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Arab TV station broadcasts Dutch ‘road movie’ of recent immigrants

U.S. discovery trip by multicultural group

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

AMSTERDAM - An eight-part television series about the experiences of a group of Dutch high school students traveling in the U.S. has been acquired for broadcasting by well-known Arab-language television station Al Jazeera. The series ‘Couscous & Cola’ was directed by Maartje Nevejan.

Called a ‘docu-soap’, the series follows nine students with various ethnic backgrounds who for a number of reasons eagerly want to visit the U.S., although some of them eventually fail to make the trip. Some of the students could not get permission from their parents or siblings to travel, or had not obtained a Dutch passport or visa in time. In the U.S., the Dutch students often met with contemporaries, whether students or young workers.

All nine participants are recent Muslim immigrants or refugees from the Middle East or Africa. They attend an Amsterdam vocational school. All shared the dream: to visit America. Filming the docu-soup had ended just before filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered, which in the ensuing weeks often created tension between Muslim and native Dutch youths. The series was aired on Dutch television station BNN just after the November 2004 tragedy.