Screened as part of NZIFF 2020

Paradise Drifters 2020

Directed by Mees Peijnenburg Spotlight

Exciting young director Mees Peijnenburg and ace cinematographer Jasper Wolf (Monos; Instinct, NZIFF20) immerse us in the gritty world of a trio of disadvantaged Dutch youths en route to Marseille, where either hope or failure awaits.

The Netherlands In Dutch with English subtitles
85 minutes VOD



Pieter Kuijpers
Iris Otten
Sander van Meurs


Jasper Wolf


Imre Reutelingsperger

Production designer

Elza Kroonenberg

Costume designer

Minke Lunter


Juho Nurmela
Ella van der Woude


Tamar van Waning (Chloe)
Jonas Smulders (Lorenzo)
Bilal Wahib (Yousef)
Joren Seldeslachts (Ivan)
Camilla Siegertsz (Chloe’s mum)
Steef Cuijpers (Chloe’s stepfather)
Micha Hulshof (Cor)


Rotterdam, Berlin 2020


Far from the canal houses and modernist villas where the well-heeled burghers of most Dutch cities reside, lies a different world. Here lives an unexpected underclass: young, ethnically mixed, struggling to survive having somehow missed the boat, bus or train to a better life than the one they were born into. From a script developed at the Cannes Cinéfondation, Mees Peijnenburg, a talented director not much older than his young protagonists, scratches the underbelly of Europe and finds a festering wound hidden there. — Marten Rabarts

Paradise Drifters introduces us to three young adults who have no sense of security or belonging in their lives. Chloe (van Waning) is pregnant. The relationship with her mother is revealed in a single encounter marked by anger and violence. Naive Lorenzo (Jonas Smulders) hero-worships his feckless older brother Ivan (Joren Seldeslachts). He will do anything to secure a better future for them when Ivan is released from prison. Anxious, introverted Yousef (Bilal Wahib) seems ill-prepared for the moment he leaves a care home and enters the world… There is a dynamic energy to Peijnenburg’s storytelling… [and] a documentary-like edge to [his] depiction of the tensions in the banlieues of Marseille.” — Allan Hunter, Screendaily

About the Filmmaker
Mees Peijnenburg studied at the Netherlands Film Academy, where he made his award-winning graduation film, Even Cowboys Get to Cry (2013). In 2015 he directed TV drama We will never be royals, whose international title was inspired by the hit Lorde song. Paradise Drifters is his first feature film.