Michiel’s love for story began when he saw The Neverending Story on VHS. A healthy addiction for storytelling has begun. He grew up in front of the television and developed a broad taste in film. He decided to make films for himself. He either creates very fictitious or very realistic films, usually divided between drama and documentary. It led him to the Utrecht School of the Arts where he experiment with different genres and narratives.
In his 3rd year he went to Costa Rica to film a jazz documentary called Un Mecato on the life of Robin J. Blakeman. Robin is an English jazz musician who moved to Costa Rica to develop his love for Latin Jazz. Somehow he was not accepted in the Costa Rican circle of music and soon he fell in love with a prostitute. Within a year he had spent more than 10.000 dollars to prove his love and to ‘keep her off the street’, but as soon as he didn’t pay, she went back to work. He hired a private detective to spy on her, whilst she could not get through to him to that she has a son to feed.
Michiel later made a drama film called Papier Hier, about a character called Holle Bolle Gijs, a boy who is eternalised as a trash can in fairy tale-themed theme park De Efteling, but is actually a very old children’s verse. As fairy tales originally were used as a parabel for warnings and to educate children with social skills, he did the same with this film. The film revolves around neglect, fat shaming and karma.
After that, Michiel decided he wanted to make a film about his youth. Growing up with divorcing parents has made an impact on Michiel’s life and probably was the main reason why he was in front of the television so often. He wrote and directed Stefan heeft een Ster gevangen (Steven caught a Star). A ‘broken home’ movie about a boy who grows up with divorcing parents. To get away from all the domestic fights, he catches a shooting star on his balcony. Fascinated by this star in a jar, he sets out on a journey to discover where it came from.
Next to Playing the Changes, Michiel made another jazz documentary focussed on the life of Innokenty Ivanov. Ivanov is a Ukrainian jazz vibraphonist living and working in Russia. Explaining that having this career is tough in Russia, he sincerely doesn’t want his child to become a musician.
More information about Michiel ten Kleij at www.michieltenkleij.nl