The almost futuristic looking New Museum offers the perfect location for the scene that is about to unfold. The assortment of man buns, oversized shirts, and floral printed patterns that slowly fill up the venue is exactly the sort of hipster crowd that you would expect for this kind of event. The occasion? The screening of Sam de Jong´s movie debut: PRINCE.
Filmed only a few blocks where the Dutch director grew up, de Jong does an exquisite job at portraying life within the Amsterdam housing projects.
The film explores the many hardships faced by the stories unusual hero, Ajoub (brilliantly played by Ayoub Elasri) as a Moroccan/Dutch teenager who finds himself confronted by a racist community inside a culture of extreme violence and drug abuse. While trying to cope with the everyday struggles of a regular teenager (friends, love, family), Ajoub is forced to juggle the troublesome relationship with his homeless, heroin addicted father, his involvement in the obscure underground world of crime and trying to take care of his mother and little sister is absence of a strong father figure.
Armed with all the qualities one would hope to expect in an independent movie, paired with the unexpected disarming sweetness born form it´s subtle hints at the innocence of youth, De Jong´s manages to successfully create a must-see modern masterpiece.
Prince is a lavishly styled, coming-of-age film about 17-year-old Ayoub who tries to win the heart of the neighborhood girl by falling in with a gangster named Kalpa, played by Freddy Tratlehner. We sat with writer and director Sam de Jong to talk about his debut film, its influences, and working with cast of nearly all non-professional actors.