In 2019 and 2020, the Never Grow Up! program presented Dutch film, literature, (music) theatre and dance for young audiences throughout the US. Remarkable work from the Netherlands wowed and delighted both children and their families, and presenters and agencies at renowned events and venues including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, the Chicago and New York International Children’s Film Festivals, the Bay Area and Brooklyn Book Festivals.
A wave of Dutch artistry was showcased in the form of live performances, film screenings and book presentations. Then, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as in-person events were no longer possible, some of the planned activities were re-worked into online presentations and virtual field trips.
Check out our video recap of this exciting multidisciplinary program:
To name just a few of the program’s highlights:
The New York International Children’s Film Festival (NYICFF) announced a special country focus for the 2019 edition: Friends & Neighbors: Netherlands. The country focus consisted of the world premiere of feature film My Extraordinary Summer with Tess, directed by Steven Wouterlood, which subsequently won the Grand Prize of the festival. In addition, two programs with Dutch shorts screened at the festival. After the festival the two programs were distributed by NYICFF throughout the US.
In February 2020 BAMKids presented a Dutch focus: Say Cheese: Best of Dutch Shorts, a special program for young audiences taking place in New York City. The program consisted of 11 Dutch shorts and showed a diverse selection of humorous, dramatic, experimental animation and live action short films from the Netherlands. Say Cheese: Best of Dutch Shorts was part of BAMkids Movie Matinee & Music Series and BAMkids Film Festival 2020.
Furthermore, a special Dutch focus was presented by the FACETS Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF), that took place online between November 13 – 22, 2020. No less than eight shorts and one feature film were screened as part of the Dutch focus. Dutch directors Dennis Bots (Angel) and Mirjam Marks (Jovanna for Future) were virtually present at CICFF, taking part in extended Q+A sessions organized by the festival.
Kennedy Center presented a season-long Dutch focus, bringing the work of five music, theatre and dance companies to families and student audiences. When two of the Dutch companies were faced with travel restrictions due to COVID-19 and Kennedy Center was unable to open for in-person events, they re-worked their live shows into engaging virtual experiences.
On October 1st, 2020, School Library Journal (SLJ) hosted a webcast featuring award-winning authors Annet Schaap, Edward van de Vendel and Jef Aerts, along with translator Laura Watkinson, for a lively conversation about Dutch children’s literature in translation, moderated by Carmen Boston, DC Public Libary Children’s Librarian.
We would like to extend a huge thank you to our US partners who helped put Dutch arts for young audiences on the radar. We’re also looking forward to continuing our treasured conversations about opportunities for collaboration and exchange.