SIGMA PICTURES was established in 1974 by MATTHIJS VAN HEIJNINGEN as independent producer of Dutch feature films and international co-productions.
36 feature films have been made since. The company has produced some of the most successful films in the history of Dutch cinema: A FLIGHT OF RAINBIRDS (Ate de Jong), CISKE DE RAT (Guido Pieters), THE COOL LAKES OF DEATH (Nouchka van Brakel) and THE LIFT (Dick Maas), which was distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. ORLANDO and THE TANGO LESSON (Sally Potter), ELINE VERE (Harry Kümel) and ALL MEN ARE MORTAL (Ate de Jong) are some of the international co-productions of Sigma Pictures.
Sigma has also produced many art films, that have received good critical acclaim and have achieved success on international film festivals. They include A QUESTION OF SILENCE and BROKEN MIRRORS (Marleen Gorris) VIGOUR and IT WILL NEVER BE SPRING (Frouke Fokkema), FALSE LIGHT (Theo Van Gogh), RITUALS (Herbert Curiël) and FOR A LOST SOLDIER (Roeland Kerbosch) which was distributed very successfully in the U.S.A.
YOUNG KEES (André van Duren) was released end 2003 by U.I.P. From 2004 SIGMA worked on the development of a couple of screenplays, one based on the national play of the Netherlands written by Joost van den Vondel in 1638: GIJSBREGHT VAN AEMSTEL, a historic action drama that will be directed by Theu Boermans.
Furthermore SIGMA developed with André van Duren, who has also directed, a historic crime drama set in the 30ties of the 20th century in the town of OSS in the south of Holland. In that time Oss was the most criminal town of the Netherlands. It became a national scandal and the government had to send the army to Oss to end this. Just before WW2 the government fell on “The Oss Case”. The feature film based on this, THE GANG OF OSS, was shot in 2011, premiered on the Opening Night of The Netherlands Film Festival 2011 and got 6 Nominations for Golden Calfs: Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography and was awarded the Golden Calf for Best Music. It was released on September 29th by Entertainment One Benelux, was received very well by the audience and got good reviews. Under ‘LINKS’ you’ll find more information about THE GANG OF OSS.
In the 1930’s the Brabant (southern province of The Netherlands) city of Oss was caught up in a crime wave. The military police was sent from the north to Oss to free the city of the terror regime of the “Gang from Oss” (Ossche bende). When the military police discover sex crimes and fraud even among the local clerics and prominent members of the community, the conflict escalates between the catholic south and the protestant north which eventually leads to the fall of the Colijn administation - the last operating pre-war administration.
THE GANG OF OSS is told from the point of view of Johanna van Heesch, a young upbeat cafe proprietor - daughter of Mien de Snol (Mien the Trollop) and half-sister of mentally handicapped Trees - who is trying to break free from this criminal environment. Together with her paroled husband Ties she tries to start a better life. Nevertheless, Ties’ uncle Wim de Kuiper, self-declared leader of the gang from Oss, makes Ties quickly pick up his bad habits again. Ties’ relationship with Johanna worsens and hits rock bottom when he tries to force her into abortion. To protect her unborn child, Johanna has her husband killed by Jan Greven, aspiring racing cyclist, who hopes in vain to win Johanna’s love by murdering her husband. Harry den Brock, a relatively well-to-do insurance broker, also appears to offer a way out for Johanna.
By having Ties killed, Johanna gets more and more in the grip of Wim de Kuiper who postulates himself as Johanna’s protector. Nevertheless, Johanna gets into a conflict with him once she realizes that he has her half-sister Trees abused by the local priest. Once Trees is killed in a tragic accident - or was it criminal intent? - there is nothing left that keeps her in Oss. Together with Harry den Brock she is planning to escape from Oss, but not before she gets her revenge on Wim and the prominent members of the community - who Harry also appears to be working for.
At the same time, Johanna is evading the military police, who are slowly but surely unravelling the gang’s activities and coming closer to solving her husband’s murder.