How To Meet A Mermaid

a film by Coco Schrijber
In "How to meet a Mermaid", Coco Schrijber directs herself at the sea, which in its psychopathic demeanor is both beauty and peril, friend as well as foe. With the sea as their refuge, main characters Lex, Rebecca, and Miguel prefer the water to their present abode; even if, intentionally or not, their preference ends in death.

Lex Schrijber went on a diving trip to Egypt in October 2000, but he never returned. His shoes, clothes and diver’s knife were found – stacked neatly – on a Red Sea beach. A diver never dives without his knife, and this fact alone was proof enough to filmmaker Coco Schrijber that her brother had made a fateful decision that day. Fifteen years later, she returns to the place where Lex was last seen, to find out why he disappeared and whether there were witnesses to his final hours. As in her previous work (including First Kill and Bloody Mondays & Strawberry Pies), Schrijber takes a multilayered, essay-like approach complemented by a lavish soundtrack, with the sea both alluring and repelling. Scenes of her search are juxtaposed with gorgeous seascapes that capture both the beauty and the destructive power of the ocean. She broadens the narrative from the personal perspective on Lex’s story by connecting it with the tales of Mexican surfer Miguel as he prepares his flight across the ocean, and the tragedy surrounding Rebecca, who disappeared from a cruise ship. 

Elegantly enigmatic - Variety

Indrukwekkende soundtrack en overdonderend mooie beelden … How to Meet a Mermaid doet het geweld en het mysterie van de oceaan eer aan – De Volkskrant

Wat heerlijk om eens een echt filmessay aan te treffen in het Nederlandse filmlandschap – Trouw

Coco Schrijber is een van onze origineelste filmessayisten – NRC Handelsblad

Fascinerende, blikverbredende film met oogstrelende beelden en onthutsende bespiegelingen over paradijs, perceptie en illusie – VPRO Cinema

About the director

Coco Schrijber studied at the Rietveld Arts Academy from which she was expelled. Her debut In Motion premiered at IDFA and won first prize in CFF, Rome. Her first feature documentary First Kill (about one’s addiction to killing) was selected for the International Competition at IDFA, won the Press Award at The Dutch Filmfestival and the Audience Award in Kosovo. Her short Wonderful World won 6 international prizes. Bloody Mondays & Strawberry Pies (about the upside of boredom) won five international awards, the grand prize of The Netherlands and was the official entry for the Oscars. Coco is a much appreciated mentor, lecturing at the Dutch Filmschool, the Mexican Filmschool CCC (centro de capacitación cinematográfica) coaching numerous projects both Dutch and foreign and gave masterclasses in Malmö & Athene’s. Last year her screenplay Ola’s Universe was nominated for the Visser-Neerlandiaprijs (2014).


written & directed by
Coco Schrijber

Lars Skree 

Tim van Peppen

Gys Zevenbergen

Awards & festivals

Feature-length competition IDFA
Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2016

Dutch Documentary competition IDFA
Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2016

Finalist AWFJ EDA award
Best Female-directed Film

Official selection CPH:DOX
Denmark, 2017

Official selection Bergen International Film Festival
Norway, 2017

Official selection Docudays UA
Kharkiv, Ukraine, 2017

Official selection Biografilm Festival
Bologna, Italy, , 2017

Official selection Docs Against Gravity Film Festival
Poland, 2017

Official selection European Film Awards
Germany, 2017

Production Details

 a Zeppers Film production

in co-production with 
Off World
House of Reel

in co-production with 

with the support of the
Netherlands Film Fund
the Dutch Cultural Media Fund
Danish Film Institute

Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF|FILM)