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One man´s story. One man´s truth. Can you forgive him for what he did?

Joggem Simons,  Thomas Wander as Bernard,  Hidde Simons

a film by Joggem Simons and Hidde Simons, with Thomas Wander


Short synopsis.


In this 70 minute monologue, Bernard has a hard time understanding what has just happened to him. In trying to figure it out he relives his most painful memories, by telling his life story. Bernard's childhood memories are tainted by an unloving mother and an almost obsessive fondness for his younger sister. In later life, the dysfunctionality of his childhood haunts him in his own relationships with his wife and daughter. Though Bernard tries to withhold it, his biggest secret slowly gets revealed. Can you forgive him for what he did? 


BERNARD is Dutch spoken and is available with English subtitles. | 70 minutes





'BERNARD totally overwhelmed me

Willeke van Ammelrooy (lead actress - Antonia's line)


'The Art of Storytelling in its purest form'

Thekla Reuten (actress - Lost, The American)


A really good film

Eddy Terstall (director – Simon, Rent a Friend)


BERNARD is a truly unique film with fantastic acting and a clever plot. They have done an amazing job of building narrative drive into a scenario based on a single character sitting at a table and talking

Michele Hutchison (Book editor)





BERNARD is based on the theatre monologue Olivetti '82, by the critically acclaimed Flemish playwright Eriek Verpale. Dutch filmmakers Hidde and Joggem Simons first saw the play in 2000. They were fascinated by actor Thomas Wander's performance and decided to cast him for their filmic adaptation of the play.


Thomas Wander has an almost uncanny ability to draw audiences into his character's twisted emotions. The way in which he recounts Bernard Van de Wiele's life story makes for an intriguing experience: "storytelling in its purest form", as one viewer commented.


Adapting the play for the screen was an interesting challenge for Joggem and Hidde Simons. They searched for the right cinematic form in order to do justice to this tormented man's tale. To make sure they could stay true to their artistic vision they decided to privately fund the film. Joggem and Hidde Simons therefore proudly present:

BERNARD: one man’s story, one man’s truth. Can you forgive him for what he did?


A succesful crowdfunding campaign, as well as a financial contribution by the Amsterdam Art Fund, enabled the filmmakers to organize public screenings of the film in several Dutch theatres. In addition to this, a number of Dutch theatres and festivals have added BERNARD to their program for 2014.


Eriek Verpale (1952-2015) - writer

Eriek was a Belgian writer. He attended a boarding school in Oostakker and studied Germanic and Slavic philology at the University of Ghent. He was an editor of the magazine Koebel, several literary magazines and the Belgisch-Israëlitisch Weekblad


He made his literary debut as a poet with neoromantic poems in Polder- en andere gedichten (1975). His maternal great-grandmother was of jiddisch Polish-Jewish ancestry, and the chasidic and Eastern European literature play an important role in his work.


Joggem Simons (1972) – director, producer

Joggem Simons has been telling stories through film for 20 years.

Stories that are characterized by a strong vision. Mostly as a producer. BERNARD is his debut as a feature film director.


Joggem Simons has produced a long list of films , and is always looking for surprising ways to tell stories. Recently he produced UrWald, a film / music / theatre project by Arnoud Noordegraaf, which premiered last October and will have a film run later on this year. Two films which he produced as part of a music performance won the Grawemeyer Award: Up-Close by Michel van der Aa and La Commedia by Louis Andriessen. The film of La Commedia was directed by Hal Hartley. The website of nikefootball which Joggem Simons produced for Nike won a Lion in Cannes. Joggem Simons produced with and for: Hal Hartley, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Michel van der Aa, Louis Andriessen, The Dutch National Opera, Nike, AVRO, Hidde Simons, Arnoud Noordegraaf, David Weber-Krebs and many others.


Hidde Simons (1974) – director, producer

Hidde Simons is a director, acting coach and the founding father of Hiddenways.


He is fascinated by the thin line between fact and fiction in drama and documentaries. Hidde Simons' directorial credits include several short films and features (including Billyʼs Bad, produced by his brother Joggem Simons in 2001). In 2013 he co- directed 48 minutes, a feature film that was produced in only 48 days! This film won the 3rd prize in the Viewster online International Film Festival (VoFF).

Besides directing, Hidde Simons also works as an acting coach for directors and actors. He works both on and off film sets. He coaches and accompanies actors and directors during a film shoot and gives Master classes on this topic. Hidde Simons has worked as an acting coach on many different projects. Features such as Don (dir. Arend Steenbergen) and Splinter (dir. Robert- Jan Vos), shorts Birthday Boy (dir. Chris W. Mitchell), TV series (VRijland, Spangas, Naranjina & de Kadekapers), documentaries Farewell (dir. Ditteke Mensink), the Dutch Directors Guild, International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), Het Jeugdfilmfestival Belgium and Cinekid Filmfestival (the world's largest multimedia festival for children).


Hidde Simons and Joggem Simons have collaborated on different film-, TV- and performing arts productions. BERNARD is their first directorial collaboration.


Thomas Wander (1975) – lead actor

After graduating from the renowned drama academy of Arnhem, Thomas Wander worked for many theatre companies, while also working as a film- and TV actor.


He combines classical roles – such as characters in plays by Shakespeare, Ibsen and Sophocles – with experimental theatre. He also enjoys playing roles in modern classics by playwrights such as Eric de Vroedt and Jon Fosse. Even a musical comedy (Summer silliness by Bruun Kuyt) is part of his work experience. Thomas Wander's impressive performance in Olivetti 82 inspired Joggem and Hidde Simons to make the feature film BERNARD. Wander has been performing Olivetti 82 ever since his graduation in 1999 for several theatergroups as Toneelgroep Amsterdam and still regularly performs this role in the theatre.


Arnold Marinissen (1966) – composer

Works as a composer, conductor, programmer and percussionist. His main field of interest is music from the past 30 years.


His vocal quintet Von Pferden, Gräsern, Sonnen, Menschen was selected for the prestigious Holland Festival. In November 2013 new work by Marinissen premiered during two other important Dutch festivals. Marinissen has composed for critically acclaimed ensembles such as Asko|Schoenberg and Ensemble S, as well as for choreographer/dancer Ederson Rodrigues Xavier. As a programmer, Marinissen was responsible for the 2012-13 season of Het Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ (Amsterdam), which is a concert hall for contemporary classical music. Marinissen composed the score for BERNARD, which was performed by cellist Katharina Gross.


BERNARD is based on the monologue Olivetti 82 by Eriek Verpale.


BERNARD is ia production of J’s Reality and Hiddenways.





Bernard Van de Wiele

Thomas Wander


directed by

Joggem Simons

Hidde Simons



Hidde Simons

Joggem Simons



Hidde Simons

Joggem Simons



Eriek Verpale



Arnold Marinissen


director of photography

Michel Edelenbosch


production design

Jeroen Echter


music performed by

Katharina Gross 


sound design

Tim Egmond


sound mix

Wouter Verhulst


color correction

Jaap Verdenius


promotion & advise

Jorien Klomp (HERRIE FILM & TV)

Milena Mulders Communicatie

Cultuurmakelaar Annelies Wielaard


graphic design

Arjen IJff



Sander Nieuwenhuys


The completion of BERNARD was amongst others made possible by the Amsterdam Art Fund (AFK) and through crowd funding (Cinecrowd).




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