(Event in partnership with the cycle Images of the Imagined Real, where the Family Film Project will have an extension this year).

Dutch director Tom Fassaert will be in Porto on November 2nd to present two of his most acclaimed documentaries: the feature films "An Angel In Doel" (2011) and "A Family Affair" (2015). Before the film sessions, the director will also do a masterclass focused on his work. This visit of the director is part of the IRI (Images of the Imagined Real - Cycle of Photography, Cinema and Multimedia) in partnership with the International Film Festival Family Film Project, where Tom Fassaert received the Grand Jury Prize in 2016 for the film “A Family Affair”.



Tom Fassaert (Naarden, 1979) grew up in the Netherlands and partly in South Africa. These extreme differences already opened his eyes at a young age. But it was his dad’s obsession with making home movies that undoubtedly planted the first seeds that ultimately grew into Fassaert’s passion for film.

Tom Fassaert debuted with his feature length documentary De engel Van Doel (An angel in Doel) about a small Belgian village threatened with demolition. It premiered at the Berlinale, screened at +50 festivals worldwide and won several international awards. Fassaert’s second feature length documentary is A Family Affair. A film that explores the delicate terrain along the fault lines of his own family. It was the Opening Film of IDFA 2015 where Fassaert also received the prestigious Prins Bernhard Cultuur Fonds Documentary Award for his works. After winning the Special Jury Award at IDFA, the film started its journey to many international festivals and received numerous awards. It recently won the Gouden Kalf (Dutch Academy Award) for best long documentary, was nominated for the European Film Award 2016 and is acquired by Netflix to be broadcasted globally. Variety recently named Fassaert “One of the Ten Docu-makers to Watch”.

Parallel to his passion for filmmaking, Tom Fassaert also teaches and coaches at (international) film schools and the IDFA Mediafonds workshop. 

Nov 02 | 17h00 | Auditorium of the Almeida Garrett Library 

MASTERCLASS: The closer we get

with Tom Fassaert

"The relationship between me, the filmmaker and my subject is at the essence of every documentary I make. Even if the subject isn’t a real person, but ‘only’ an idea (or essayistic point of view), it’s still the relationship between me and the subject that define the choices concerning form, photography, editing or use of music. The final film is therefore not the ‘objective’ truth nor the ‘pure’ reality…it’s the result of a very personal relationship between a filmmaker and his subject. As an audience we witness how the reality resonated with the filmmaker and through the filmmaker also through us. It’s this subjectiveness that make documentaries potentially very moving and powerful experiences. 

In my masterclass I will show different clips from my own films and inspirational material as a starting point for in depth discussion about the choices I make and dilemmas that occur before, during and after the making of my films". 

Nov 02 | 17h45 | Auditorium of the Almeida Garrett Library | With the presence of the director

An Angel In Doel

(by Tom Fassaert | 2011 | Holanda | DOC | 77’)


As the village of Doel dies a slow death under pressure from the advancing Antwerp docks, the elderly Emilienne tries to continue with her everyday life. But the village pastor Verstraete dies and her friends leave. Ultimately she is also forced to let go as well.

Nov 02 | 21h30 | Auditorium of the Almeida Garrett Library | With the presence of the director

A Family Affair

(by Tom Fassaert | 2015 | Holanda | DOC | 114’)


On his 30th birthday, Tom Fassaert receives a mysterious invitation from his 95-year-old grandmother Marianne to come visit her in South Africa. At that time, the only thing he knows about her are the myths and predominantly negative stories his father told him. She was a femme fatale who went through countless men, a famous model in the 1950s, and a mother that put her two sons into a children’s home. Fassaert decides to accept her invitation. But when his grandmother makes an unexpected confession, his venture becomes much more complicated than he could ever have imagined.