Jan Ketelaars (1951) studied film at the Vrije Academie Psychopolis in The Hague.
Since 1976 he has directed, filmed and edited several short experimental films. His films include: “Katarakt” -1978, “Photographing a model”-1979 and “Projection”- 1981. The physical life action animation film “Katarakt” screened at many locations in the US and Europe including MOMA -New York, Centre Pompidou – Parijs, Stedelijk Museum- Amsterdam.
Since 1983 he works together with Paul van den Wildenberg to make films with an expressive photographic slant. They focus on finding the unusual in the usual and the transience of human efforts. Man in relation to his environment is a recurring theme in their joint work.
In Stad / Town (1984, 45 min., black & white) the soullessness of a provincial industrial town (Tilburg where both Jan and Paul were born) serves as a model for the diffuse character of similar provincial towns. Terrain Vague (1992, 48 min., black & white) illustrates the vitality of the periphery of a big city (Amsterdam). Thuis / At Home (1996, 70 min.) concerns personal domains within the square meters of a house (tenants in Amsterdam). Wasteland – de berg en de kuil / the hill and the pit (2001, 45 min.) focuses on the work dominated character of damaged sites (the hill: a slag heap of a derelict coalmine in the Belgian Borinage region, the pit: the quarry of a lignite mine in the German province of Nordrhein-Westfalen). The same subject was used for De Belgische vulkaan / The Belgian Volcano (2000, 3 min.), a short film produced and broadcasted by the VPRO as part of their millennium night program.
The short fiction film Uit/zicht / A Dutch Day (2002, 18 min.) gives a suggestive portrait of an uprooted man of foreign descent living in a house trailer in the grey polder landscape behind the dykes.
Droomland / Dreamland (2004, 75 min.) concentrates on the question whether one can feel at home in an area where man is constantly in danger of losing his battle against nature. The documentary takes the viewer to a neglected part of the US: the prairies of eastern Montana an area that has a constantly decreasing population. Triptiek – beelden van een koninkrijk /Triptych – images of a kingdom (2011- 60 min) is a purely visual, evocative film concerning the tension between dreams and reality at three locations in The Netherlands.
Jan was producer for Jura Film (with Ruud Monster) and Geelprodukt (with Leendert Pot).
The last few years he directed, shot and edited the short fiction film Randonnée (2006 –
35 min) about two girls on a hiking trip in the South of France and the documentary Stille Krijger / Silent Warrior (2008 – 59 min). A man went to live on his own in the mountains of the Ardèche.
In 2000 he founded with Paul van den Wildenberg and Ronald Groenink Terrain Vague Film (, from where besides their own work they also produce for other directors.
Since 1985 Jan has edited for many directors on various films including: Ben van Lieshout, Ton Koole, Leendert Pot, Barbara den Uyl, Hans Krikke, Erik Willems, Noud Heerkens, Grietje Keller, Mani Kaul, Mercedes Stalenhoef, Annette Apon, Leen van den Berg and Frederieke Jochems.
Jan worked from 1988 until his retirement in 2018 as a part-time teacher at the Media department of the Utrecht School of the Arts.
He is a member of the Filmhuis working group of the De Bilt Art and Culture Foundation. Arthouse films from all over the world are shown monthly in Het Lichtruim in Bilthoven.