Three Dutch short films ‘Bears on the Road’, ‘Spellbreaker’ and ‘I Love Hooligans’ will be screened at the Animated Spirits Festival in New York on April 8 and 9.
Bears on the Road
Bears on the Road (Beren op de weg) is a short animated film by Nadia Meezen that focusses on the theme of fear and how it can take over your life, if you let it. The film is about Theo, who enjoys nothing more than driving around in his little yellow car. After a car crash, caused by a bear, he wants to get back to his old life, but his growing fear for the outside world stands in his way.
Nadia Meezen, animator and illustrator from the Netherlands, graduated in 2014 from the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, with her short film Beren op de Weg (Bears on the Road).
I Love Hooligans
In I Love Hooligans we enter the world of a homosexual football hooligan. Football is what he lives for, and his sexual orientation and love life have been relegated to the margin. It is a well-kept secret. As a hooligan, his club is everything to him and the matches against their arch rival are the highlights of the year. Weeks in advance, the tension starts to rise: he is nervous, doesn’t sleep well, keeps in touch with his hooligan ‘family’ to make sure he doesn’t miss anything, he fantasises about humiliating the enemy and makes plans.
On the day of the match, they turn to booze and other drugs, looking for excitement with whatever presents itself. Like hungry lions they search out their potential prey: mounted policemen, fans of the other side, and all the rest of the wimps, faggots and pansies. Inside the stadium, there is chanting and shouting. Cheering, yelling, loosening the vocal chords,
until the ref blows his whistle and the match begins. Then there is total concentration. The game, the artistry of the players, the camaraderie, the rhythm of the sounds from the stands: he becomes totally immersed. This is his world, this is his life. With each nasty foul, there’s booing and cheering: “Queer. Fucking faggot”. As one of the fans, he shouts as loud as the others, fully aware of putting on an act. It is his survival strategy.
The fans club house is a universe of passion, noise and action, a separate world with its own rules and manners. Steady now… Any sensual thoughts about men are life-threatening. In the fans club house, this hooligans home away from home, he would be an easy target if the shit hit the fan and they found out he was gay. But all matches end and he has to go home again, where no one is waiting and the only welcome is from his club paraphernalia. In this silence, this fan admits that he too longs for warmth, security and loving togetherness. When the walls start closing in on him, football calls. It is only among his football mates that he doesn’t feel lonely. Until the end of time. At the end of the day, this homosexual hooligan has but one dream: “To die in the arms of my loved one.”
Script & director Jan-Dirk Bouw, art director Joost Jansen, sound design Bart Jilesen, grading Reinier van Brummelen, script coach Heleen Suèr, co-producer Off World Walking the Dog Brussels, international sales SND Films
Spellbreaker is a short painted animation (4 minutes), directed and animated by Diana van Houten and Janis Joy Epping and is accompanied and produced by Joost Ranzijn. (Zig Zag Film)
For more than ten months Diana and Janis painted arduously for their animation project at the Zig Zag Film studio, in the heart of Amsterdam. Through a numerous amount of paintings, an amicable yet horror-esque story was made..
Animated Spirits Festival
The inaugural edition of Animated Spirits brings some of the most exciting animation from Europe across the Atlantic to New York. Artists from 14 countries of the European Union showcase the spirit of experimentation at the Austrian Cultural Forum and the School of Visual Arts on April 8 and 9, followed by discussions of the program and the transatlantic state of animation with two gurus of the genre (Tom Brown, UK and Amid Amidi, US). Emphasizing the new, the exciting and the unconventional, but finding the space to reflect on the continuing potential of the traditional techniques as well, Animated Spirits is the first chance of NYC audiences and professionals to encounter, in a carefully curated form, the cream of the crop of European animation.
The first screening will be followed by a reception and networking event on the premises of the Austrian Cultural Forum.