Robert Oey (1966) studied English, Modern History and American Studies at the University of Amsterdam. After receiving his master degrees he started working for various feature film productions, such as the international co-productions
Not Mozart and The Baby of Macon, by British filmdirector Peter Greenaway. Production work ultimately led to scouting locations for numerous Dutch film productions such as
Advocaat van de Hanen and Offmineur.
In 1995 Oey is given the assignment by TV Dits, owned by Dutch documentary director Ireen van Ditshuyzen, to write a documentary scenario on
the sixties in the Netherlands. Between 1997-1999 he worked together with Hans Polak for Dutch public broadcaster VARA on documentaries like
Een Tragisch Ingrijpen about the assassination of Jews by the Dutch resistance
during WWII and Ted de Turk about Cevdet Yilmaz, who was imprisoned for life because of killing five people in a small bar in Delft, the Netherlands. Between 1999 and 2000 he is assistant commisioning editor of a series
of documentaries for the public broadcaster RVU. In 1999 Oey produces and directs his first feature length documentary
Toxic (2001). He then starts working for the current affairs programme of the VPRO. By the same public
broadcaster he’s asked to direct several scientific documentaries of which
Marathon Man (2001) is selected by the French filmfestival Science & Image in 2002. The documentary
What’s Eating Serbia? (2002), independently
produced and directed by Oey, is premiered during the International Independent Film and Video Festival in New York in 2003.
What’s Eating Serbia? deals with the lives of a Serbian thief, a hooker, a politician and a singer
who struggle with collective guilt imposed by the international community.
In 2004 the trilogy
Wonderland (2004) is broadcast by the broadcast corporation VPRO. It’s both a personal and political account of growing up in the
Netherlands in the seventies and eighties. In 2004 Oey joins a masterclass into film and interactive media organised by the Dutch Mediafund. In 2005 he’s involved in the development of a new television series
called De Toekomst
Future) of which he directs two episodes. In 2006 Oey directed
De Zwemmers (The
Swimmers), a documentary on the visitors of a swimmingpool in Amsterdam. In 2008 Oey directs a documentary series titled
Safety First, about the stringent safety measures taken by governments and airlines to safeguard the lives of passengers and personel.
Safety First is shown at the International Film Festival
Rotterdam (IFFR) and sold to Finland.
Also in 2007 Oey photographed the making of the first creole opera Le Mariage
Lenglensou, an opera performed in rural villages in Haiti. His photographs were exhibited in the Institut Français in Port-au-Prince and appeared in the
Dutch weekly Vrij Nederland.
In 2009 Oey started filming De Leugen (The
Lie), a musical documentary on a politicial affair concerning the alleged lies of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Hirsi Ali is a former Somalian refugee who was granted
citizenship in the Netherlands, became a Member of Parliament and who eventually left the Netherlands for the United States.
The Lie was released in September 2010. According to the Dutch newspaper de
Volkskrant The Lie is: ‘must see cinema’.
In 2012 Gesneuveld
(Fallen) premiered at the Dutch Film Festival. The film tells the stories of the next of kin of the 25 Dutch servicemen who lost their
lives in Afghanistan. Together with filmmakers Aliona van der Horst, Willemijn Cerutti and Patrick Minks director Oey decided to show the audiences of IDFA 2013 the
beauty and wealth
of Dutch documentaries in what was aptly phrased by
Cerutti a ‘documercial'. That same year Oey started researching a new documentary on a homegrown terrorist cell in the Netherlands and the possibility of a
documentary on the dynamics of peacekeeping in Mali. While doing so he was commissioned to direct a documentary on what is called
by many both the most expensive and the most useless weapons system ever to have been developed: the Joint Strike
Fighter. Vandaag kopen we een Vliegtuig (Today we buy an Airplane) premiered on May 20th in Zutphen, the Netherlands.