Around the North Sea
spring 2019 on VRT/één and VPRO/NPO2
The limits of the North Sea stretch much further than commonly thought. Beyond our own shores, there is a vast water world we barely know, a sea that created our history and connects the Belgians, the French, the English, the Scots, the Norwegians, the Danes, the Germans and the Dutch.
In this 10-episode documentary we explore the rich history of our North Sea and collect amazing stories that unfolded on and around the water. From the arrival of the Vikings to the disastrous storms that left large parts of coastal land uninhabitable for years. About new ideas and the knowledge that spread along and via the North Sea. From the World Wars that were fought there, the evolution of the fishing industry, the offshore wind farms, to the effects of global warming on life in our sea.
Through the stories of the people we meet along our route, we will document the inextricable link between present and past.
Director Arnout Hauben and his camera crew travel along the coast and across the sea, on foot, by public transport, by ferry, fishing boat, sailboat... as it suits and as the opportunities present themselves. On and on they travel along the whimsical borders of the turbulent North Sea. Arnout, Philippe (camera) and Ruben (sound & drone) are a close-knit team who, at times deliberately, at times accidentally, collect stories connected with the North Sea’s illustrious history.
Around the North Sea is a remarkably multi-faceted documentary series full of living history. In 10 episodes and 5.000 km, the series takes us from the medieval port town of Bruges across the Channel to the east coast of England, all the way up to the northerly Shetland Islands. There we cross to Norway to travel down along the fjords to the Danish town of Hirtshals. Via the Danish and German west coast we eventually end up in the Netherlands. From there it’s only a final short leg to the endpoint of our tour in Antwerp.
Back to Rwanda
spring 2019 on VRT/canvas
“Back to Rwanda” is a documentary series about the Rwandan genocide told through 5 personal stories. On April 6th 2019 it had been exactly 25 years after the plane of Rwandan president Habyarimana was attacked and the genocide started. In this seemingly tropical paradise, stretched over a thousand hills, in 100 days roughly 800.000 Tutsi en moderate Hutu were brutally killed.
Each of our episodes tells the story of people sharing the same past, but having experienced it from different point of views. In every story we work towards a meeting or confrontation between those key witnesses. They have influenced each other’s lives – and possibly made a difference between life and death – which meant we couldn’t predict how these meetings would evolve.
Despite the horror of this massacre, none of our key witnesses want to distance themselves completely of their shared past, however painful, because it has defined their lives. We ask ourselves if meeting those who have changed their lives face to face will make a difference in their personal suffering? Will this confrontation provide the answers to questions they’ve had for so long? Is it possible to bring them closer together? Will they heal after living through hell?
A Zoo History
spring 2018 on VRT/één
In 2018, the famous Antwerp Zoo celebrated its 175th anniversary. On that occasion Arnout Hauben took us on a remarkable trip through time from the first animals that arrived at the Zoo in 1843 to the opening of the new gorilla compound in 2018.
Each of the 6 episodes introduces us to a key figure in history that played a major role in the zoo’s development. Ranging from the first director, who doubled as renowned taxidermist, Jacques Kets, over the famous animal sculptor Rembrandt Bugatti (of the luxury car brand-dynasty!) to the first female Zoologist in the Low Countries, Agatha Gijzen.
Strokes of Madness
documentary (61 minutes)
“Strokes Of Madness” outlines an image of four people who try to survive with a psychosis sensitivity every day. A life without seems almost impossible to imagine. Now, with sincere openness, they allow us insight into their everyday life and personal suffering.
It's a film about the boundary between creativity and psychological vulnerability. Each person creates their own piece of art with the help of a renowned Belgian artist. The pace, imagery and narrative technique moves to the rhythm of a psychosis. With great visual attention to beauty and art as a guideline, the documentary outlines a fair picture of life with a psychotic sensitivity disorder. The unconventional theme and the engagement of the artists makes this film extraordinary. Sometimes it’s pure madness, but sometimes it comes with a stroke of genius.
autumn 2017 on VRT/één
“Unsung Heroes” is an adventurous and historical travel-documentary of television maker Arnout Hauben. In each episode Arnout follows the footsteps of an unremarked compatriot that went through an unpredictable, wondrous and often-dangerous journey in the past. Each of them carried a diary along their journey that has been overlooked by many but picked up by Arnout to serve as his very own rough guide through 800 years of history and across the globe. Eight ‘common heroes’ and compatriots left their trusted surroundings and didn’t know if they’d ever come back home. Now, fifty to eight hundred years later their diaries get the spotlight they so rightly deserve.
autumn 2017 on VRT/canvas
In Radio Gaga two hosts travel through the country in their mobile radio studio. They will stop and set up camp in small communities. Once set up they will spend the next 48 hours running a hyper local radio station for the locals. In each episode they drive in their converted caravan studio to a new location. Our hosts will make an at times wacky and at times touching hyper local radio show. Central to everything are the residents and passers by. They will request songs and be interviewed it is they who are the narrative and sound track to this show. The audience is the community, perhaps acquaintances, discovering each other's stories.
spring 2016 and spring 2017 on VRT/één
Brings the viewer into the emergency response call center. For the first time the action will all be based in the center and focused on the call takers. As if wearing the headset we will be immersed in their world, one which is more complex than we might expect. The call takers are the real first responders with the responsibility of making sure the right people get to the right place whilst reassuring the caller and making sure they stay focused on the task in hand. It's a hard job and one that takes its toll.
Under Flemish Fields
fall 2016 on VRT/één
Exactly one century ago a small village in between Flanders Fields called ‘Langemark’ was the setting for one of the most horrifying battles of the First World War. Now, one hundred years later, in that exact location the most important archaeological digs in our country up to now have been carried out. A unique opportunity not only for the archaeologists in charge of the site but also for us television makers. In this new three part series ‘Under Flanders Fields’ Arnout Hauben this time literally digs in to the past of World War I. Together with a team of archaeologists he goes on a 40 day quest for traces of the War in the soil of Langemark en finds exceptional treasures and stories.
Paths of Liberation
fall 2015 on VRT/één
“At War II” is a documentary in which television maker Arnout Hauben, actor Jonas Van Thielen and director Mikhael Cops follow the route of the liberation of Europe during the Second World War. Departing from London, England, they travel through France, Belgium and Germany. After that, they take on the road from Volgograd, Russia, through Ukraine, Belarus, and Poland to Germany. On the road they talk to people who now live in former war zones. By depicting the past through a modern lens, they build a touching image of a world at war and a portrait of contemporary Europe.
People of Tomorrow
fall 2014 on VRT/één
'People of Tomorrow' portays ten fans from all over the world during their trip to Tomorrowland 2014. We offer a view behind the scenes of the phenomenon and festival, following the Belgian brothers Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, the world-famous dj- duo, during the festival. 'People of Tomorrow', an exclusive insight into the wonderful world of Tomorrowland, and his visitors.
Be My Guest
spring 2014 on VRT/één
Our host parks his mobile studio, an Airstream convertible, by his nation's most famous tourist hot spot. He invites a constant stream of tourists to his studio and asks them all the same three questions. Who are you? Where do you come from? And, why should I visit your hometown? Hundreds of tourists tell their stories and invite our host to visit them. But only those with the most intriguing and unique stories will be featured. The visits are a road trip that can take us anywhere. To see where ordinary people come from and uncover their far-from-ordinary stories. The drummer from Ohio who played at Woodstock, The Buddhist monk from Bangkok, or the eccentric Russian who tells us he's a rock star back home.
spring 2013 on VRT/één
In nine episodes of Ten Oorlog (At War), the passionate television makers Arnout Hauben, Jonas Van Thielen and Mikhael Cops travel along the European front line of the First World War. They depart on foot from the beach at Nieuwpoort and follow the front line through France, Italy, Slovenia, Albania, Macedonia and Greece, eventually arriving at the legendary battlefields of Gallipoli. Along the way, Arnout talks with the local people and records their most surprising, moving and haunting stories of past and present. But also the stories of the soldiers who fought on the Western Front of the First World War are told to viewers, as well as those of nurses, ambulance crews and reporters, etc. Arnout and Jonas drive commemorative posts in the ground for these people, and in doing so bring the original – and for the most part invisible – front line back to life.
About the chinese people
“The chinese make Belgian television”.
Even only for this headline Harald Hauben, Elke Neuville, Mikhael Cops and Arnout Hauben founded production company The chinese in 2011. They collected a group of enthousiastic televisionmakers and the rest is history – more specifically television history in the form of moving human interest programmes and other original television shows. With about 40 driven employees The chinese go forward, and have telling beautiful stories as their purpose.