Visual artist, filmmaker and documentary photographer Ilse Frech (1972, Amsterdam) is of Dutch-Macedonian descent. She studied Photography (1990-94) at the Royal Academy for Fine Arts, Architecture and Music (KABK). Obtained a Master of Arts HES-SO degree in Fine Arts and Contemporary Artistic Practices, major Work.Master from the Swiss University of Art and Design, HEAD-Genève (2011-13). By then working internationally since 1995. Selected for World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in 2003, she portrayed Muslim youth in Paris’ banlieues, in a series titled Private Life, for which she received a nomination for the ICP Infinity Award for Documentary and Photojournalism. 2005 Onwards she pursued working with Muslim women in Paris’ banlieues, resulting in a solo-exhibition and monograph I Am – Paradox Identity, further a documentary film, I Am. My Islam. My France., a colorful mosaic of five young Muslim women offering an intimate glance through the façade of concrete, premiering at the Institut Néerlandais, Paris – Mois de la Photo 2008. The film was selected for IWAB South-Korea, Incheon Women Artists’ Biennal 2009. Residing in Paris, she worked in Russia as well, creating an essayistic documentary portrait in photography and film, of Nika – Russian and seropositive (HIV+), resulting in Nika, Russia LOVE.

In 2010 Frech realised Zjeitu commissioned by The Rijksmuseum and NRC Handelsblad on behalf of the annual photography commission ‘Document Nederland’, as a result photographs of the project are conserved in The Rijksmuseum’s Photography Collection: Zjeitu, a sultry portrait of the Dutch Antilles, exhibited at De Kunsthal, Rotterdam (2010-11). With its annual commission the Rijksmuseum intends to highlight subjects of relevance to contemporary Dutch society with the aim of documenting history as it unfolds. Sweet Terror of Memory – ΨΙΘΥΡΟΙ (2018, 15′) is a short fiction-, experimental documentary film, a visual poem and triptych of historical- and fictional narrative based upon her Aegean Macedonian mothers’ biography, exile of The Greek Civil War (1946-48), unlocking genealogical heritage of trauma. Sweet Terror of Memory – ΨΙΘΥΡΟΙ had its premiere at the Nederlands Film Festival in Utrecht, September 2018. The film had been selected both for the Short Film Corner (professional-market presentation) by Festival de Cannes in 2018 as well as by Visions du Réel Festival International de cinéma Nyon (Switzerland), for the Media Library in 2019.

Poems for A Scenario is an assemblage of poetry and prose written by Frech whereupon the filmscript for Sweet terror of Memory was assembled, of which Blank | Hiroshima Mon Amour, was firstly published by Rusted Radishes, the Beirut Literary and Art Journal, issue no. 5/ 2016: ‘The Political City’. Part of Exile: Belonging (2011-14): An artistic research project functioning as a creative space where identity related to political heritage, the imprint of war, exile and trauma, associated with mythology, legend and body-memory are entwined with documentary, re-enactment and fiction translated into audiovisual-installations, video works, photography, performances and poetry. Artist in residence for three months in 2016 at Ashkal Alwan, Beirut – The Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts, in affiliation with Mondriaan Fund (NL), during which she researched Lebanese war trauma and its multiple carriers of memory, resulting in a twofold outcome: Fugacious Presence, a collaborative, improvisational performance and audiovisual installation, presented at Ashkal Alwan (27/05/16), besides the concept for a new filmproject: “One”, A Letter to Eternity.


Curriculum vitae


2018-2017 Cinematography, Camera College Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands

2015  Summer Institute of Art, ‘Art & The Politics of Estrangement’, June 4-23, Saas-Fee, Switzerland

2013-2011 Master of Arts HES-SO in Fine Arts, Major Work.Master – Contemporary Artistic Practices, University of Art & Design, HEAD-Geneva, Switzerland

MFA Thesis: Image as Language – Language as Image (2013)

1996-1995 MA Photography (1st year) at the Academy of Arts St. Joost – Breda, The Netherlands

1995-1994 Masterclass Photography, Royal Academy of Visual Arts, Dance and Music – KABK The Hague, The Netherlands

1994-1990 BA Photography, Royal Academy of Visual Arts, Dance and Music – KABK The Hague, The Netherlands

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Events Present \\ Past

05-13/ April 2019

Sweet Terror of Memory – ΨΙΘΥΡΟΙ is selected for the Media Library 2019 | Visions du Réel Festival International de cinéma Nyon, Switzerland: Visions du Réel Media Library

The film had its premiere at the Nederlands Film Festival, Dutch FilmFestival in September 2018.

06/ October 2018

Sweet Terror of Memory – ΨΙΘΥΡΟΙ is officially selected by the IFF Kinenova, International Film Festival Skopje, North- Macedonia, for the International Short Film Competition and had its European Premiere.

29/ September 2018

National Premiere of Sweet Terror of Memory – ΨΙΘΥΡΟΙ, officially selected by the Nederlands Film Festival, Utrecht.


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Contact & ©

Ilse Frech, Visual Art, Film & Photography Production | FRECHFILMS
Cellphone: +31 (0)6 51 47 52 56


Memberships: DDG, DuPho

respect © 2020 DISCLAIMER: All images and texts on this website are copyright protected by the author, Ilse Frech. Copyrightholders – other than Ilse Frech, have been specified, when applicable. In case you’d like to tag either refer to my work regarding research of any interdisciplinary field of interest, please send inquiries at

The lay-out of each projectpage has been created and assembled by Ilse Frech, copyright-owner and author of all imagery and texts. The color palette is taken from the Architectural Polychromy by Le Corbusier.


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