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What’s your favourite colour?

The question "what's your favourite colour?" is a classic: everyone understands it and the answer is neither right nor wrong. Pomme Willemse, a graduate of the Theatre in Education course, decided to ask just that one question to the people from the Holtenbroek neighbourhood of Zwolle.

What’s your favourite colour?

Somewhere in the outskirts of Zwolle, on the very edge of the neighbourhood Holtenbroek (Also known as The HoltenBronx) stands an apartment building which houses 140 households. Next to each other, on top of each other, behind each other. Each with their own story. Who lives there, between the meadows and the high-rise buildings?

Meet the Colourful Ones

Along with cinematographer Boris Peters, Pomme Willemse, theatre maker and graduate of the Theatre in Education course, made an attempt to let the residents of this flat meet each other. This all started by asking one single question: “What’s your favourite colour?” The participants were then divided in groups based on their preference. With their favourite colour as a starting point, the residents tell their stories as well as stories of the Holtenbroek neighbourhood in a documentary that Boris and Pomme worked on for eight months. In various chapters, each themed with a different colour, we meet The Colourful Ones."

Problem area?

Pomme on the project’s objective: “Besides the artistic component of this project, there is also a social objective behind the film. In fact, there are several. The Holtenbroek neighbourhood of Zwolle is regarded a problem area. It is known for high levels of poverty, crime and insecurity, coupled with little contact among residents and little sense of pride. However, conversations with residents yielded a very different picture. Most residents feel safe and are proud of their neighbourhood. So one of the objectives of this project is to boost Holtenbroek’s image and provide a positive view of this place."

Together under one roof

It was just as important for Pomme to bring the residents into contact with one another. This idea originated from a personal fascination of Pomme’s, who as a child saw one of the prints from Annie M.G. Schmidt’s Pluk van de Petteflet. Pomme: “In the drawing you see the front of the Petteflet tower block and you look in through lots of little windows. I became curious about the people who lived behind all those windows. What stories were hiding behind them? When thinking about the block of flats in Holtenbroek, I was similarly seized by the realisation that these people live together under one roof and yet barely have contact with one another – out of fear, shyness or the simple fact that they don't speak each other's language. With this film, I hope to bring a group of people into contact with each other in an unprejudiced way. The focus is on what they have in common, because after all, we’re all people aren't we?"

A stage for stories

Pomme: “A secondary benefit of this project is that it provides a stage for people who normally don't get one. I believe their stories deserve to be told. The realisation that those stories were there inside that block of flats all along, touches me. Because I took the time to get to know these people, put them in touch with one another and gave them a reason to communicate, they have been able to tell their stories. I think that should happen more often.”

View the trailer for the film here:

Curious about what happened behind the scenes? Take a look:

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