Jessica Gorter

Jessica Gorter is a Dutch documentary filmmaker. She studied directing and editing at the Dutch Film and Television Academy in Amsterdam. As a teenager she lived for several years in the United States and after completing her studies, she worked and traveled in Russia for a longer period of time.

Her experience of these different worlds, fueled by her passion for photography, forms an important basis for her further work. Her award-winning films are screened worldwide at film festivals and universities, theatrically released and broadcasted internationally.


2023 The Dmitriev Affair
2017 The Red Soul
2011 900 Days
2006 Quarantaine
2004 Piter
2002 No Goods Today
1998 Ferryman across the Volga
1994 Heilige Weg
1993 Gold and Blue​

Jessica Gorter likes to explore the field of tension between personal memories and history at large. In her films she gets emotionally close to her main characters; at the same time she creates a distance which enables viewers to make their own connections. Her films are never unequivocal and are characterized by her visual and observing style.

Her latest documentary continues the theme of the films she has been making in Russia since the 1990s: laying bare the consequences for individual lives of the disintegration of the Soviet Union. The Dmitriev Affair (2023) focuses on Yuri Dmitriev, a man who, much to the displeasure of the authorities searches for mass graves from the era of Stalin’s ‘Great Terror’- until he is arrested and sentenced to 15 years in a penal colony.

Jessica Gorter made her breakthrough with 900 Days (2011) about the myth and reality of the Leningrad blockade. The film won the IDFA Award for Best Dutch Documentary and the Prix Interreligieux at Visions du Réel in Nyon.  At the ArtDocFest in Moscow it was awarded with the special jury prize.
The film was also nominated for a Golden Calf at the Netherlands Film Festival and for the Prix Italia.

Earlier in her career she made a.o. the short poetic documentary Ferryman across the Volga (1997) which won the Prix de RTBF.

Her next fim Piter (2004) premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR): a captivating look into the lives of seven residents of Saint Petersburg at a turning point in history.

In her third feature-length documentary The Red Soul (2017), Jessica Gorter investigated why Stalin is still seen as a hero by so many Russians. The film premiered at IDFA and was screened at many international festivals and received widespread critical acclaim.

In 2014 Jessica received the prestigious Documentary Stipendium from the Dutch Prince Bernhard Cultural Fund for ‘the skillful and elaborate approach in her research and her concise and layered way of dealing with the themes underlying her stories.’

Other work and activities
She has worked as an editor and also directed, shot, and produced documentaries for Dutch television (of a.o. HUMAN, VPRO and NTR). She supervises young filmmakers and gives workshops at film schools. Since 2019 she is also a Core Faculty member at Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA) in the USA.

How to watch my films?

Some of the films are on Pay per View and others free to watch!
Find the links in the filmography!