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The Player

Documentary, 2009, 83 min.

John Appel's The Player starts with a letter his father wrote to him shortly before he died. Appel remembers his father, a real estate agent, as a man full of games and challenges. Later, he found out his father was dependent on gambling. Based on three portraits of other gambling addicts, Appel now tries to gain a better insight into his father.
We first meet Harry Engels, a flamboyant bookmaker. Despite having had a string of girlfriends, he is still alone. Resigned, he admits that his passion for the game outstrips that for women. Less fortunate is Harry Hofland, a compulsive liar and gambling addict who has spent over ten years in jail. He intends to mend his ways, but during the shooting of the film it is clear he keeps using his cell phone to deceive people from his cell. Just as incurable, poker player Ted Stolzenbach is unable to resist the temptations of the casino. The men that know everything about winning and losing gradually reveal what really drove John Appel's father.

won prizes

  • NL - Amsterdam International Docu Film Festival IDFA award


  • NL - Netherlands Film Festival Golden Calf

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Cinematographer - DoP


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TV - broadcast production company

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