A film is a form of art that portrays the mind and soul of the filmmaker. He can use cinema as a weapon to generate awareness among the masses. Filmmaker Reggery Gravenbeek is doing exactly this to highlight the grave issues in Rotterdam. Being born and brought up in the Zuidwijk district of Rotterdam, a place notorious for crimes, Gravenbeek too became a part of it. At a time when his involvement in drugs and crime had almost ruined his life, he decided to step back and restart his life. He found his calling in the film industry. Currently, he is a filmmaker who is trying to make a difference in the industry by highlighting social issues through films.
Gravenbeek was a victim of the prevalent system in Rotterdam. At a young age, he was detained in a stabbing incident and ended up in prison for about 12 years. Life was hard for him but that's when he realized he needed to change his focus to something productive. Due to his good conduct, Gravenbeek was released in about 7 years and that’s when he decided to bring his life back on track. A friend working in the film industry introduced him to a production house that gave him his first acting gig, which was as an extra in a film.
His performance, though insignificant in the film, did make a mark. Since then, offers have been pouring in to Gravenbeek to act in supporting roles. He worked with renowned filmmakers like Bardo Ellens, Mert Ugurdiken, and Dylan Haegens to name a few. Gravenbeek got his first break in a lead role in 2017 in a 48 Hour Film Project by Hans Groenendijk. The film earned him an audience award as a team leader/ producer and the film was one of the top 4 best films.
With time, Gravenbeek discovered his potential in filmmaking. He wanted to use his talent for the welfare of society. His terrible childhood in Rotterdam had a profound impact on him, so much so that he made a film of his life titled "De Druk”. For this project, Gravenbeek hired young artists from the streets of Rotterdam to help them find a safe and better means of making a living. Gravenbeek feels that the streets of Rotterdam are full of talent, be it for sports or the arts. Each of them is waiting to be discovered.
His film “De Druk” became a critically acclaimed film that managed to throw some light on street life and the prevalence of crimes in Rotterdam that were not talked about. It created a buzz among young audiences and professionals in the film industry as it highlighted street crimes and their victims. The film was financed by OPEN Rotterdam and the Municipality of Rotterdam. Gravenbeek’s initiative was also supported by area committees of Charlois and Feijenoord of the Zuidwijk district.
Currently, Gravenbeek is focused on working with young victims of crime who are waiting for a chance to transform their lives. He hopes that his initiative to help one victim return to normal life can have a ripple effect on many others forced into similar situations. Gravenbeek wants to utilize his filmmaking skills to bring about a movement in society to end street crimes and save the future of many young boys unwillingly involved in it. @reggerygravenbeek