Ton van Zantvoort (Heesch, 1979) is an acclaimed director, cinematographer and editor, whose films have screened at numerous prestigious A- film festivals. His work has been theatrically released in several countries, broadcast all over the world (VPRO, KRO-NCRV, ARTE/ZDF, Al Jazeera, VRT) and has won more than 50 awards for best director, best cinematographer and best editor.

  • documentaire productie prijzen
  • a-WORLD-to-SHAPE
  • a-blooming-business-documentaire
  • a-traveler's-guide-monkey
  • de-benno-tapes-documentaire
  • grito-de-piedra-documentaire
  • kees-en-mien-documentaire

1999- 2003 Art Academy St. Joost, Audiovisual. diploma obtained with credit
1996- 1999 Grafisch Lyceum Eindhoven, Art-direction. diploma obtained
1991- 1996 HAVO, Maaslandcollege Oss. diploma obtained

name: Ton van Zantvoort
production company: NEWTON film |
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other: IMDB | Facebook | LinkedIn


Ton van Zantvoort (Heesch, 1979) graduated with credits at the Academy for Visual Arts in Breda in 2003. In 2006, his debut film GRITO de PIEDRA premiered at IDFA and was broadcast by ARTE/ZDF and other stations. His second feature a BLOOMING BUSINESS, a co-production with the Dutch VPRO, was screened at hundred (renowned) international film festivals, broadcast worldwide and won a dozen awards, such as at DOK Leipzig. In 2016 his controversial documentary, the BENNO TAPES, won a Golden NL Award.

As with his acclaimed movie SHEEP HERO (81 minutes, 2018), he was not only responsible for (co-) production and directing for all these above mentioned films, but Ton van Zantvoort also did the cinematography, editing, grading, artwork and more. SHEEP HERO was selected by more than 100 (renowned) international film festival (such as IDFA, Thessaloniki, Vision du Réel, DOK.fest, GZDOC, DOCNYC) won more than 25 awards and 30+ nominations and got a theatrical release in several European countries.

In 2022 his film a WORLD to SHAPE about the Dutch designers Dave Hakkens and Nienke Hoogvliet was released. Also that year his film a TRAVELER’S GUIDE premiered at the Film by the Sea film festival.

In addition to producing his own documentary films, van Zantvoort has also produced documentaries for other directors: DAY is DONE* by acclaimed director Guido Hendrikx (premiered at IDFA), FALLING (EO) by Jef Monté, a feature length film by Luuk Bouwman about the enigmatic artist Dick Verdult (Omroep Brabant) and HONDS (KRO-NCRV) by Josefien van Kooten among others.

Besides longer films van Zantvoort has made dozens of short (art) films, gives master classes at (art) academies in Europe and Canada and was a jury member for several international film festivals and for organisations such as Panasonic International. He was also artistic director of DOCfeed Film festival and chairman of Stichting TEEK

Ton van Zantvoort Filmmaker


Filmography as director (selection)
a WORLD to SHAPE, 52 min, director, cinematographer & editor, production Elbe Stevens Films, AVROTROS, Omroep Brabant, 2022
a TRAVELER’S GUIDE, 63 min, director, cinematographer, co-editor, post production, producer, 2022
SHEEP HERO, 81 min, producer, director, cinematographer & editor in co-production with seriousFilm, Omroep Brabant & KRO-NCRV, 2018
THE BENNO TAPES, 54 min, director, cinematographer & editor, produced by Van Osch Films, Omroep Brabant, L1, TV West, 2015
Kees en Mien, 30 min, director, cinematographer & co-editor, produced by Zuidenwind filmproducties, Omroep Brabant, 2011
a BLOOMING BUSINESS, 52 min, producer, director, cinematographer & editor, co-production VPRO, 2009
GRITO de PIEDRA, 55 min, producer, director, cinematographer & editor, 2006
other films: Past as future, 18 min, 2011; Lovely Planet, 8 min, 2009; Carrousel, 7 min, 2010; Another day in Bombay, 10 min, 2007; Isla Totora, 10 min, 2007; Pack, 5 min, 2005; Moja Mbegu, 5 min, 2004; Items, 25 min, 2003, Khamuvillage, 25 min, 2003

Filmography as producer (selection)
ANIMA. 25 min, directed by Anna Witte & Josefien van Kooten, in development, expected 2024
The Hole In My Life, 55 min, direction by Xavier van Delft, EO, developped/ not realised, 2020
Honds, 26 min, directed by Josefien van Kooten, Teledoc Campus, KRO-NCRV, 2020
Dick Verdult, 70 min, directed by Luuk Bouwman, in coproduction with seriousFilm, Omroep Brabant, 2017
FALLING, 25 min, Teledoc Campus, directed by Jef Monté, EO, 2014
Loving Heart, 71 min, directed by Wouter Verhoeven, 2013
Day is Done*, 30 min, directed by Guido Hendrikx, 2010

About the director

Ton van Zantvoort observes with great attention and takes us into the worlds of people on the edge, people who try to survive but are confronted by external forces such as tourism, international commerce and mass consumption. With great humanity, van Zantvoort shows us a different world in which all human life is valuable. His films are characterized by a language of intimate images, a poetic structure and enormous involvement. In his lyrical documentaries with socio-economic overtones he usually resists the temptation of doing interviews. His work is original and testifies to a great effort of will by the maker. The vision of a Western civilized person who holds up a mirror to us. A confronting mirror, but one that invites you to take a long good look.

Director’s awards

Audience award, 10th Arquiteturas Film Festival, Porto, Portugal, 2023
Green Academy Award winner, best documentary, India, 2023
Palmare Best Feature Documentary Film Award, FECSC Santa Cruz International Film Festival in Argentina, 2023
Ministry of Culture of the Saratov Region award, Saratov Sufferings Film Fest, Russia, 2020
Grand Prix Feature-Length Competition, 6th Apricot Tree Ujan International Documentary Film Festival, Armenia, 2020
Grand Prix, 15ème Festival International du film Pastoralismes et Grands Espaces, France, 2020
Grand prize of the city of Innsbruck for the best Environmental documentary, INF Innsbruck Nature Festival, Austria, 2020
Christian Berger Cinematography Award, INF Innsbruck Nature Festival, Austria, 2020
President of the Polish Filmmakers Association Award, 18th Włodzimierz Puchalski International Nature Film Festival, Poland, 2020
Best Newcomer, International Green Screen Nature Film Festival, Germany, 2020
Best Documentary Feature Award, FicLaPaz (7th) International Film Festival Bolivia, Bolivia, 2020
Best Cinematography Award, Woods Hole film festival, USA, 2020
Best Documentary Feature, Alternative Film Festival, Canada, 2020
Best Cinematography Award, Indie Film Awards, Japan, 2020
NL Award, best documentary of the year, RPO, The Netherlands, 2020
Best Director, Torino Underground Cinefest, Italy, 2020
Most Original Story mention, Florence Film Awards, Italy, 2020
Special Jury Award, Cinema Vérité, Iran, 2019
Best International Documentary Award, FICMA, Mexico, 2019
Best International Documentary Award and Audience award, NIFF (Nederland), USA, 2019
2nd Best International Feature film, Fiorenzo Serra Film Festival, Italy, 2019
Honourable mention, Cine Eco Seia, Portugal, 2019
Award of Excellence: Film Feature Accolade Global Film Competition, USA, 2019
Best Documentary Film, NYCA New York Cinematography Awards, USA, 2019
Honourable mention, Festiver Festival Barichara, Colombia, 2019
Green Warsaw Award, Millennium Docs Against Gravity, Poland, 2019
Best European Cinematography award, European Cinematography Awards/ ECA, 2019
Distribution award La Trois, Millennium Documentary Festival, Belgium 2019
Best Film and Best Director, NVIFF, The Netherlands, 2019
Top 10 best of IDFA audience award, IDFA, The Netherlands, 2018
Golden NL-Award, the Netherlands, 2016
NL Award, the Netherlands, 2016
Trevignano FilmFest Award, Italy, 2013
Honourable mention, best short, Planet in Focus, Canada, 2011
Jury award, FIFDH, France, 2011
Audience award, The Art of the Document, Poland, 2010
Special jury mention, The Art of the Document, Poland, 2010
Golden Olive, best documentary, Int Festival Montenegro, 2010
Golden Olive, best cinematography, Int Festival Montenegro, 2010
Audience award, Millennium Film Festival, Belgium, 2010
Press award, best film of the FICA festival, Goiás, Brazil, 2010
Best Treatment, Cinema Planeta, Cuernavaca, Mexico, 2010
Healthy Workplaces Award, DOK Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany, 2009
Special mention Open Eyes, Med Film festival, Rome, Italy, 2009
Audience award Mixed Greens, Planet in Focus, Canada, 2009
Honourable mention, Media city 13, Visual Art Festival, 2007
2nd price NFTVM award, for best new Dutch filmmaker, 2006
4th price 1 minute & sound award 2006/ dogs
Nomination for St. Joost Penning/ 2003

Ton van Zantvoort - SHEEP HERO documentary snow

Festival screenings (selection)

National – IDFA International Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam (2018, 2010, 2006, 2005); Dutch Film Festival, Utrecht (2014, 2009, 2007, 2005);

Europe – DOK Leipzig, Germany; Visions du Réel, Switzerland, Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, Greece (2009,2019); DOK.fest, München, Festival dei Popoli, Italy; Documenta Madrid, Spain; Millennium Docs Against Gravity, Poland; Docpoint Helsinki, Finland; Edinburgh International Film Festival, UK; Docville, Belgium; One World Prague, Czech Republic; Dokufest, Kosovo; MakeDox Macedonia; Moldox, Moldavia; European Film Festival Palić, Serbia; Eberswalde Film Festival – Provinziale, Germany; Art of the Document Multimedia Festival, Poland; Split International Festival of New film, Croatia; International Millennium Film Festival, Belgium; International Film Festival for Human Rights, various locations in France; International Audiovisual Festival of Biodiversity, Italy; Kinookus FFF, Croatia; Sunchild Film Festival, Armenia; This Human World, Austria; Jihlava IDFF, Czech Republic; CineEco Portugal;

World – Vancouver International Film Festival, Canada; Planet in Focus, Toronto; Montreal Human Rights Film Festival; Margaret Mead Film Festival & travelling selection, New York, Chicago, Florida, Vermont, Indiana; BAFICI Buenos Aires; DOCSMX Festival Internacional de Cine Documental, Mexico; Animal & Nature Film Festival, Beijing, China; Film Festival Arlington, Virginia, USA; Duke City DocFest, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA; Criterio Ambiental, Costa Rica; Short Film Festival, Moscow; International Documentary Festival, Agadir, Morocco; Green Film Festival, Seoul, Korea; New Zealand International Film Festival; Flahertiana International Documentary Festival Russia; BIFED, Turkey; Festiver Festival Barichara, Colombia,


NEWTON film BV – creative documentary production, founder and Majority Shareholder 2006 – present and director of NEWTON film foundation
DOCfeed, Artistic advisor & volunteer, 2015- 2020
Stichting TEEK president : this foundation supports film makers who try to push the boundaries. (2008- 2021)
Grant committee member: Professional Arts Advisory Committee, Province of North Brabant (2025-2028), and others.
Guest teacher (directing, documentary, cinematography, editing 2006-present) at HKU Media Utrecht, St. Joost Acadamy Breda, Koning Willem 1 College ‘s-Hertogenbosch , Mgr. Frencken College Oosterhout, DOCedu, Sparkle (Eindhoven)
Masterclasses taught at Planet in Focus (Toronto); University of Manitoba, Canada; 3-day master class taught together with Cherry Duyns under the supervision of Jan Eilander at Dziga Nijmegen
Jury member at various (inter)national film festivals, including:
29th Shanghai International TV Film Festival, Shanghai, China, 2024
West Lake International Documentary Film Festival, Hangzhou, China, 2020

Millennium International Documentary Film Festival, 2020
International Film Festival Montenegro (with Marija Perovic, among others), 2011
International Film Festival Breda (with Monic Hendrikx & Marc de Cloe), 2010
Filmfront Festival, Gorinchem (with Hans Eijses), 2010
Panasonic International LUMIX award, commissioned by Scholz & Volkmer (with Michael Lum & Fred Flade), 2010-2011


Publications (selection)

Publications, reviews and interviews in all national Dutch newspapers and periodicals, and on news sites, including Trouw, NRC, Volkskrant, AD, Telegraaf and Filmkrant, Brabants Dagblad, BN de stem,, De Groene A’dammer, EVA, KONKAV, virtually all Dutch TV guides, and in international newspapers and film festival publications, including EDN DOX magazine, Modern Times Review, Eye For Film, IDFA daily papers, Dutch Film Festival paper, etcetera.

TV and radio interviews (selection)

VPRO Best of IDFA NPO, Al Jazeera World, Sky Movies (UK), ArmNews (Germany), ET1 (Greece), NPO2 Radar (the Netherlands), Een vandaag (the Netherlands), TV10 (Dutch regional broadcaster), Radio Deutsche Welle (Germany), Radio Klara VRT (Belgium), Omroep Brabant Radio (Dutch regional broadcaster), Dit is de Dag EO (the Netherlands).

SHEEP HERO trailer



Jury report (by John Appel, Oscar van der Kroon et al.), Golden NL-Award, 2016
The makers have cleverly edited the material to achieve a powerful result. Impact and relevance are big. Watching this film is an emotional experience, going from sympathy to pity to annoyance to despair. As a viewer you are affected by all these emotions and you watch the documentary to the end with growing amazement. The film succeeds very well in letting the viewers judge for themselves.

Jukka Takala, Director of European Union -OSHA, Spain
Only 10 films from international filmmakers were nominated for the Film Award and selected from 2,578 documentaries submitted to DOK Leipzig this year. I would like to offer my congratulations to Ton Van Zantvoort, whose film was a worthy winner. He approaches the topic in a highly creative way and highlights the strength of international documentary film-making in 2009.

Jury rapport, NFTVM-award
Ton van Zantvoort shows his ability to use a purposeful approach and cinematic means to achieve a wonderful end result. In difficult circumstances he succeeds in creating well-rounded and mature images with fantastic lighting. His work shows historic awareness and respect for his characters. He cleverly succeeds in capturing an atmosphere and through neat observations he manages to get very close to his characters. Work of this high quality commands admiration and respect.

René Bosma, deputy director St. Joost Academy
His modus operandi seems to follow that of the direct cinema; direct observations with as few outside interventions as possible and control over virtually the entire creation process of the film. However, in Ton’s films you see a preference for stylisation and an emphasis on image and sound design. This makes the work original and its content is indicative of the film maker’s great willpower. In his films Ton determinedly takes a stance, presenting his own vision of reality, the vision of a Westerner who holds a mirror up to society and himself. This mirror shows things that are not easy to watch but still you enjoy looking into it at great length.

Panasonic International
Independent filmmaker is only half the description of what Ton van Zantvoort actually does. His films are typified by the language of intimate images, a poetic structure and enormous involvement. Van Zantvoort observes with great attention and takes us into a world of people who try to survive but are confronted by external powers as tourism, international commerce and mass communication. In his seven years of making films and art, the Dutch born director and cameraman has screened his works at hundreds film festivals around the world, has been awarded more than 25 times and has taught and written on photography and documentary making in various institutions.

Ton van Zantvoort Filmmaker


Trouw (national paper)“Film moment of 2019, not to be missed!”
Volkskrant (national paper) ★★★★a visual ode to a primeval landscape. And if there is ever a prize for the most beautiful drone images, SHEEP HERO should win.”
Nederlands Dagblad (national paper) ★★★★ “SHEEP HERO lets you really sympathize with Stijn.
Indebioscoop ★★★★★ “extreme strong film ”
Filmvandaag ★★★★ ½ Everything is perfect in SHEEP HERO. There is a complete story, interspersed with beautiful images and beautiful characters. None of this would be out of place in a feature film.
De Protagonisten ★★★★ “Truly recommended. The images are beautiful and more sincere than Stijn, you hardly find them anymore.”

International reviews of a BLOOMING BUSINESS

a poetic, cinematic and poignant documentary – IMDB Movie database – USA
the film intrigues and outrages in equal measure – Eye For Film, review 4 out 5 stars – UK
Part poetry, part explosive exposé – Newport International Film Festival – USA
A quietly formidable film – Vancouver International Film Festival -CA
It’s time to wake up and smell the imported roses – Edinburgh Int’l Film Festival – UK
for the outstanding artistic achievement of a strong film – Golden Olive Award

curriculum vitae NEWTON film

(Download NEWTON film curriculum vitae as pdf)