Boris Gerrets is an internationally acclaimed European film director and writer based in Berlin, Germany. He also works as a script advisor, film-editor and university film mentor. Born into a Bulgarian-German family in Amsterdam, he grew-up in the Netherlands, Spain, Sierra Leone and Germany. Boris Gerrets' films are close-ups of local environments, which he describes as 'biotopic explorations'. He delves into the anonymity of the urban space, bringing to light life on the fringes, which often remains obscure to the passing person. This leads him to unexpected encounters that drive the narrative of his films. Gerrets sees the camera as a tool that creates a social dynamic between him and his protagonists. The editing process is for Gerrets a way of stripping down and reconfiguring what has been garnered in reality, into a phenomenological space that speaks about the human condition. His role as filmmaker and the process of filmmaking is always at issue – either implicitly or explicitly - while he intentionally explores the gap between the factual event and its fictional and poetic meaning. Gerrets' cinematic approach contains a strong performative component and makes use of his multidisciplinary background in visual arts, dance and theatre.
Gerrets’ was the recipient of the 2013 Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, a grant awarded to him for being at the 'cutting-edge of artistic and narrative cinema' and for 'his pursuit of new forms and frontiers within the documentary genre'. He was the 2014 Laureate of the Aster Award, a prize he received in Macedonia for ‘high achievements in European and world film art’. His recent film, Shado’man (2014) was awarded the 2014 AVANCA Television Prize and was nominated for best feature-length film at the Taiwan International Documentary Festival. It had its African premiere at FESPACO, the biannual Pan-African Film Festival in Ouagadougou (2015). Film journalist Jennifer Merin included Shado’man in her IDFA 2013 - Documentaries to Watch List, saying ‘The characters are compelling, their stories are gripping, and the film's stunning cinematography beautifully captures the details of their environment and nuances of their lives.’ Hollywood Reporter called it ‘stylish and gritty…solid, serious’ and Cinemagazine said, ‘The way that art and reality seamlessly intertwine makes of this film an extraordinary viewing experience’. Gerrets’ previous film, People I Could Have Been and Maybe Am (2010) received world-wide praise from film festival juries, critics and audience alike, winning twelve international awards in a wide-range of categories – among them: IDFA Best Mid-Length Doc Award (Amsterdam, 2010), Visions Du Réel, Best Direction Mid-Length Doc (Nyon, 2011), Festival Dei Popoli, Best Ethno-Anthropological Film (Florence, 2011), Festival International du Cinéma des Peuples, Audience Award (Pwêêdi Wiimîâ, 2011) and Beldocs, International Federation Of Film Critics Award (Belgrade, 2011).
Gerrets has conducted Master Classes in Film in Europe, Latin America and Asia namely at Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión Cuba, EICTV (2013), EDN Seoul, Korea (2011) and Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica Mexico City, CCC (2011). He was assigned to be a kind of ‘godfather’ for the Filmmaker Kombat workshop of the 19th International Meeting of Cinema, TV, Video and Multimedia, Portugal; he was an external examiner and mentor for the Master's Degree Programme in Film at the Netherlands Film and Television Academy, Amsterdam (2014); and a tutor for the IDFA-Mediafonds Workshop (2015 & 2014). As a film lecturer, Gerrets has participated in conferences such as ReVision: Editing Across Disciplines at the University of Edinburgh, UK (2013) and International Conference of Media Education at Seoul National University Chungbuk (2011), as well as panel discussions namely, Day of the Doc / Creatieve Sessie: Docu/Edit at the Flanders Doc and Docville Film Festival (2012). His writings on film include: ‘Not Yet, No More’ (2012), published in Issue 3 of &Label, University of Dundee and 'Layers of visuality: storytelling in the era of instant cinema' (2011) in Asia-Pacific Collaborative Education Journal Vol.7 No.1.