A charming and sensitive all-ages drama that explores life’s lightness and gravity with uplifting emotional depth. Winner of a special mention from the Berlinale Generation KPlus’ adult jury, and the NYICFF Grand Prize Feature Film Award.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2020
This film is screening in select cinemas and venues across the country. See here for details.
10-year-old Sam is enduring a summer family holiday on a Dutch island, but things are far from idyllic – his brother has a broken leg, his mum has terrible migraines, and his dad is constantly trying to encourage togetherness. Sam, who has an imaginative morbid streak and a desire to unpack life’s big questions, embarks on “aloneness training” to prepare for the fact that as the youngest he’ll likely outlive his family. But his training quickly changes tack when he meets 11-year-old Tess, an enigmatic and electric force, with a secret and quest all of her own. — Nic Marshall
“My Extraordinary Summer with Tess is particularly affecting when it’s in quiet rather than breezy mode, and its central duo rise to the task of conveying complicated emotions in tender, telling glances. It helps that Sal Kroonenberg’s scenic cinematography not only makes a visual impact, but reinforces the feature’s thematic journey. In a movie about young hearts and minds trying to find their place in the world – one by accepting life’s losses as well as its connections, the other by exploring her origins – continually placing its searching characters amongst sandy dunes, sprawling hillsides and ocean expanses is a smart and fitting touch.” — Sarah Ward, Screendaily
About the Filmmaker
Steven Wouterlood is a Dutch filmmaker. He directed the children’s television film Alles mag (Anything Goes) in 2013, which won an International Emmy Kids Award and the Kids Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, among other prizes. My Extraordinary Summer with Tess is his debut feature film.