Ilja is a passionate filmmaker focused on character-driven documentary travel projects that illustrate social, political or historical developments. For the last decade-and-a-half she has been working on various renowned documentary series. A seven-episode series about Southern Africa fifteen years after the abolition of Apartheid and another one about 19th century global explorers both won the prestigious Dutch Nipkow Award. The 36-episode documentary series called The Beagle, in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, On the Future of Species for which she re-sailed Darwin’s journey around the world won the journalistic award De Tegel.
Ilja moved from Amsterdam to New York in 2010 and continued to work on another prize-winning series of short documentaries, Metropolis, about remarkable characters who exemplified cultural habits within universal themes. Recently she has made two seasons about the current social-political climate in the United States. This series received an honorable mention for that same Nipkow Award. Her independent short documentary about her dad's senior field hockey team was shown at the World Cup in The Hague and many different international film festivals thereafter. A documentary feature she worked on in NY called ‘Etgar Keret’ won an International Emmy for Best Documentary. She is currently creating several short documentaries, developing a new travel documentary series and working on her first feature doc.
Ilja is a determined team-player and knows how to develop and direct a divergent genre of non-scripted television programs and documentary series. Her -maybe not so- hidden talents are her research skills, especially finding extraordinary stories and characters and bringing them all together. Ilja has a congenital urge to cross borders, both literally and figuratively. She loves working under challenging circumstances with a preference for the unknown and she is always eager to take that one step further. Ilja is co-founder of Bureau NY, a US based production company she runs with DP and husband Remco Bikkers.
Education: Masters degree in International Relations and English Language & Literature in Utrecht. One year at Old Dominion University in Virginia with a field hockey scholarship and a semester at Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain.