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Veerle Ackerstaff Break Free Films



Owner | Producer | Writer/Director

Veerle (they/them) lived for over 10 years with a mountain tribe on the border of Tibet, which became the birthplace of their writing and filmmaking career.

Now, back in The Netherlands, Veerle holds a master’s degree in Professional Writing and a degree in Film Directing, and is the founder and CEO of Break Free Films, a company that specializes in the creation of films and series that are urgent, diverse, and inspiring.

Veerle is committed to carving new paths for those underrepresented in the industry



Owner | Producer | Writer/Director

Writer/Director and producer Caatje van Leeuwen is co-owner of Break Free Films. Struggling with severe dyslexia, Caatje is an advocate for people with both visible and invisible disabilities.


In recent years, Caatje has realized multiple film projects and has proven to be a driving force for each project. Her films have won numerous international awards.


In addition, Caatje is committed to the development and implementation of the impact programs surrounding Break Free Academy productions.

Caatje van Leeuwen Break Free Films
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Project manager

At the age of 8, Lex learned to use iMovie from his dad. From then, he realized he could make films for the stories he was writing. His little brothers, friends and classmates... everyone who wanted to be in front of the camera got a role.

After high school, he took a filmmaking course where he learned the basics of every aspect that plays a part in filmmaking. In the following years, he produced and directed a documentary and a short fiction film.

In addition to his CMD studies, he made video's as a freelancer for multiple clients, where he gained a lot of practical experience.

In the production team of Dive Deep, Lex got involved with Break Free Films. Since then he has various roles in project management and production.



Graduate intern

Ilham studies Marketing Management at The Hague University of Applied Sciences and is in the final year of her studies. Ilham has a keen interest in the power of film, media, and marketing. The challenges and opportunities that this field brings inspire her to engage with it. She feels a deep connection to the creative and strategic aspects of these disciplines and is driven by the desire to make her mark here.

After previous internships with welfare organizations and theater, it was important for her to find an internship that contributes to the social good.

During her final internship, her focus is on the impact of the film Dive Deep. Ilham is excited to spend this last phase of her studies at Break Free Films.

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She doesn’t know exactly where the fascination comes from. But ever since Flore was a child, she has been interested in film, and the impact a story can make on the life of an individual. That is why Flore is now busy with her master’s degree Film and Television Cultures at Utrecht University. In this study, she encounters all aspects of her passion for film, and she sees the endless possibilities of telling the story though moving images.

After gaining a lot of theoretical knowledge, it is now time to implement that in practice. Flore finds it interesting to see how the social impact of film discussed in her textbooks is becoming reality at Break Free Films.

During her internship, Flore focuses on the Pioneers Programme, and questions surrounding its impact.

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