A documentary series about six Flemish families that live in poverty

Poverty Rules is a documentary series (5 × 30 minutes) that subtly reveals different situations of families dealing with poverty in Flanders, one of the richest regions in Europe. The series is built up by five episodes that all together form a circle of life: from child to adult to elderly. The five stories complement each other and make the experience of poverty transparent.

Every episode is directed by another filmmaker. Because of their unique creative approach, each episode goes beyond anecdotic storytelling and avoids stereotypes.

The series raises awareness for the fact that poverty is often not visible on the outside: it may be happening to the people next door, and therefore to anyone in the audience.


Episode 1 by Klara Van Es

Michael has started his first job. But something went wrong in his education. Will he proof to be strong enough to cope with society and build himself a life?

Episode 2 by Ellen Vermeulen

Tania is a young, hard working, single mother, investing all her scarce time in raising her two small kids, whilst trying to pay back the debt she has inherited from her mother.

Episode 3 by Joke Nyssen

Middle aged Guido and Heidi fell in love with each other. Struggling with debts from the past, they find out that there is a price on living together.

Episode 4 by Annabele Verbeke

Gilbert is a retired entrepreneur, who has lost all his savings in a hoax. He thanks God that he still has his wife, and together they try to cope with the situation. Until she gets ill.

Episode 5 EXPECTING by Fabio Wuytack

Jawed’s and Dashurije’s unborn child rounds the vicious circle of poverty. Expecting was officially selected for IDFA 2012.


Documentaries directed by
Klara Van Es
Ellen Vermeulen
Joke Nijssen
Annebel Verbeke
Fabio Wuytack

Production details

Duration: 5 x 30'

In co-production with VRT - Eén
Supported by Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF), King Baudoin Foundation and The Provinces of Antwerp & Limburg

Language: Dutch
Subtitles: English, Dutch