Reggery Gravenbeek is a renowned filmmaker who grew up in the Zuidwijk district of Rotterdam. By the time he hit his teenage years, Reggery had engaged in drug dealing activities. His life in the streets was so terrible that he was involved in all the vices one could ever think about. He recalls that he was never afraid of anything or the consequences that would follow his actions. His fearless demeanor made him popular and led to connections with die-hard crooks.
Reggery had an appetite for money and would do anything to get cash quickly. He always carried a weapon to shield himself from attacks from his fellow boys in the streets. His life took a different twist after being involved in a shootout with a rival who later succumbed to his injuries. The incident led to Reggery’s arrest, after which he was convicted and imprisoned.
Life in prison wasn’t offering anything to Reggery, and this made him so bitter. “I was furious as I started my sentence. I thought I would stay behind bars for a shorter period, and my fellow prisoners didn’t make life easier either. I ended up behind bars for 12.5 years,” he says.
After his release from prison and without any work, professional backup or even a place to call home, things were getting tough for Reggery. It was around this time that he was given an opportunity that would later transform his life. He joined Team Ankle Band, a transitional agency that works with teens, ex-convicts, and schools. Reggery has been using his own life encounters to help ex-convicts, and school leavers find their place in society. “I always use my terrible past to prevent them from getting involved in all the bad dealings that I did at their age. I want to help them to avoid convictions. I encourage them to maximize their talents”.
Through the great support from the civil servants and artists from Rotterdam, Gravenbeek works on filming everything about his life. He links the film to a project in which the film is displayed to teens and specialists to discuss street life pressure. This happens to be a huge social problem.
In 2017, Reggery Gravenbeek produced his first film titled “De Druk”. The film revolves around life in the streets and how a person can end up making miserable choices. The film is shown to young people in primary schools, after which Reggery opens up a discussion hoping to protect them from the mistakes he made in his past life.
Currently Reggery, in collaboration with Rotterdam film director Rien Bexkens, is working on a new film about drill rappers from South Rotterdam. The drill rappers, who play the film’s central roles, are perceived negatively in the social scenes. But, Reggery desires to talk to as many young people as possible to understand the rappers’ journey. Through the film, he wants to enlighten them to utilize the skills they have acquired from the streets to impact society positively.
Reggery is so zealous about filming, and he is not willing to relent on his journey to see society transformed. He has embraced filming to reach out to young people far and wide. His greatest inspiration is to see a change for the young generation so they will use their talents and positively transform their world. @reggerygravenbeek