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Ani-Mates: Dutch films at Annecy

The renaissance of Dutch animation continues with the selection of three Dutch shorts at Annecy, the world’s leading festival for animated film.

In Nienke Deutz’s Bloeistraat 11, produced by Ghent and Amsterdam-based Lunanime and selected for Short Film Competition, two inseparable friends spend their last summer holiday of childhood amusing themselves around the house. But as summer progresses their bodies start to morph and shift, and an awkwardness descends on their friendship. Puberty seems determined to interrupt their bond.

“I wanted to make a film about the special bond between two best friends,” explains Deutz of her film which received a VAF (Flanders Audiovisual Fund) Wildcard. “The film deals with the intensity that can develop within a friendship and the suffering felt when this bond ceases to exist.”

“The intensity of the friendship appears clearly in the first part of the film, but, rather quickly, the accent is placed on the painful distance of the two girls,” she continues. “This distance is not a decision of the girls, they do not choose to put an end to their friendship. But as one of the girls hits puberty earlier than the other, their relationship deteriorates and the friendship cannot continue. It is this process, the fact that two people who love each other end up drifting away, that the rest of the film illustrates... The animation must not be an added component, it is an essential element, the film cannot exist in another form.”

In Graduate Short Film Competition is Jorn Leeuwerink’s Bloem, a film that sets out very much to subvert the genre. When a little mouse in the forest discovers that a flower has been dug up, his fellow forest dwellers take murderous action against the chicken they believe to be the culprit. “I was trying to make a children’s film for adults,” comments Leeuwerink. “It gets very dark in the end.”

The film took four months to make with Leeuwerink, who was studying at Utrecht’s acclaimed HKU, performing all tasks other than the painting of backgrounds. This job was undertaken by his girlfriend. “I mostly like to do things by myself. I like to keep the process as simple as possible. At the same time I am really focussed on stories. The first thing I try to do is write a good story and then try to make it as beautiful
as possible.”

Leeuwerink is currently one of 15 animators working on Piet Kroon’s eagerly anticipated feature debut Heinz, and stresses that one of his ambitions is to make a feature of his own. In the meantime he is planning a follow-up animated short, for which he will be applying to the Netherlands Film Fund for support. The film will concern a pig whose snout converts into an electric socket, into which all the other animals plug their devices...

Alice Saey’s highly acclaimed French/Dutch film commissioned by Rotterdam-based Mark Lotterman for his song Happy is selected within Annecy’s Music Video category. In the film Saey settles on a repetitive goose motif to illustrate Lotterman’s painfully poignant chronicling of 21st century urban life. The film has won numerous international prizes including Best Commissioned Animation at the Ottawa International Animation Festival 2017.

“The animation begins with images of a colourful cosmos, which turns out to be the eye of the goose. So the video follows the structure of the stories in the song; starting from the infinitely small and zooming out to a form of macrocosm made of the remaining pieces of the dancing geese, drawing small particles in space,” Saey told itsnicethat.com in 2017.

“My idea was to allow Mark’s stories to breathe during the chorus and have a more observational approach to the goose, in order to let the more surreal dancing kick in once his voice is gone during the instrumental chorus. The idea is to create an immersive atmosphere of discovering, observation, leading up to surprise, awkwardness, and wonder.”

SEE NL Magazine #31 May 2018 / Cannes & Annecy Issue
SEE NL is published four times per year by EYE International and The Netherlands Film Fund and is distributed to international film professionals.

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