2021 Film Jury

On 4 and 5 September, the 2021 DMFF film jury met to select the award winners from a total of 135 mountain films submitted for the 11th Dutch Mountain Film Festival. Jury members, Julia Popławska, Ilona van den Brekel and Toine Heijmans watched no less than 14 hours and 32 minutes of film which had been pre-selected by our team. The jury have made their satisfaction known to us about the quality of entries and that after long and careful deliberation there are some excellent films among this year’s award winners. Winners will be announced at the special Awards Show on the evening of Friday 5 November!
The winning films (and many others!) will be screened during our festival from 2 to 7 November 2021 in Heerlen and Aachen.
Can you stand the suspense?

Julia Popławska


Julia Popławska is a Polish documentary filmmaker and a member of the Polish Filmmakers Association. From 2002 to 2005 she worked as a correspondent for Newsweek Polska in Denmark. She has collaborated with TVP (Polish Public Televison) and Canal+. She made a documentary about Tibetans in Poland – Children of Dalai Lama (2008), an exclusive interview with H.H. Dalai Lama (2009) and a television documentary, The Polish Righteous (2008), a film about Poles who helped Jews during World War II. She graduated from Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing in Warsaw with her documentary Oh God, Dear God (2010). The Place (2015), another documentary, won her Best Newcomer Award at the 6th Dutch Mountain Film Festival in 2016. Her field of interest is Art & Science which feature in her most recent documentary, Metamorphoses (2020).

Ilona van den Brekel


Ilona van den Brekel (1963) works as a visual artist with various media, including video, photography and ceramics. She is intrigued by the fact that people look at the same things in different ways and have their own image and idea about it. She tries to reflect this in her work. She is currently working on a large ceramic installation. She also works for a number of cultural institutions as a production and business manager (including TAAT, Bureau Europa and the Nederlandse Dansdagen) and is also affiliated with the Maastricht Institute of Interdisciplinary Arts. Since childhood, the mountains and water have been the places where she spends her free time for sport and relaxation. When not able to do this, another of her passions is watching mountain films and reading mountain literature. She lives and works in Maastricht and Amsterdam.

Toine Heijmans


Toine Heijmans (1969) is a columnist for the Dutch daily newspaper ‘de Volkskrant’, and a writer. His latest novel, Zuurstofschuld ('Oxygen Debt'), was published this spring and is set in the high mountains: it is a story about two alpinists, friendship and loneliness. The book is now being translated into Italian, German and French. For a time, Heijmans was a climbing fanatic in the Alps and from an early age he has been a great lover of climbing literature. Sailing is another of his passions. His debut novel, Op Zee ('At Sea'), has been translated, filmed and has received awards in several countries, including the prestigious French Prix Médicis Étranger, for best foreign novel. Heijmans lives with his family in Amsterdam.