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Short Film: 'Thin Ice'



After the various terrorist incidents that have recently occurred in Europe, there is an increased fear of possible terrorist attacks in the Netherlands. When we see someone with an “untrustworthy” appearance and a backpack in a public space, we create immense doomsday scenarios in our heads, setting off all alarm bells. As a society, we are often frightened when everything is fine. The short film Thin Ice, co-produced by Senior Fellow Tamar Guttmann, shows what happens in the mind of someone who allows themself to be led by feelings of distrust, with the main goal creating dialogue around this common fear for attacks.


For Tamar Guttmann, the arts are a wonderful way to create empathy within a society. According to Tamar, it is admirable that when it comes to speakers and Action Projects, Humanity in Action supports a creative approach. Tamar believes that when viewers closely follow a film character, they can gain personal insights within their own lives. Tamar hopes that by recognizing and identifying with the film, viewers will catch themselves on their misconceptions and prejudices, without feeling that the film is preachy.

Senior Fellow Tamar Guttmann: “The Humanity in Action Fellowship has helped me understand that everyone, regardless of their background or interests, can take action for human rights and minorities.”


Thin Ice is a short film about the growing fear of attacks in the Netherlands and the impact of this on our daily lives. The film takes place in and around Rink’s (Achmed Akkabi) lost-and-found desk. When a girl (Claire Bender) who has lost a hat appears at Rink’s counter and starts chatting to him, Rink suddenly sees a boy behind the girl with a black backpack, sitting on a bench on the other side of the track. The boy is covered in dark clothes and he looks restless. Rink tries to ignore him, but feels that all the small hints indicate that the situation could develop into something dangerous. After analyzing what is happening in front of him, there seems to be only one thing he can do: he needs to take action. Will Rink become the hero of the ice rink and save the day? 

Senior Fellow Tamar Guttmann: “I hope that the film can also serve an educational purpose by being included in secondary school curricula.”

Artistic Choice

The film ends with a surprising plot twist; the viewer discovers that in Thin Ice both Rink and ‘the boy on the bench’ are played by the same actor. Tamar explains that this is a conscious choice because people who look like Achmed Akkabi are often seen by the media as potentially dangerous (the boy on the bench), while they are much more likely to also live with very same fear of attacks (Rink). According to Tamar, our society makes people like Rink scared and suspicious of people who look like themselves. What finally becomes clear is that Rink’s fear is a reflection of himself, something he creates in his own mind.


The film has been screened worldwide at several film festivals such as Nederlands Film Festival, the Oscar-qualifying Hamptons International Film Festival, and Oscar-qualifying Atlanta Film Festival. Recently, Thin Ice also premiered online on the international online short film channel Omeleto and has been watched hundreds of thousands of times! Go to the Omeleto channel or watch the film below.

Last update: April 2, 2020