Documentary on Ruinerwold children wins TV prize
The documentary series De Kinderen van Ruinerwold won the Gouden Televizier-Ring 2021 on Thursday. It was the first time in history that a documentary won the prestigious television audience award, NOS reports.
In the documentary, maker Jessica Villerius follows the four oldest children of the Ruinerwold family. The family of nine now-adult children and father Gerrit Jan van D. lived on a Ruinerwold farm in complete isolation for years. They were discovered when one of the children, Isreal, escaped from the farm and asked for help at a local pub.
After Israel's escape, the police raided the farm. They arrested the father on suspicion of deprivation of liberty of six of his children and the sexual abuse of two of them. Not all of the children support the accusations against their father. In March this year, the court decided to drop the case against Van D., saying he is not fit to be tried.
Jessica Villeius made contact with the children in November 2019. The oldest four agreed to tell their story to her. She followed the children closely for almost 18 months, also getting archive material showing what their lives were like living in isolation for all those years.
Three of the children were at the awards ceremony in Theater Carre in Amsterdam. "It feels like the start of something new," said one of them, Edino, to talk show Op1 about the award. "What stayed with me after the documentary is that it doesn't matter what you've been through in life. You never have to be ashamed of it. You can always be open about it."
He also mentioned the absence of the rest of his siblings. "I wish we could all nine be here. But in the end, of course, everyone decides to stay in or out of the publicity. But I think this prize is for all of us."