Biographies

Producers: Matthijs van Heijningen (CEO) and Guurtje Buddenberg (Senior Vice President)

Matthijs van Heijningen studied drama theory in Berlin. In the early 1960’s he established himself in Amsterdam and became, after a short career as mime-player and actor, the director of theatre Sigma Centre. He went on to produce the popular children’s TV series “De Fabeltjeskrant” for Thijs Chanowski, was line producer of Jan Vrijman’s Osaka Expo Project and produced for Agnes Varda, Dusan Makavejev and André Téchiné when they were shooting in the Netherlands.

In 1974 Matthijs founded his own production company, Sigma Films, as an independent producer of Dutch films and international co-productions such as “Orlando” and “The Tango Lesson” (Sally Potter), “Eline Vere” (Harry Kümel) and “All Men Are Mortal” (Ate de Jong). 36 feature films have been produced since then. His company has produced some of the most successful films in the history of Dutch cinema: “Een Vlucht Regenwulpen” and “In De Schaduw Van De Overwinning” (Ate de Jong), “Ciske De Rat and “Op Hoop Van Zegen” (Guido Pieters), “Het Debuut”, “Een Vrouw Als Eva”, “Van De Koele Meren Des Doods”, “Een Maand Later” (Nouchka van Brakel) and “De Lift” (Dick Maas). The last two films mentioned were distributed worldwide by Warner Bros.

Sigma also has produced many art films, that have received good critical acclaim and have achieved success in international film festivals. They include “Mysteries” and “Lieve Jongens” (Paul de Lussanet), “De Stilte Rond Christine M.”, “Gebroken Spiegels” (Marleen Gorris) “Kracht” and “Wildgroei” (Frouke Fokkema), “Voor een Verloren Soldaat” and “Affair Play” (Roeland Kerbosch).

Furthermore Matthijs has collaborated with directors Herbert Curiël, Theo van Gogh, Theu Boermans and Gerrit van Elst. For the film “1000 Rosen” (Theu Boermans), Matthijs van Heijningen received the equivalent of the Oscars in The Netherlands, the Golden Calf for Best Film. Sigma’s productions “De Lift”, “De Stilte Rond Christine M” and “Kracht” were also the recipients of this prestigious award.

In 1994 Matthijs van Heijningen was knighted for his contribution to the Dutch film industry. Five years later, on the 25th anniversary of Sigma the jury of the Dutch Film Festival awarded him with a special Golden Calf for his oeuvre, and in 2002 he was president of the jury of the Dutch Film Festival.

In the period 1999/2000, Sigma Pictures has produced some four feature films, “The Detour” (Frouke Fokkema); “The Black Meteor” (Guido Pieters) “Friendship” (Nouchka van Brakel) and “The Island Of The Mapmakers Wife” (Michie Gleason). “Young Kees” (Kees de jongen) was the 36th feature film of Matthijs van Heijningen and Sigma Pictures. It was released in the cinemas by U.I.P.(Netherlands) in November 2003, and was released on DVD and video by Universal Pictures. “The Gang of Oss”, written and directed by André van Duren, was released end September by Entertainment One Benelux. The premiere took place at the opening night of the 31st Nederlands Film Festival in Utrecht.

Matthijs van Heijningen, Guurtje Buddenberg and Sigma Pictures continue to be an active force in film production in The Netherlands. A couple of screenplays were developed one by Frouke Fokkema about Mrs. Kroller-Muller who founded the famous Museum named after her and De Hwelleveeg/THE FURY that was shot in 2015 and prremiered end March 2016.

Of “Gijsbreght van Aemstel”, the national play of The Netherlands that Joost van den Vondel (he is the Dutch Shakespeare) wrote in 1638, a screenplay was written by Gerben Hellinga and Theu Boermans. It is a historic drama about the siege, fall and destruction of the town of Amsterdam in the Middle Ages(see “In Development“). We hope to ever realize a motion picture of this theatre play that was performed every Christmas of every year between 1638 and 1990 in the municipal theatre of Amsterdam.