Koen Suidgeest (Amsterdam, 1967) is a documentary director, writer and photographer. A 1995 honors graduate of the Film Department of the University of the Creative Arts in England, Koen started his career as a cinematographer working on commercial campaigns, theatrical features, corporate projects and documentary. From 2002 he dedicates his time to directing documentary film combined with some photography work.
Koen’s projects mostly deal with human rights issues with a recurring focus on the rights of women in the developing world. He likes to observe without judging and is known for his ability to get very close to his characters. With his documentary Casting (2006) he became the first Dutch filmmaker to be nominated for a Spanish Academy Award (Goya). His multiple award-winning Karla’s Arrival (2011) was selected for more than 40 film festivals, broadcast in 14 countries, and won him widespread international recognition. In 2016, he delivered three films: Out & About, a collection of portraits of parents of gay children in Indonesia, Russia and Kenya, Solo, a personal film about grief, and Girl Connected, an inspiring documentary about five teenage girls in five developing countries who are each fighting gender discrimination in their community.
Additional to his work as a filmmaker and photographer, Koen teaches documentary at a variety of universities, is a sought-after tutor for international writing and pitching workshops, and has served on the jury of several film festivals. As a public speaker, Koen recently gave his first TED talk – a touching presentation about how babies born on the street inadvertently end up rescuing their own teenage mothers.
After 25 years abroad, Koen moved back to The Netherlands in 2013. He is father of two girls, Paula and Ana. In his free time, he enjoys running and cooking. He speaks Dutch, English, Spanish, poor French and some German.
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