Jonas Smulders played his first leading role in Mees Peijnburg’s graduation film Even Cowboys Get to Cry.  Next was a lead role in Ketamine by Rogier Hesp. He received the Golden Calf for Best Actor in 2015 for his lead role in Mees Peijnburg’s film We Will Never Be Royals. The same year, he was awarded the Spotlight European Breakthrough Award in Kilkenny. Subsequently, he played the lead role in Bram Schouw’s debut feature Brothers in 2017. He will be seen next in Open Seas by Michiel van Erp and Shady El-Hamus’ short film Being There for which Jonas also wrote the script. Besides that, he would love to play challenging new roles in all sorts of countries around the world, to expand his view and vision about what filmmaking includes and is about.

One of the new crop of European Shooting Stars, Jonas talks to Martin Petrov about this experience at this year’s Berlinale.  

Have you been to Berlin before? How was your experience before becoming The Netherland’s Shooting Star?

Jonas Smulders: I was here once before with a short film and once as a visitor at the festival. It is a great experience to meet all these people. Also, I have great support from my country and the Dutch Film Institute. I really feel empowered and it’s nice to be surrounded by other young actors.

Brothers is a great coming of age film, but it is also a story for everyone feeling challenged and experiencing a great change in their life and finally having this sense of liberation. How was this journey for you?

J.S.: It’s about a brother who wants to step out of his sibling’s shadow, but didn’t foresee the complications that life could bring and he wasn’t really prepared to experience loss. We did a lot of work in advance and I felt well prepared before we started to shoot.

It is also an emotional film. Did you feel that shifting from the film and your character to your personal life affect or inspire you?

J.S.: It certainly made me more experienced and I got to feel things I had never felt before.

What is your dream for the future? Is there something you would really want to do?

J.S.: It’s funny, but I really want to play a woman, a female character. I am studying at the Film Academy in Holland, so I would eventually like to try and direct my own film, but I don’t think I would ever give up acting – I just love it too much.

What would you tell to the next generation of Shooting Stars?

J.S.: Talking to this great team of people here in Berlin, I really feel inspired to hear their stories and be part of this adventure together. My advice is not to try and sell yourself, but just show your personality and who you are.

Writer Profile



Name: Martin I. Pterov

Nationality: UK/Greece


Interview with Jonas Smulders:

“I would eventually like to try and direct my own film”

C. Photo Credit: harald fuhr_efp (2018)