Filmmakers' Voices with Mea Dols de Jong

If Mamma Ain't Happy, Nobody's Happy / dir. Mea Dols de Jong
A mysterious pattern emerges as a mother and daughter explore the history of women in their family. 

About the Director
Mea studied Philosophy and Physics before turning to the world of documentary filmmaking. Mea’s graduation film If Mama Ain't Happy, Nobody's Happy had its international premiere at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA).

What advice do you have for filmmakers just starting out?
I guess just be kind to yourself. Try to find out what your style is and be okay if you fail very hard in the beginning. There’s a great speech of Ira Glass where he speaks about the gap in taste. ( Take this to heart and just keep going.

A year further on, has making this documentary affected your understanding of your family and relationships?
The film certainly affected a lot. The most positive thing that came out of it was that I learned to laugh about my mother. Making a film about here forced me to look at her with the eyes of an audience instead of a daughter. I learned that a lot of stuff that was annoying to me as a daughter actually was pretty funny if you look at it another way. That’s an advice I would give everybody who recognizes getting irritated by your mom and feeling guilty about it. Try to laugh about it. For me learning that was actually growing up. Not being a daughter but also an individual who can look at things from a broader perspective.


See If Mamma Ain't Happy, Nobody's Happy directed by Mea Dols de Jong as part of our Autumn Season, showing from September 1st - December 1st all around the world. Find a screening near you or host one yourself.