Scene from the film 9999
Scene from the film 9999
Scene from the film 9999
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  • Belgium
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Wilfried refers to himself as ‘king one-eye in the land of the blind’. This land lays in Merksplas’ prison in Belgium and the blind are the internees who reside in the prison without treatment. Mentally ill criminals in Belgium are not held responsible for their actions but become separated from society. There criminal acts range from murder to stabbing fire of a bike. Due to the lack of places in psychiatric hospitals they end up in prison without any possibility for therapy nor end date. Their files mention as date of release: 31/12/9999.

9999 intertwines five different stories of these ‘blind.’ These men are waiting; for comfort, for hope, for freedom, for change. The time between their prison bars is altogether different from the time outside the prison walls. Time is annihilated. The only thing that remains is an eternal confrontation; a confrontation with their deeds and with their illness. There is nothing else. In this film we disappear, together with the characters in need of treatment, behind the inexorable closed doors. We wait side by side.


  • Original title
  • Direction
  • Screenplay
    Ellen Vermeulen
  • DOP
    Jonathan Wannyn
  • Editing
    Dieter Diependaele
  • Sound
    Dieter Diependaele, Ellen Vermeulen
  • Duration
    71 min (46-90 min.)
  • Year
  • Country
    • Belgium
  • Colour
    • Colour
  • Production
  • Festivals
    • Open City Documentary Film Festival – London (2015)
    • Docpoint – Helsinki (2015)
    • One World – Prague (2015)
    • Movies That Matter – The Hague (Camera Justitia competition) (2015)
    • Flemish film week – Strasbourg (2015)
    • Festival du film policier – Liège (2015)
    • Addis Ababa FF (2015)
    • Fokus Labe – Czech Republic (2015)
    • Nederlands Film Festival – Utrecht (2015)
    • Document International Human Rights Documentary FF – Glasgow (2015)
    • Visions du Réel (WP) (2014)
    • MOOOV (BP) (2014)
    • Docville (Belgian competition) (2014)
    • Pärnu IDFF (2014)
    • FF Ostend (documentary competition) (2014)
    • Kasseler Dok Fest (Golden Key competition) (2014)
    • This Human World – Vienna (2014)
    • Porto/Post/Doc (2014)
  • Awards
    • Special Jury Mention at Visions du Réel / Regard Neuf
    • Nominated for Ensor ‘best documentary’ at FFO
    • Nominated for Human Rights Unltd. / Fried Van Hoof Award is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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