A film by: Astrid Bussink

Life can seem pretty overwhelming at times, particularly when you’re growing up. And it’s not always easy to talk to your parents or friends about your problems. Fortunately, the “Kindertelefoon” (Child Helpline) in the Netherlands provides a listening ear. L I S T E N presents a cross-section of conversations between children and the Kindertelefoon. One girl talks about being home alone virtually all week; another’s sad because her parents are getting divorced. A boy in an asylum seekers’ center is worried about the future, while another boy doesn’t want to be gay and hopes these feelings will pass. Every day, the Kindertelefoon takes calls like these from children who want someone to talk to. But children also call to talk about their pets, to practice their audition for The Voice Kids or to make pranks. The recordings of these phone conversations are accompanied by images that quite literally give color to the conversations, and that beautifully reflect their tone—sometimes hilarious or naughty, but more often sad or heartrending.

Country: the Netherlands
Length: 15’
Completion: 11/2017
Genre: documentary
Themes: human interest, youth
Screening format: DCP, H264, ProRes
Spoken language: Dutch
Subtitles: English


  • International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, the Netherlands (15 – 26 November, 2017)
    Kids&Docs Competition Won: IDFA Special Jury Award for Children’s Documentary

Director: Astrid Bussink
Producer: Een van de Jongens: Hasse van Nunen, Renko Douze
Cinematographer: Sander Roeleveld
Sound & Sound Design: Tim van Peppen
Editor: Riekje Ziengs
Production Design: Sanne Houwing
Music: Yvo van Gemert, Bartho Weayen
Line producer: Merle Bemelmans, Lotte Kwak, Britte Hermans
In association with: KRO-NCRV