.

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Director Statement

In my youth I often felt excluded from children of my own age because I didn’t know how to fit in. So like Willem – through drawings, costumes and stuffed animals – I made up fairy tales; all the while whistling, giving my escapism a soundtrack. Somehow I intuitively knew this was my only way to make sense of the incomprehensible; of the not knowing why some things are the way they are.
Of course, this wasn’t enough to substitute real friendships. So as I grew older – in the hope of fitting in – I adapted and because of that, slowly and surely, my intuitive Inner Child – along with its memories of those grand adventures – faded away.
But when I met a couple of refugee children everything came back! In them I recognised the longing for friendship, the insecurity some of them had of adapting to a new and unknown world but also the intuitive and creative means they thought up to connect with each other: through stories and songs.

That’s why Hopsa Heisasa offers a different perspective on the refugee crisis: that of a western child who looks at the world through unprejudiced eyes, but who is old enough to understand the yearning for love and solace. One of my favourite filmmakers Hayao Miyazaki once said: “Children need to see something incomprehensible and they’ll understand it later.” This inspired me to make a fairy tale. Because I owe it to my Inner Child – and to everyone else who had to sacrifice his Inner Child to adapt – to relive the experience of the inexplicable. Because the inexplicable arouses the viewer’s intuition which motivates him to seek the answers within himself. I believe that telling a film which enables the audience to do this will make the viewing of a film a more personal and meaningful experience.