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Doula’s of the City by Adelheid Roosen

Segal Center Film Festival on Theatre and Performance (FTP) 2022 presents

Doula’s of the City


by Adelheid Roosen

Country: Netherlands | Running Time: 77 | Language: Dutch  | Year Of Release: 2021

About Doula’s of the City

DOULAS OF THE CITY is an ode to women who’ve made it their life’s purpose to help others. They fight poverty, loneliness, crime and more. The initial idea was a performance staging 80 women. The pandemic made this impossible. What followed was a series of imitate zoom sessions with 8 of the women. Without knowing each other, these women opened their hearts to share their vulnerabilities and strengths. Through conversations, they found that their autobiography is at the core of their work.

Idea, Initiative and Director: Adelheid Roosen
Cinematography, Director and Editing: Maasja Ooms
Production company: Female Economy
Co-production: Omroep HUMAN, CCCP

The film has received several acknowledgements world-wide, a sign that the sincerity and subject matter of the film resonates all around the world.

The film was awarded as Best Lockdown Film at Bettiah International Film Festival. Finalist at the Beyond the Curve [France], Semi-Finalist at the Luleå International Film Festival (LIFF) [Sweden], Official Selection at CineFem [Uruguay], FIDBA Buenos Aires International Documentary Film Festival [Argentina], Red Rock Film Festival [Utah, USA], Blackboard International Film Festival [India], Cinema d’iDEA [Italy], Nederlands Film Festival [Netherlands], Toronto International Women Film Festival [Canada].

The film was broadcasted on Dutch television. The audience and press responses were overwhelming, showing the importance of this document:

“Doulas of the city is a magnificent, touching, and important document. The directors often show not the one who speaks, but the ones who listen. Not through fast, talk show-like shots, where the listeners always have an eye on their papers. The silences are filled with true attention and resonance. That is something you don’t see often on tv: listening becomes a shared activity.” – De Groene Amsterdammer (well-known progressive intellectual magazine)

“Can we please have more films like this. This is amazing, and their stories are recognizable. We need this so badly, especially in these times of COVID-19. Very thankful for having seen this.” – viewer

“Through clear language and brave silences, they create a valuable monument for strength and vulnerability, and they show how these two characteristics are inseparably linked.” – NRC ★★★★ (premier liberal quality newspaper)

“This documentary moved me. It shows very well what we sometimes take for granted, but what is so incredibly valuable; the work that all these women do, that is the gentle power of the city, responsible for how our city functions. It needs to be nourished in our society.– Rutger Groot Wassink (alderman social affairs Amsterdam)

“In December 2020 I rehearsed for the performance Doulas of the City with 80 women (who weren’t actresses) from all districts of Amsterdam. An evening program where they could bring the audience into their “female economy-flow”. I built the performance based on the question to them: how can you continuously give and keep on giving? Because they are the heartbeat of the city that goes unseen. At the start of the lockdown, it quickly became clear we’d never be able to get into the theatres. Because I wanted to remain in touch with these 80 women, I arranged Zoom-sessions along with Turkish pedagogue Jale Simsek to continue our conversations during lockdown. The initial plan was to rehearse with them some more, but our meetings reached a deeper level, despite the digital platform. It moves me to see that we – a group of women who barely know each other – dare to connect with one another, which leads to very personal talks and the sharing of memories going back to our early childhood. This material may not get lost and in collaboration with Maasja Ooms, we started a shooting period of three months, in which we met the women weekly via Zoom.

Every meeting, they managed to tug at our heartstrings again and the relevance of their visibility became bigger and bigger. The Doulas are city heroines. And I wonder how their motor is always turned on. They work 24/7 for their environment and in the districts. They touch me because they lay a female economy as bedding in the city, despite an abundance of protocols. And with them, there are thousands of women who do this in the Netherlands, often on voluntary basis and the world doesn’t see them. The world doesn’t know them. Where’s the visibility of their work? I discover that they, just like me, use their autobiography as a starting point for their work. The pain, the surviving and giving, that also has space for humor and self-deprecation. An insight into a female world that’s reached the very capillaries of society and which seldom gets seen. Their indispensable effort finally becomes visible through this film.” -Adelheid Roosen

About Adelheid Roosen

Adelheid Roosen is artistic leader and director of theatre company Female Economy. Her immersive and intimate approach, with both professional actors and neighborhood residents, makes her a pioneer in the Dutch theatre scene.
Roosen won numerous awards during her career, amongst them the LPTW Gilder/Coigney International Theatre Award (2017), for presenting ‘work demonstrating artistic excellence and support of women’s work and issues, which inspires and educates across cultures’.

About The Festival

The Segal Center Film Festival on Theatre and Performance (FTP) is an annual event showcasing films drawn from the world of theatre and performance. The festival presents experimental, emerging, and established theatre artists and filmmakers from around the world to audiences and industry professionals. The 7th annual festival will focus on work for the screen created by theatre artists during the Time of Corona. The festival will be held digitally from March 1st – 15th 2022.

Watch Doula’s of the City from March 1st to March 15th 2022 on the Segal Center Film Festival on Theatre and Performance (FTP) website.

Support this film by Adelheid Roosen by making a direct donation to them at the following details:

Read more about Adelheid Roosen and Doula’s of the City at (https://femaleeconomy.nl) or get in touch at Lotte@femaleeconomy.nl / Facebook @adelheidroosen.femaleeconomy / Instagram @female.economy

Find out all that’s happening at Segal Center Film Festival on Theatre and Performance (FTP) 2022 by following the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.