The otter, a legend returns

In Western Europe the otter drastically declined in numbers and even completely disappeared from The Netherlands. This was mainly due to hunting, loss of habitat, pollution and traffic collisions. But the Dutch set the example by investing in their water quality and restoring the habitat of the otter to enable its reintroduction. People now have a chance to spot the otter as it spreads through The Netherlands and even ventures into the heart of a city.

  • Hilco Jansma
    Director
    The Noorderplantsoen
  • Hilco Jansma
    Writer
    The Noorderplantsoen
  • Alan Miller BFE
    Writer
  • Caroline Brett
    Writer
  • Hilco Jansma
    Producer
    The Noorderplantsoen
  • De EO (Evangelische Omroep)
    Producer
  • Hilco Jansma
    Scenario
    The Noorderplantsoen
  • Cees van Kempen
    Scenario
    Returning Kestrel, Beaver and Kingfisher
  • Karin Schagen
    Scenario
  • Coby Eelderink
    Scenario
  • Ispida Wildlife Productions
    In cooperation with
    Returning Kestrel, Beaver and Kingfisher
  • Hilco Jansma
    Edit
    The Noorderplantsoen
  • Hilco Jansma
    Camera
    The Noorderplantsoen
  • Marten Boonstra
    2nd camera
  • Alan Miller BFE
    Voice-over
  • Mark Meewis
    Sound editing, mixing and foley
  • Petro van Leeuwen CSI
    Colorgrading
  • Ruud de Bruyn
    Finishing
  • Jenny Brinksma
    Commissioning editor EO
  • Albatross World Sales
    Distributor
  • Andy Benjamins
    Animation
  • Audio Network
    Music
  • Sebastian Morawietz
    Music
  • Project Type:
    Documentary
  • Runtime:
    52 minutes 12 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 20, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
    Netherlands
  • Country of Filming:
    Netherlands
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital 4K
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Ireland Wildlife Film Festival
    Virtual online
    Ireland
    November 10, 2021
    Ireland premiere
  • Noordelijk Film Festival
    Leeuwarden
    Netherlands
    November 14, 2021
  • Sondrio Festival
    Sondrio
    Italy
    November 12, 2021
    Italian premiere (Italian version)
    Ambiente Giovani Award
  • Wildlife Film Festival Rotterdam
    Rotterdam
    Netherlands
    October 27, 2021
    Dutch cinema premiere (Dutch version)
    Newcomer Award 2021
  • Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
    New York
    United States
    October 15, 2021
    North America Premiere
  • International Nature Namur Festival
    Namur
    Belgium
    October 15, 2021
    Belgium premiere
  • Matsalu Nature Film Festival
    Matsalu
    Estonia
    September 23, 2021
    Estonian premiere
    Finalist
  • Greenscreen
    Eckernförde
    Germany
    September 12, 2021
    World premiere
  • The Impact DOCS Awards
    Online Festival
    United States
    August 7, 2021
    Award of Excellence - Special Mention
  • Natourale
  • IFF Ekotopfilm Envirofilm
  • Lonely Wolf Film Festival
  • World Wildlife Day Film Showcase
  • Darßer NaturfilmFestival
  • Cannes World Film Festival
  • Wildlife Vaasa International Nature film festival
  • Festival International Nature Namur
Distribution Information
  • Albatross World Sales
    Distributor
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: All Rights, Free TV
  • EO
    Distributor
    Country: Netherlands
    Rights: All Rights, Free TV
Director Biography - Hilco Jansma

Hilco Jansma (1979) earned his MSc in biology at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. In his spare time he developed his skills for filming and editing. He volunteered in the 'Flight Artists' project at the Wageningen University and operated a Phantom high speed camera. This resulted in spectacular footage of animals in slow motion which was handed to the film team of the Dutch natural history documentary film ‘De Nieuwe Wildernis’.

With his newly developed skills Hilco decided to make a short nature documentary on ‘The Noorderplantsoen’ in the city of Groningen, fully in charge of the camera, script, editing and production. His goal is to show people that nature is everywhere, even on our doorstep and that urban nature can be just as fascinating as what we see in BBC documentaries on exotic places. He wants to amaze people to enhance sustainable use of our environment. The documentary was finished in 2015 and selected for several international wildlife film festivals, receiving a special mention twice.

After that it was time to think about another film adventure, one that took longer than expected, because of a shy and challenging subject; the rare Dutch otter. In 2017 Hilco set out to film and research the otter that had been reintroduced into The Netherlands. He had the support of Cees van Kempen (Ispida Wildlife Productions), but there was no budget. During the project they looked for non-profit sponsors and Albatross World Sales signed a contract for international distribution at the start of 2019. Only after 3 years he gathered enough footage to produce the first documentary on the elusive and rare Dutch otter. Dutch public broadcaster EO signed a contract to air it January 2021 in The Netherlands, at the start of the year of the otter. This premiere (+repeat) had 1.1 million viewers. Albatross World Sales has now started the international distribution.

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