Bregtje van der Haak (1966) is a political scientist, journalist and documentary filmmaker. Most recently, she finished Satellite Queens (2007) about a popular all women talkshow on Arab satellite TV (co-produced with PBS Wide Angle). Earlier, she made two documentaries about working women in Morocco and Saudi Arabia: Femmes Fatales (2005) and Saudi Solutions (2006). She was the first one allowed to film the daily lives of Saudi women and the film was sold worldwide and nominated at Banff, Canada and the European Independent Filmfestival in Paris. In 2006, Van der Haak was elected Media Woman of the Year. She has been directing long format documentaries on social, political and cultural issues since 1994, focusing on long term social change and its effects on individuals. For the prestigious VPRO Backlight documentary series she also directed episodes about business ethics (with Jack Welch), about the American sociologist Amitai Etzioni and about the negotiations for Turkish accession to the European Union (with Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot and Turkish Foreign minister Abdullah G?l).

In 2002, Van der Haak completed Lagos/Koolhaas, a documentary about self organisation and urbanisation in Lagos, Nigeria in collaboration with architect Rem Koolhaas and The Harvard Project on the City. The documentary was shown in international film festivals around the world and at the Sharjah Biennial, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Volksb?hne in Berlin. As a follow up, she collaborated with artist and graphic designer Silke Wawro to make Lagos Wide&Close an interactive dvd which uses innovative non-linear narration and aims to convey the experience of being present in Lagos. The DVD has been distributed and shown as a installation internationally in art museums, biennial exhibitions and film festivals in a.o. Sao Paulo, New York, Ljubljana, Florence and Sevilla

For the social documentary series DNW-Smoke Signals from The New World (VPRO1998/2002), Van der Haak directed many documentaries about changes in contemporary society and their impact on our daily lives featuring leading intellectuals such as Benjamin Barber, Manuel Castells, Achille Mbembe, Toni Negri and Muhammad Yunus. Topics ranged from declining birth rates and economic globalisation to micro credits, ’super-marketing’ and the merchandising of African identity. Her documentary ’Life and Work’, about the influence of business language and ethics on private life was awarded the Golden Statue Award. Earlier on, Van der Haak directed news magazine reports on the revolutions of the media landscape (NPS 95/96) and long format programmes on the relationship between culture and society with artists, architects and thinkers including Hussein Chalayan, Peter Eisenman, Dan Graham, Jack Lang and Philip Johnson (VPRO 97/98). She also was the series producer for the weekly talkshow Karel (AVRO 94/95) and for the series Small Medium Large (NPS 96/97), an investigation of the fashion industry. In addition to her work in public broadcasting, she has published articles about media and culture since 1988.

Van der Haak graduated in political science (1990) and law (1992) at the University of Amsterdam after internships with UNESCO in Paris and The Consulate General of The Netherlands in New York City. She lived in New York City from 1988 till 1994, where she earned a fellowship at the New School for Social Research and a Fulbright grant from the Netherlands America Foundation for the Graduate School of Journalism of Columbia University (M.S. 1993). In New York, she started working in television as an intern at the Charlie Rose Show and a producer for RTL News. In Paris, before starting her studies, she attended courses at Sorbonne University and studied to be a dancer (85/86).