About the film

This film was directed by GLOWW (Robert-Jan Glas) and produced by Marjolein Aarten. Created and initiated by Robert-Jan, he has worked on ideating and building every layer of the story for over a year. Robert-Jan en Marjolein were able to involve and inspire over 50 people and several studios to donate their time and resources pro bono.  

Their incredible efforts and dedication have led to a brand movie that we never imagined possible. We are incredibly grateful for all their hard work and especially for their never-ending support of our mission. It’s people like Robert-Jan and Marjolein who are living proof of the power of entrepreneurship; people like them are the reason why we founded The Present in the first place.  

Present day challenges call for entrepreneurs to step up and leverage their qualities - as creators, connectors and impact makers. This film perfectly captures our mission to inspire entrepreneurs to do exactly that. So thank you - from the bottom of our hearts.  

The Present


The film is all about spreading an uplifting and empowering message in troubling times. Because we believe that we can shape our future - together, by being entrepreneurs at heart.  

The central theme of the film is resilience. Resilience to stay strong when things go differently than planned, creativity to adapt to change, and power to shape the future you want to see for the world and yourself. These are qualities that when we look closely, we can recognize in all of us.

The film is a direct appeal to entrepreneurs to take their responsibility. We want them to recognize their power for bringing about change and offer solutions. So yes, the film ends with a call-to-action to join The Present, but above all it is a wake-up call: the solution is in our own hands. We are the changemakers. Become an #entrepreneuratheart, and join us!

“This film shows what everyone already knows in their heart; as human beings, within any organisation, our only job left now is to think about what is good for us and the earth. As an entrepreneur you always have the choice. Make the right choice for the life of another at every step. Everyone benefits from that.” - Merijn Everaarts, Founder of Dopper


Months of planning and coordination went into the creation of this film and the additional PR-campaign. Over fifty people and various studios and rental places got involved pro bono, adding up to a normal production cost of around 200k. Every detail has been thoroughly planned and executed.

Every frame has a layered structure and multiple details. For example, the breathing in the first shot is the breathing of the person recording bombs falling in Syria, and the close-up shot of the eye shows a reflection of the fire disaster in Camp Moria.

The images in the beginning of the film depict the journey that refugees often have to make. Through deserts, by sea, past dangerous borders... The connection with the people making this journey is made through for example Marwa’s wet hair and the dust on Azad’s face.

All members of the cast are entrepreneurs. Half of them have a refugee background – like Simmie Shaya, the lady who wipes the scar off her face. She fled Iraq as a child, alongside her parents. 

The music is ‘Metamorphosis’, composed by Philip Glass and performed by world- renowned harp player Lavinia Meijer. Lavinia Meijer has been a volunteer at refugee camps in Greece, and is also a member of The Present. Philip Glass donated the rights of the music for three years.

The films’ focus on refugees is (unfortunately) timeless: it has been ongoing for centuries.  1% of the world population is now displaced or seeking refuge, with absolute numbers increasing due to climate change. Other current events and issues are also included, with images from a Black Lives Matter protest, someone wearing a face mask and images of natural disasters. This is to show that all themes are intertwined - it’s cause and effect, one thing leads to another. These are all themes that require action, solidarity and social entrepreneurship. 

Adam Kissequel, the storyteller, calls upon entrepreneurs to “Lead us the way.” This taps into the overall message: take the responsibility you have as an entrepreneur. Are you a changemaker? Show it and lead us the way. 

At 1.03 you see two Dutch entrepreneurs, one of them a former refugee. Their reflections meet each other, overlapping each other - highlighting their similarities. Because in the end, we might have different destinies, but we share a similar destination.

The golden heart in the final shot was created by Dutch artist Dadara. The heart is a gold plated exact replica of his own heart. To create (t)his artwork, he had a CT scan made and joined in on various open heart surgeries. 

‘We realized this campaign without any financial resources. We were dependent on people joining purely based on their own motivations and convictions. In order to find them, our patience and perseverance was put to the test. On top of that, the final shoot took place in, due to COVID-19, the busiest period in the film industry ever. No one was available. Almost all equipment was rented out. These circumstances turned a fairly doable production into one of the biggest challenges of my career. That moment it became clear that we had the best producer on board that we could wish for. Marjolein Aarten was our perfect partner, the perfect foundation of this production. It feels like together we did something impossible.’ - Robert-Jan Glas


This film would have never been able to see the light without the dedication of a whole bunch of incredible people, who threw themselves into this project unconditionally and without hesitation. A BIG thank you to each and every one of you who has made this amazing brand movie the work of art that it is.

Director: Robert-Jan Glas (GLOWW)                             
Producer: Marjolein Aarten
Strategy: Rutger Bouma & Robert-Jan Glas
Script: Kevin Groen & Robert-Jan Glas
DOP: Harm Griekspoor
1st AD: Anna van Schijndel
AC/Focus Puller: Rutger Bout
Light: Collin Kasper
Best Boy: Jurian Gravett
Assistant Grip Day 1: Maarten van Mourik (Egripment)
Assistant Grip Day 2: Tom Faber (Egripment)
Sound: David Warringa
Set dresser: Amanda van Dommele
Styling: Liselotte Admiraal
MUA #1: Tamer al-Sadat
MUA #2: Sophie van Bijleveld
PA #1: Jurre van Keulen
PA #2: Emma Boots
Camera equipment: Het Raam
Projection: Beamer Verhuur Amsterdam
Studio: Allard Studios
Catering: Rijmert Los
Junior editor: Junior Dadieh
(He)artwork: Dadara
Cast #1: Saud Jamaa
Cast #2: Adam Kissequel
Cast #3: Azad Shig Murad
Cast #4: Ayman Qattan
Cast #5: Marwa Mehzer
Cast #6: Simmie Shaya
Cast #7: Boukje Keijzer
Cast #8: Cees van Dillen
Cast #9: Marjolein Aarten
Cast #10: Suleyman Gogus
Cast #11: José Komin
Cast #12: Fruzsina Nagy
Editor: Thomas Schenk                    
Compositing: Stein Roeland
Colour Grading: Robbert Nieuwenhuijs
Music: Lavinia Meijer (performance), Philip Glass (composition)
Publishers: Dunvagen Music Publishers Inc. (Cloud 9 Holland Music Publishing)
Sync: Cloud 9, Tess Gaerthé
Mix: Loudness, Jaap Wajer
Subtitles: Invision, René de Ruiter
Getty Images: Menno Strunk
Photography: Chris de Bode

Publicity (PR & Campaign): Blyde BeneluxSuzanna RuisNicol Sanders

Special thanks to:
Freshmen, Guyon Essed, Adrian Newgent, Marcel van der Steen, Michel Mölder, Willem van der Schoot ,Ivan BarbosaClaire van der PoelJudith KampmanSave the ChildrenMichiel van Zummeren, Jurian Gravett & Maaiky

We didn't always know how powerful we were
Until the hourglass ran out on our childhood dreams

We grew up in an environment where crisis just is, and justice never was
We had no choice but to rise again, and again, and again

And now
Here we are

Grow hope out of uncertainty, never waiting for permission
throwing ourselves at every opportunity to make a living
Like you

Perhaps we are born from different destinies
but share a similar destination

We know we can't change the past
but we understand we can shape the future

Faith determines fate

You’ve always wanted to do ‘something’
It is time

Purpose, passion
Soul, sweat, tears, devotion

Even now when things aren’t going according to plan
You can change course without leaving your dreams behind

You are the problem solvers
The groundbreakers
The difference makers
Lead us the way!

It's never too late to be who you really are
An entrepreneur, at heart

Join other entrepeneurs and tackle complex problems together

Join us to work together with other entrepeneurs to help support social initiatives