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Upstream - Danyael Sugawara - The Netherlands



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Upstream (Alles stroomt, 2009)
The Netherlands   

Director: Danyael Sugawara
Cast: Wieger Windhorst, Anneke Blok, Marnie Blok, Manuel Broekman
Genre: Drama


Family relationships are the hardest to keep. The strong blood bonds constantly push the character differences, and the only way to maintain them well is with patience and love- Eurochannel presents Upstream, a poignant drama about a mother and son facing their demons in an effort to strengthen their relationship.

Upstream is the debut feature film of Japanese-born director Danyael Sugawara. This is the story of Aleid, her son Damiaan, and her new lover, Roel. As Damiaan leaves the house for university life, Aleid finds in Roel a new love and begins a new life with him. However, what seems to be a change for the better gradually transforms into disappointment.

By telling the story of the relationship between a mother and a son whose lives are drifting apart, Upstream challenges viewers to reflect on how unconditional love can survive even when distance is an obstacle.

Through the film’s twofold structure – the stories of its two characters move parallel to one another as they learn to live apart, like in a game of mirrors – both the director and screenwriter portray their personal experiences. For filmmaker Danyael Sugawara Upstream reveals his personal history between himself and his mother, while for writer Marieke van der Pol (a renowned figure in Dutch cinema), the film reflects her relationship with her daughter.

The product of a local film competition, Upstream goes beyond the trends in the Dutch industry. For its director, “it is important to make films about people, not ideas.” Such originality proved right as the movie won the Audience Award and the Debut Award at the 2009 Netherlands Film Festival and Brussels International Film Festival, respectively.


When Damiaan (Wieger Windhorst) passes his university exams, he leaves the parental house to live on his own. His mother, Aleid (Anneke Blok), who raised him after the death of his father, finds a new love, Roel. When she decides to move with him, a distance seems to grow between mother and son.

Festivals and Awards:

• Netherlands Film Festival 2009 - Audience Award
• Brussels International Film Festival - Debut Award
• International Film Festival Rotterdam
• Lighthouse Film Festival

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