Skip to main content


Netherlands, 2004 (MIFF 2005, Documentaries)

Director: Walter Stokman


On a hot August afternoon in 1972, John Wojtowicz rushed into a Brooklyn bank, demanding money in a desperate effort to finance his lover's sex-change operation. So began a chain of events that became the basis for Sidney Lumet's 1972 film, Dog Day Afternoon. What had begun as a quick robbery soon turned into a sensational hostage hold-up drama, a 14-hour war of nerves in which not only the police and passers-by became involved but also the media. Based on a True Story returns to the scene of the crime, with the intention of reconstructing the events of that day through archival footage and interviews with John Wojtowicz and others. But from this relatively uncomplicated premise, the film evolves into a complex investigation of the nature of truth in documentary making. As the filmmaker soon realises, getting the truth out of Wojtowicz is no simple matter. In the intriguing and often hilarious cat-and-mouse game that ensues, Wojtowicz once again claims centre stage, insisting on his authority over the story and the events he caused.

D/S Walter Stokman P Kees Kassander WS SND Films TD video/ col/2004/75mins. Walter Stokman was born in Bodegraven, the Netherlands, in 1966. His films include Borderline Cases (1996), Can't U Hear Me Singin' (1997), The Ideal Summer Camp (2003).

See also...


The Master and His PupilNetherlandsWinner of the Best Documentary award (for directors who have made more than two features) at this year's Tribeca Film Festival, The Master and His Pupil is an ... More »

shape of the moon

[Shape of the Moon] is a portrait of Indonesian lives that goes far beyond the typical stories of tsunami destruction, law enforcement and political unrest. Suffused with remarkable detail and ... More »


Lagos/Koolhaas NetherlandsThe Nigerian capital of Lagos is considered to be the most lawless city on the face of the earth. It is one of the largest and is wracked by crushing poverty; electricity ... More »


This unflinching documentary explores the minds of American soldiers who served a tour of duty in Vietnam, questioning them about the experience of the first time they took the life of a fellow human ... More »


This is Me examines a group of veteran transvestites, entertainers and assorted eccentrics and the closure of La Bodega Bohemia, a Barcelona night-club-cum-refuge where they bloom at night. The owner ... More »


Take an incredible trip to the subterranean world of New York's family of street people living in a disused railway tunnel below Central Park. Writers, poets, drop-outs, black, white, young, smart ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director