manifesto ing


Sections & Films


Category: Edition 2020

“Keep it clean!” – The slogan of the new president rings through the orderly street. It is to be taken literally, and that includes looks. One of the kind of unsightly kids is Paul, whose large jug ears are quite apparent on class photo day. When he and some of the “ugly” children are taken on a trip the next day, they soon realize that the president wants to hide them away. Paul escapes. On the run, and with help from Sara, one of the “pretty” children, he starts an underground club to fight against the president. The movement soon grows bigger and quickly turns into a revolution. The kids will show the world that even children can rise up and that you don’t have to be “pretty” to be a hero!

Original Title De Club van Lelijke Kinderen
Category Official Competition
Section Elements +10
Tipology Feature Film
Duration 91’
Production Year 2019
Nationality Netherlands
Directed by Jonathan Elbers
Screenplay Jeroen Margry
Based on the novel by Koos Meinderts
Director of photography Thijmen Doornik
Editor Jurriaan Van Nimwegen
Production Design Nora Van Der Steeg
Costume Design Maxa Van Panhuis
Sound Noah Pepper
Music Vidjay Beerepoot
Visual Effects Storm
Main cast Sem Hulsmann
Faye Kimmijser
Jeroen Van Koningsbrugge
Jelka Van Houten
Maan De Steenwinkel
Mika Peeters
Laura Van Der Merché
Produced by Casper Eskes, Niek Teunissen, Wim Boven

regJonathan Elbers

Jonathan was born in 1988. He graduated from the Dutch Film Academy in 2012. Starting from his first films, he shows a returning interest in creating fantasy worlds. He creates them in a vivid way, using comedy elements and always referring to the world we live in. He won a Young Director Award for his graduation commercial: WHERE DID THIS COME FROM? A long take in which a girl tries to escape a film set gone out of control. Subsequently, he directed more award winning commercials for, among others, LG, Volkswagen and Skoda. For television, Jonathan made the children programs Studio Snugger, Saint Nicolas Journal and a couple of short films. In 2019 his first series THE COUP debuted on television. His first feature film FASHION CHICKS is a real colourful High School Film. For his second feature THE CLUB OF THE UGLY CHILDREN he created a completely grey world where people are judged on the way they look.

Director’s Statement

“It's a cliché, but like many other directors, I once wanted to be an actor. I was often allowed to participate in the school play, but with my braces and nerdy glasses I always had to play the hunchbacked old man, or the drunkard. I was never chosen to play a young blonde Greek god.

Years later, with THE CLUB OF UGLY CHILDREN, we make a film about children who are excluded due to their appearance. Excluding minorities is a very sensitive issue. Apparently ugly children are too, because there was an immediate response online: "IS THIS A SILLY JOKE?", "WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?" and "THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS UGLY CHILDREN!"

I can refer everyone to my high school photos as proof that the latter is not true. And also the children who auditioned for the film knew very well what they didn't like about themselves. The one had a birthmark, the other a weird finger, and they had no qualms talking about it during the audition. In the end, everyone is sometimes nervous about what he or she looks like.

Our goal was to make a film that will both immerse you in an exciting adventure, and make you think at the same time. Those responses online suggest that people are already giving it thought. I hope that they also go to the cinema to be carried along in the story of Paul the Untouchable. To disappear into a special world for a moment, and to discover that THE CLUB OF UGLY CHILDREN is actually a badge of pride. An honorary title for a group of children who dare to stand up against the injustice of the dictatorial regime in which they live.”