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Dutch productions at Annecy 2019

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The prestigious Annecy International Animation Film Festival (June 10-15 2019) gives the nod to three new vibrant Dutch projects.

Adriaan Lokman's beautiful and extraordinary short animation Flow (Special Events), made for Valk Productions and supported by the Netherlands Film Fund, looks to present in dramatic and physical form the shape and power of the air that surrounds us. He does so by linear-tracking the movement of wind around solid objects (humans, buildings, a turbulent sea, even a lazy hand languidly extended from the window of a sports car) and then removing those objects from the frame. "Everything that is invisible I turn visible. Everything that is visible I turn invisible," Lokman points out.

"Firstly I built the film in 3d, in terms of real physical objects. All those objects are needed for a [SFX] particles fountain to react to. It is like a water hose, if it touches another object it goes in all directions. You can then turn these particles into whatever you want - smoke or water or fire, or also very thin lines." "I like to look in another way at things that are kind of ordinary, in this case the wind that is around us
all the time" he adds. "We can't see it but it has a huge influence on our lives... It is a beautiful and fascinating thing but you don't see it, you only see the effects of what it does."

And other Valk Productions selection is Wiep Teeuwisse's minimalist but highly expressive Intermission Expedition in Short Film Competition. In the work, supported by the Film Fund, a group of vacuous and unimaginative tourists become indistinguishable from the sea-froth that washes up onto the seashore. Teeuwisse, who graduated from HKU Utrecht in 2015 and is currently studying at the UK National Film and Television School, got the metaphorical inspiration for the film when observing holidaymakers when she was travelling post-graduation.

"I saw how the foam moved on the beach in a really strange way, and it really fascinated me and I wanted to do something with its texture and lightness. Then one day I was kayaking and I had this sense of confusion when I saw stones floating by that turned out to be volcanic rock that is so light and airy that it can float. I found it really interesting that you have the sea foam that is made within a few seconds and dies immediately and then there is this rock that feels really really old and comes from the earth (and is equally light)."

Fox and Hare, directed by Mascha Halberstad and Tom van Gestel and produced by Submarine, is a 26 x 11-minute pre-school series that follows a group of animal friends in in the forest. Annecy chose the episode entitled ‘Birthday', in which Fox is desperate to celebrate Hare's birthday despite the ineptness of disco-loving Tusk (a boar) and Owl. The series is based on the celebrated books written by the Belgian Sylvia van den Heede and illustrated by Dutch animator The Tjong Khing.

Halberstad explains how her strengths are in character development/direction and audio while co-director Van Gestel is very strong visually. "We are a very good team together because we have the best of both worlds," she comments, adding how the first part of the process is to record the actors in the sound studio, before the animatic and subsequent animation. "When I put all the actors in the studio together they could really interact, because that is where you get the humour. I gave them a lot of space to improvise. I really let Tusk loose, and he came up with all these hysterical things."

While the original animations were 2D, the series is distinctly 3D. "Yes, Tom and I had this discussion about 2D, but we decided that would compare too closely with the original book, so we thought that if we make an adaptation it will become something you recognise but also something completely new." NC

SEE NL Magazine #35 May 2019 / 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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