Steven Wouterlood

Netherlands, Germany, 2019 / 84 min / Dutch OV with English, French & German subt. / Comedy, Drama, Family

European Film Academy – Young Audience Award 2020

A family-friendly drama that explores the relationship between a boy preparing for the worst with a girl who helps him find his best. 

While Sam’s family heads out for a holiday of togetherness and fun on the Dutch island of Terschelling, the 10-year-old decides it’s the perfect time to train himself to be alone: As the youngest of the family, he fears one day he’ll outlive everyone. His training and ruminations on life and death are interrupted when his brother breaks a leg, forcing the entire family to see a doctor where Sam meets spirited and chaotic Tess. Tess is on a pressing quest of her own to meet her long-estranged father and pulls Sam into her madcap scheme. With only one week to complete Tess’s plan, the two discover that, as messy and vulnerable as it is, maybe togetherness isn’t so bad.


„Winner of a special mention from the Berlinale Generation KPlus’ adult jury, the family-friendly, light drama My Extraordinary Summer With Tess is straightforward youth cinema with surprising emotional depth. […] Director Wouterlood establishes and sustains a non-sentimental tone that focuses on the relationship between Sam and Tess — one unencumbered with sexual tension — as well as Sam’s concerns with mortality and his peculiar knowledge of the natural world […] It’s a tone that will find favor with audiences the age of the protagonists.” Alissa Simon, Variety, 21/02/2019


“A teenage boy meets his first crush and weathers his first existential crisis in My Extraordinary Summer with Tess, a warm-hearted all-ages drama that pairs a sunny disposition with soulful insights. As well as coaxing thoughtful performances out of his young stars, debut feature director Steven Wouterlood demonstrates a commanding handling of tone. Simultaneously light, contemplative and sincere, even when it lays its sentiment on thickly, this is a nicely balanced coming-of-age story that grapples with substantial matters in an accessible manner. […] My Extraordinary Summer with Tess is particularly affecting when it’s in quiet rather than breezy mode, and its central duo rise to the task of conveying complicated emotions in tender, telling glances.” Sarah Ward, ScreenDaily, 9/02/2019


“In his tale of prepubescent troubles revolving around coping with loss, family and friendship, Wouterlood manages to create an otherworldly feel in which his protagonists wander a fairy-tale land of sandy dunes, dark-blue shores and secluded cottages scattered over the island. This allows DoP Sal Kroonenberg to play with the framing, as his overhead shots show desolate shorelines during the aloneness training, or Sam and Tess parting at a fork in the road after an argument. Van Utteren and Arendsen enrich the story with an apparently natural aptitude for creating relatable characters, and the perky script neatly encapsulates the mind of a young adult.” Susanne Gottlieb, Cineuropa, 9/02/2019

  • Jury Award – Best Film Tier 5-13, Adelaide International Youth Film Festival, 2019 (Australia)
  • Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk Special Mention for the Best Feature Film, Berlin International Film Festival (2019)
  • Best Live-Action Feature, Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, 2019 (USA)
  • Adult’s Jury Award, Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, 2019 (USA)
  • Audience Award – Best Dutch Family Film, Cinekid, 2019 (Netherlands)
  • Children’s Jury Award, Kristiansand International Children’s Film Festival, 2019 (Norway)
  • Lucas Award for the Best Feature Film of the Section 8+, Lucas Internationales Festival für junge Filmfans, 2019 (Germany)
  • ECFA Award – Best Feature Film, Lucas Internationales Festival für junge Filmfans, 2019 (Germany)
  • Best Film for Children, Minsk International Film Festival, 2019 (Belarus)
  • Best Performance by a Child Actor or Actress, Minsk International Film Festival, 2019 (Belarus)
  • Special Jury Diploma – Teen Screen Competition, Molodist International Film Festival, 2019 (Ukraine)
  • Grand Prize Feature, New York International Children’s Film Festival, 2019 (USA)
  • Best Film, Noorderlijk Film Festival, 2019 (Netherlands)
  • Seminci Joven Award for the Best Feature Film, Valladolid International Film Festival, 2019 (Spain)
  • Best Feature Film for Children, Zlín International Film Festival for Children and Youth, 2019 (Czech Republic)
Cast & Credits
Sonny Coops Van Utteren, Josephine Arendsen, Julian Ras, Tjebbo Gerritsma, Suzan Boogaerdt, Johannes Kienast, Terence Schreurs, Jennifer Hoffman, Hans Dagelet, Guido Pollemans
Laura van Dijk, based on the book “Mijn bijzonder rare week met Tess” by Anna Woltz
Sal Kroonenberg
Kai Tebbel
Florian Legters
Franziska Henke
Ostlicht Filmproduktion, VPRO

Steve Wouterlood is a Dutch director born in Utrecht in 1984. Already at a young age, he shot films with the borrowed camera of his grandmother. This passion motivated him to enrol at the Utrecht School of Art where he graduated as director in 2007. He directed the children’s television short Anything Goes (2014) which won among others an International Emmy Kids Award and the Kids Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. His short film King’s Day (2015) likewise won numerous awards, including the Kids Jury Award at Chicago International Children’s Film Festival. In 2016, he directed the TV series Remi, Nobody’s Boy, based on the 1878 novel “Sans famille” by Hector Malot, which was also nominated for an Emmy Kids Award. My Extraordinary Summer with Tess (2019) is his debut feature film and goes on to win the Special Jury Prize in the Generation section of the Berlin International Film Festival.

  • 2019 – Mijn bijzonder rare week met Tess
  • 2016 – Superstar VR (court-métrage / short / Kurzfilm)
  • 2016 – Alleen op de wereld (série TV / TV series / Fernsehserie)
  • 2015 – Koningsdag (court-métrage / short / Kurzfilm)
  • 2014 – Alles mag (court-métrage / short / Kurzfilm)
  • 2013 – Het Meisje aan de Overkant (court-métrage / short / Kurzfilm)
  • 2007 – Los (court-métrage / short / Kurzfilm)
  • 2006 – Samen alleen (court-métrage / short / Kurzfilm)
  • 2005 – Guido (court-métrage / short / Kurzfilm)