Arne Toonen

Arne Toonen

Director at Halal, Amsterdam
Amsterdam, Netherlands

About me

Let’s start at the beginning: nine months after his parents had the intercourse, a beautiful little baby was born, which they looked at with adoring eyes and decided right then and there to name after the Swedish motocross hero Arne Kring. Three years later they moved to Los Angeles CA, where Arne spent one marvellous year. The seed may have been planted there, but if asked about it, Arne recalls the exact moment when his dad took him to the movies to see Return of the Jedi at the age of 8 as the moment where he decided he wanted to become a filmmaker. Of course there was that short period of time where Arne, at the age of 11, wanted to become Marty McFly, but other than that he was quite determined in his way to becoming a successful movie director. (Even the moment he popped his cherry is movie related: it happened after – yes after, not during, they watched the whole thing first – watching Terminator 2 on VHS with his girlfriend.)


In 1999 Arne graduated as an artist from Art School in Arnhem, after which he went on and studied at the NFTA, where he graduated as a fiction director in 2003. If you were looking for a red thread in his work, this would be that all of his movies – whether 30 seconds or 100 minutes long – are like little worlds on their own. The characters living in those worlds spring directly from Arne’s wondrous mind and are meticulously placed into those worlds. In there, what they all have in common is their colourful and eloquent nature. You could say Arne is as much a visual director as he is an ‘actors’ director.
It causes for a distinct style that hasn’t exactly gone unnoticed, and rather has been praised many times over. His first feature film Dik Trom (2010) for example wasn’t just a huge success in terms of box-office numbers (487K visitors), but it also received the Gouden Kalf at the NFF for Best Art-direction. The movie went on to win many jury and audience awards across the world.
The features Black Out (2012) and De Boskampi’s (Little Gangster) (2015) followed and also won him rave reviews (Variety, Hollywood Reporter) – again praising him for his distinctive visual style and humour. De Boskampi’s also was selected for the prestigious Sundance Film Festival 2016.
Arne likes to work hard and have a laugh at the same time. It is one of the many reasons Halal and Arne make for a perfect match.


Amsterdam, Netherlands
2016 - Present (2 years 6 months)

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