Selling a Colonial War
International Competition
IDFA 2023

SYNOPSIS
In the Netherlands, colonial history is slowly but surely being rewritten. It has long been clear that what the Dutch government at the time described as “police actions”—the deployment of the army in response to Indonesia’s declaration of independence in 1945—was in fact an unlawful war. Nonetheless, the use of the term “war crimes” is still sensitive.


This documentary reveals how far the Dutch rulers went in selling the war as a domestic affair, intended to restore peace among the population. Unique, often shocking images tell a different story. Filmmaker In-Soo Radstake holds extensive interviews with international experts who explain the complex relationships in the former colony and set out the global context.


Under international pressure, the Dutch government gave up its colonial war, but the carefully composed political message from the past still hangs over the current public debate in the Netherlands. This is just one of the insights that emerge from this broad-based investigation of colonial history, which consistently looks beyond the established frameworks.


A MUST-SEE FOR GLOBAL AUDIENCES
In today’s interconnected world, there’s a growing appetite for films that illuminate the deeper truths of colonization. “Selling a Colonial War” stands at the forefront of this movement. Director In-Soo Radstake has crafted an enthralling exploration into the murkier realms of colonialism, drawing lines that connect past events to the world’s current geopolitical landscape.


The documentary taps into a universal theme: the manipulation of narrative to control perceptions. It’s a subject that resonates with global audiences, regardless of their familiarity with the specific history of the Dutch East Indies. In a time when the world grapples with misinformation and fake news, this film brings to light a historical case study in the distortion of truth for political ends.


Moreover, the cinematic quality of “Selling a Colonial War” elevates it beyond a mere historical account. It’s a film that will make an impact on the big screen; immersing viewers in a tumultuous chapter of history that’s been kept in the shadows for too long.


For streamers and broadcasters, the documentary offers more than just engaging content—it’s a conversation starter. As discussions about decolonization, racism, and rewriting history dominate global conversations, this film provides essential context and catalyzes meaningful dialogue.


“Selling a Colonial War” isn’t just a film; it’s a cultural touchstone, capturing a story of global relevance. It beckons audiences from every corner of the world to reflect, discuss, and understand the enduring legacies of colonialism. In an era hungry for truth and reconciliation, this documentary is a must-have for cinemas, streamers, and broadcasters worldwide.
 
FILMMAKERS
In-soo Radstake, a seasoned director and producer, has a repertoire spanning documentaries to feature films. His inaugural direction, ‘Made in Korea’, debuted at the Busan International Film Festival and garnered numerous accolades and nominations. Another highlight, ‘Parradox’, which delves into the life of the iconic Surinamese-Dutch filmmaker Pim de la Parra, premiered at IDFA, earning a nomination for Best Dutch Documentary.


With over two decades in the documentary-making, Holland Harbour’s collaboration with In-Soo has been a fruitful odyssey. They are set to produce In-Soo’s upcoming documentary feature, ‘Look Like Jackie’ that will be co-produced with VPRO television.
 
DOCUMENTARY SPECS
The feature film is 133 minutes long, available on DCP with English subs. The languages spoken in the film are: English, Dutch and Indonesian. A short/series -version for tv screens will be available soon. BeNeLux theatrical distribution is handled by Periscoop Film, for enquiries about licensing the film in the Rest of World please contact: Nadadja Kemper (nadadja@hollandharbour.nl); she will be attending IDFA’s Docs for Sale.