About the movie
The film tells the colorful and cheerful history of the Amsterdam Ship of Fools Azart, which sailed around the world for more than 30 years to bring cheer. At the steering wheel is the creator of this sailing work of art: captain and actor August Dirks, who lived, sailed and worked on the Azart 33 years.

Amsterdam’s Azartplein is named after this fool’s ship. Captain August wanted to sail the ancient trade route to the orient, he said, but in a different way. “Not to steal and kill, but to play and share.” Halfway, the ship stranded – literally – on a South American beach, where the wonderful story continues, led by a local theater group.
Captain August: “Because the ship often sailed offshore and without grants or much funding, few Amsterdam residents are aware that Azart is the very last seagoing vessel that sailed the ocean from the KNSM Java Island. Yes, that, in Russian, the very word Azart has the meaning of the passion to put  everything at risk, in short, of the same enthusiasm of the Amsterdam sailors to which Amsterdam owes its cosmopolitanism and the island its origins. Amsterdam residents deserve to know that the square is named after this attitude to life. They deserve to know that their square is named after a history that is far from over, but that is still written every day by artists, residents and children on a distant beach on the Pacific Ocean.”
Bringing happiness to the people has been the main goal for the captain.
As August himself says: ‘I wanted to build a ship of fools to sail around the world and sing the praises of folly’.

Until 2020, the ship has visited hundreds of cities and enlivened them with theater performances. After 33 years of free sailing, the ship made its very last voyage. On wheels, 150 meters up the beach of an Ecuadorian fishing village. ‘The ship of fools’ was on its way to Australia, but when the pandemic broke out and skipper August was diagnosed with serious illness, the ship set course for a final berth.

In the film we follow August in his mission to give the ship a final destination. He visits old friends and family in the Netherlands and looks back on his travels. Because August always had filmmakers on board, we were able to create a colorful overview of the wonderful history of the theater ship. A ship that is a source of inspiration for so many and symbolizes the realization of dreams. The credo was: ‘Just do it. Come and make art’. For many it turned out to be a springboard to a professional career in the art world.

The KNSM island was the permanent base of the Azart for many years. The ship of fools fulfilled such an important social role that in 1994 it was decided to call the Amsterdam berth from where the ship set sail Azartplein..

Captain August: “To be able to run a Fool’s Barge for thirty years, you can’t be a fool at all. To achieve your goal you have to tack – that is to sail as high as possible against the wind and that in a permanent zig-zag movement. That is something like Finding Your Own Way Amidst the Difficulties.

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