The team

Ruben Smit Productions works with a very talented team of enthusiastic, driven cameramen, editors, underwater filmmakers, media & communication specialists and soundmen who use the latest technologies and equipment. In the Natural History Unit NL, a number of these colleagues work together as a creative platform to take film productions, nature documentaries and visual events to a higher level. 

Filming in nature is a very challenging job, the key is knowing when to be where. That requires a lot of preparation and planning. Essential is the knowledge, permission and involvement of nature managers, terrain owners and governments. The Ruben Smit Productions crew works from the principle of cooperation and close, preferably personal, contact. Our productions are only possible thanks to the support, help, commitment and enthusiasm of the efforts of many organizations. Regular team members are Melchert Meijer zu Slochtern, Ruurd-Jelle van der Leij and Marjet Heins. The crew can be hired for individual productions.

Ruben Smit

Director, Ecologist, Nature Filmmaker 

As a film director of nature films and ecologist, Ruben Smit made his debut with De Nieuwe Wildernis (2013), which was also made into a four-part televisions series airing on Dutch television. In 2014 he won the Rembrandt Prijs and de Gouden Kalf for this film as director. In 2016 Ruben participated in “De Nationale Natuur Quiz”, a Dutch quiz about nature. Ruben got crowned the largest national naturalist. At the end of 2016, the nature documentary ‘Schatkamer van de Veluwe’ was shown on NPO2, one of the biggest Dutch television channels. In 2015/2016 ‘De Levende Rivier’ was shown on NPO2 and in various cinemas and film houses throughout the Netherlands.


His film WAD achieved ‘Gouden Film’ (translated Golden Film) status in 2018. In 2019 WAD made an impressive theater tour showing it on the silver screen, accompanied by Noordpool Orchestra. Ruben also produces and presents blogs for the television program ‘Vroege Vogels” (or Early Birds) since 2013.





Melchert Meijer zu Schlochtern

Camera Operator and Editor 

I am a very driven ecologist, nature photographer and filmmaker. I’m a camera operator for Ruben Smit Productions, I’m in charge of time-lapses, filming with drones and working in post-production. During our production I have had amazing film-adventures. The Wadden area gives a very strong sense of wilderness and working as a cameraman for WAD is an amazing experience. For example, before filming gray seals, I lay next to fighting bloody men weighing more than 300 kilos. That makes an impression…! For our latest production Grutto I travel along with the birds; from Africa to the Arctic. It is so impressive when you realize that such a small bird travels such huge distances. 


Ruurd Jelle van der Leij

Camera Operator

My name is Ruurd Jelle van der Leij and one of the camera operators of Ruben Smit Productions. In the last few years I have had the honor of filming an incredible amount in nature. From the mudflats for WAD film to the Pallid Harrier that brooded in a cornfield. 

This makes it extra special because you experience a feeling of freedom on those small islands, a kind of freedom that I have never experienced anywhere else. The very fact that you can leave your equipment in the knowledge that no gray seal dares to take it away, makes it so unique. The ultimate job so far has been filming the young peregrine falcons in a ground nest on Rottumerplaat. They are very shy and filming close to the nest was quite a challenge. The experience got even better when three big boys were flying around, the second time we came around. The energy you put into such a scene is enormous, also physically. But if it pays off in such a beautiful picture, it’s all worth it.


Sofia Dragt

Composer TV series

Creating, makes me very happy. Creating something out of nothing. So composing makes me very happy! And especially in combination with beautiful images that I am very inspired by. My roots are in pop music where I often get inspired by nature. I love to work as a film composer for film, to make the story even more beautiful by making appropriate music.


Ozan Olçay


I have been an editor for over 17 years and have been working as a freelancer since 2008. 

I specialize in editing documentaries and that is also my passion; telling stories and shining a light on the hidden and unknown world. In all those years I have edited almost 30 documentaries with various directors for almost all public broadcasters. A large number of documentaries have shot in the main program and in the competition of the Dutch Film Festival (for the Gouden Kalveren) in Utrecht, the IFFR in Rotterdam and the IDFA documentary festival in Amsterdam. The documentary ‘Och was ik maar …’ has also been nominated for an image and sound award. The documentary ‘De Onrendabelen’ has been awarded the CBS press prize.


Olivier Nijs

Sound engineer and Audio editing

For WAD I am responsible for the sound. This ranges from the beeping of a newborn spoonbill to a deafening autumn storm on the beach and everything in between. It is my duty to make sure that you feel like you are on the mudflats, while you are actually in the cinema. Music and sound have been an important part of my existence since my early childhood. I really enjoy the sound of rain and the enormous diversity of sounds it can cause. Running water, rushing reeds, or walking through the crackling snow. My challenge is to record those sounds in such a way that as a listener you get the feeling that you are present in those places.


Marjet Heins

PR & Communication

I am Marjet and my task is to put the productions of Ruben Smit Productions in the spotlights; I am a news seeker & communications lady. I like to be amazed, I collect one-liners and I like to have very passionate people around me. People who walk off the beaten track and do the unexpected. Just like the crew of Wadfilm; they capture the Wadden in unimaginable ways, in beautiful images and stories. I always do this in connection with people and I think and work outside the box. I want to make the world a little bit of a happier place, more beautiful and filled with more nature than how I found it.


Bart Bauhuis

Social Media Boss

Hi. Bart here! I Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube (yes, those are verbs) for WAD. If you respond via these channels, chances are that you have me (or Gerben) on the other side of the screen. Fun! Because I like other people and I commit myself to WAD because I think it is important that everyone also understands that our Wadden area is very beautiful, but also essential for many animals and plants. Still don’t believe me? Go watch the film!


Gerben van den Hoof

Social Media Boss

My name is Gerben, I am a Communication major and I am surfing a lot on the world wide web. As a communication dude, I like to introduce the public with new and inspiring stories. Storytelling is key, it inspires and triggers people to explore the unknown. 

At WAD film I am co-responsible for the social media channels. I take on the challenge to surprise you with every message and to discover new stories of the unique Wadden Sea region!