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Op de vijfde rij and the world of scam festivals

How do scam festivals work, who is responsible for them, and how can they be stopped?

campagnebeeld Podcast Op de vijfde rij... in de wereld van scamfestivals

In three episodes, Cesar Majorana delves into the shadowy world of scam festivals: film festivals that don't really exist and are only out to extort as much money as possible from unsuspecting filmmakers.

Episode 1

Something strange is going on with a number of film festivals in the Netherlands. They don't seem to exist. For example, who has ever heard of the Amsterdam International Film Festival? Dozens of prizes are handed out, but no film lover or journalist has ever been there.

Since the COVID pandemic, there has been a flood of these kinds of "events": film festivals that are not who they say they are and who make big money by making filmmakers pay for submitting their work.

For this new series of On the fifth row... Cesar Majorana dives into the world of these scam festivals. He ends up at one of the most bizarre events he's ever been to, discovers how a Dutch political party got involved in this spider's web, and comes face to face with the masterminds behind these practices.

Episode 2

How do you tell someone that their prize won means nothing at all? Cesar has the dubious honor of informing two Americans about their award at the questionable Amsterdam International Film Festival.

He also learns from a Romanian journalist how scammers sometimes steal the complete identity of an existing film festival. And he visits an event in the Marionette Theater in Amsterdam that he does not trust: it will be one of the strangest evenings of his life, where he also meets just about the very last person you would expect at such a festival…

Episode 3

In the middle of the investigation, another strange film festival suddenly pops up. Two directors stand in front of a cinema theatre in Amsterdam, where their own film is premiered. But there is no festival at all. Have they been scammed too?

In this third and final episode, Cesar talks to the programmer who discovered this, he asks the leader of a Dutch political party why they submitted a film to a festival that nobody knows and he finally gets the chance to interview the organisation behind the Europe Film Festival.

Op de vijfde rij at the Septimius Awards

'Go take a look at the Septimius Awards.' After these three episodes on scam film festivals, the editors received numerous messages about this Dutch awards gala. Is it a kosher awards show?

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