Traag naar de hemel (Heaven awaits)

In a Belgian convent where time seems to have stood still, the last three Norbertienen Sisters prepare themselves for the public holidays. For better or for worse, they will receive their family and friends. A well-observed, gently comical portrait of these three nuns and their toy keeshond Skippy. The graduation film is by Marlies Smeenge (Directing Documentaries) and came about in cooperation with EOdocs.

Watch the entire film on NPO Start

‘I researched 600 convents in order to find these three special women.’
Marlies Smeenge


René van Uffelen, Head of Studies Editing, Netherlands Film Academy: ‘What was special in this entire process was the way in which Marlies Smeenge guided the various departments. As is befitting of a good documentary, this film was made on the basis of a strong vision of the director, which Marlies managed to convey to her crew members in an exemplary manner.'

Iris Lammertsma, documentary producer and owner of the film production company Witfilm: 'Marlies makes it clear in a very subtle, respectful and intelligent manner what it means to live in a community that is slowly dying out, what it means to live in a close-knit community, to be in each other’s hair day in and day out, sharing everything. She uses a light-hearted tone for this and a crystal-clear image, both of which communicate effectively, as a result of which you feel directly connected to the Sisters as a viewer and get lost in their everyday existence while watching.'

Digna Sinke, director & producer SNG-film: 'Traag naar de hemel is joyful and serious at the same time. What is so special about the movie, is that Marlies captures such a big theme as human mortality in a humorous way, accepts the main characters exactly the way they are, found wonderful images, also due to the cooperation of loyal producers and a very motivated crew.'

From the jury report of the Graduation Prize: 'In Traag naar de hemel Marlies Smeenge has succeeded in creating magical moments by observing her subject with patience, respect and lots of love. It has ended up being an interesting document of a disappearing way of life, which you can watch time and time again. It is impressive that a young documentary maker dares to opt for a slow subject matter and also dares to keep that slow in our hectic times. A loving portrait that makes one curious about new work from Marlies and her team.'


Direction Marlies Smeenge
Production Roderik Dekker, Elsemieke Uijen
Cinematographer Mike Molenhuis
Sound Design Dennis Sanders
Sound recording & Mixage Björn Hoogland
Editing Tim Straver
Visual Effects Carolien Bakker
Composer Matthijs Stauttener

With Zuster Benedicta, Zuster Bernadette, Zuster Norberta

A project of: