A campsite in the summer holidays, aimless days spent in the shade of trees. Sunlight is glittering on the lake, but nobody is allowed to swim here. A boy has disappeared and may have drowned. Five-year-old Lucie is trying to understand what is going on around her. How long can you hold your breath?

Director's Statement

A child playing dead: a fraught and yet relatable scene. It is an innocent attempt to provoke reaction, to see how credibly one can pretend and to test the limits of one’s own physicality. Indeed, it’s a way to gain understanding of the fragile human body. As the most passive of games, this is the first encounter with mortality. What does it mean not to breathe, not to be alive?

It is this simple scene that sparked the idea for a short film. With ZONDER MEER I wanted to make a film in which a tragedy unfolds in the margins, even out of frame. By witnessing a drama through the eyes of a child, I would like to give the viewers an opportunity to experience it through the perception of someone who does not yet understand it in a dramatic way.

Shot in between two lockdowns, we were challenged with a lot of restrictions. But restrictions often gift a great deal of liberty. By making straightforward narrative and formalistic choices, I aim to create a space for the viewer to wander.

Director's Biography

Meltse Van Coillie (1992) obtained an academic Master in Film Studies at the University of Ghent in 2014. Afterwards she joined the Eramus Mundus program DOC NOMADS, for which she made several short documentary films in Hungary and Portugal. By the end of 2015 she returned back to Belgium to pursue a broader education in audiovisual arts at KASK, School of Arts in Ghent, where she graduated in 2018. Her graduation film ELEPHANTFISH received the prestigious VAF Wildcard Filmlab that same year. The awarded production budget resulted in a second short film: ZONDER MEER, which had its international premiere at the Berlinale Film Festival in 2021. Currently she is developing a third short film, which will be shot during the polar night in Greenland in January 2022.


Cast & Crew

Directed by: Meltse Van Coillie

Written by: Meltse Van Coillie

Produced by: Peter Brosens

Cinematography: Harm Dens

Editing: Meltse Van Coillie, Harm Dens

Sound: Mattijs Driesen, Michel Coquette

Main Cast: Lucie Wyns (Lucie), Jeroom Smeyers (Jeroom), Lone Genar (Lone), Eva Binon (Mother), Patrick Vervueren (Father)

Nominations and Awards

  • Short Film Candidates 2021