Jos de Putter is a Dutch filmmaker and visual artist. He studied linguistics, literature, and philosophy in Leiden and Berlin and worked as a film critic before making his first documentary in 1993. His debut film, It's been a lovely day, about the last year of his parents' work and life on their traditional farm, was hailed internationally as a film in the purest documentary tradition. It won the prize for best debut of the year and was selected best Dutch film of the year by Dutch film critics. In 2007, the film was selected as one of the sixteen best Dutch films ever made and became part of the Dutch Film Heritage.
Jos de Putter's career as a filmmaker has been marked by numerous awards and accolades. In 1994, Solo, the law of the Favela, a film focusing on the dreams of teenagers in the slums of Rio de Janeiro to become soccer stars, won the prestigious Joris Ivens Award at the Amsterdam Documentary Film Festival. His film The making of an empire (1999) is a Godfather-like story of a Chechen warlord, was screened at the Berlinale and Toronto International Film Festival, where it won the Jordaan Prize of the City of Amsterdam for best film of the year. Dans Grozny dans (2002) is a film about a tour of a Chechen children's dance troupe and won seven international festivals. Alias Kurban Saïd (2004) tells the story of five different families who claim to be a mysterious writer. Beyond the game (2008) is the first documentary about the heroes of the cyber-generation and won the Award for Artistic Success of the Dutch Film Fund. See no evil (2013) is a tale of three famous senior apes and was shown at over 50 festivals worldwide, where it won best film at DokFest Munich and jury awards at Message to Man and Gdansk.
De Putter has been honored with retrospectives of his work at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. In 2006, he started working as a visual artist, and his installations have been shown in Dutch museums. His experimental short film Passers-by was shown at the MOMA in New York.
Between 1997 and 2017, Jos de Putter made numerous short documentaries for the renowned VPRO-tv documentary series Diogenes and Backlight. His TV documentary about Aleksandr Litvinenko (2007) was sold to 17 countries. From 2007 until 2013, de Putter was the editor-in-chief of VPRO Backlight, where he shifted the program's focus to "future affairs", concentrating on developments and trends in various disciplines that shape the world to come.
Since 1993, de Putter has worked as a creative producer for Dieptescherpte, a company that focuses on very personal and preferably impossible creative documentaries. Some of the films that have been awarded include Babaji by Jiska Rickels (Visions du Réel), Radio Kobanî by Reber Dosky (winner of the Dutch competition at IDFA 2016 and the Fact Award at CPH Dox Copenhagen), and most recently, Sidik and the Panther, directed by Reber Dosky (winner of the Dutch competition at IDFA 2019).
In 2013, de Putter started producing webdocs for the Dutch online news site De Correspondent. These short documentaries, mostly by emerging filmmakers, have been awarded at prestigious festivals such as Silver Leopard in Locarno 2014 and Oscar Qualifier for Shipwreck, BFI Best Short Film and European Film Award 2016 for 9 days, "best film" for The sniper of Kobani in Sapporo, Mexico, Ismailia, and Go Short 2016, and a European Film Award 2018 nomination for Meryem.
Since 2018, de Putter has also produced web and short docs for the Dutch public television network HUMAN. Trapped in the City of a Thousand Mountains by renowned director David Verbeek premiered at IDFA 2018 and won Message to Man 2019.