Submarine Channel


Up-and-coming Dutch Female Animation Directors

A wave of female talent is taking the animation world by storm. Their films are winning jury and audience awards everywhere, and festivals are dedicating retrospectives to them. Whereas the established generation of independent animation directors is led by males, the new generation is clearly changing this status quo.

By Tünde Vollenbroek


Anna Eijsbouts - Hate for Sale - Dutch animation-01

The Netherlands, too, bursts with talented female directors who are about to make their mark on Dutch animation. This Top 5 features trailblazers that graduated just a few years ago with notable work, and each one of them is worth keeping an eye on. All of the talents are actually working on, or have just finished, their debut animated short. *


Aisha Madu

Student short (2nd year)

Already since her studies, Aisha Madu sports her signature style of bold, graphic visuals with quirky, poetic stories. It brought her the KLIK Student Award, as well as becoming the KLIK Animation Festival‘s main illustrator, an artist-in-residency at The Animation Workshop and a display at the Dutch Design Week. Madu is currently in production with her animated series ‘Schroom’, to be released through Dutch broadcaster VPRO Dorst. And she is developing an animated crossmedia piece, ‘Objects of Affection’, which she pitched at Cartoon Springboard.


Wiep Teeuwisse

Wiep Teeuwisse’s graduation film ‘Depart at 22’ won the prestigious Annecy Student Award in 2016. It’s a tentative, semi-abstract piece that was created by undertaking a lot of visual experiments. The film premiered on Cartoon Brew last year alongside an in-depth interview. Teeuwisse’s debut animated short, ‘Nature Getaway’, is in production and promises more poetic goodness to enjoy.


Valerie Chang

Cute and charming, yet with a captivating dark edge, would best describe Valerie Chang’s work. Her graduation short ‘Pepe Luu’ landed her the Dutch Film Fund’s Wildcard – a talent development award. Chang used her wildcard to create her debut short ‘The Wolves of Mangotown’ (produced by Submarine), which served as a pilot for the ‘Pepe Luu’ kids series she’s envisioning. The series is also to be pitched at Cartoon Springboard. In the meantime, Chang is working on a Pepe Luu comic, to be published in Dutch by SubQ.


Marlyn Spaaij

Student short (2nd year)

Marlyn Spaaij earned her stripes working on some of Holland’s biggest animated feature film and series productions. Among others, she was supervising storyboard artist on the American 2D animated TV series Wellie Wishers, a storyboard artist on the 3D animated TV series of the well-known brand, Dr. Panda, and a character animator on the 2D animated feature Cobain: Montage of Heck. Currently, Spaaij is developing her debut animated short ‘Trouble in Mind’, which won the European Short Pitch. She also pitched her TV special that’s in early development, ‘De Duivelshoeve’, at Cartoon Springboard.


Anna Eijsbouts

After graduating from the prestigious Royal College of Art in England a decade ago, Anna Eijsbouts taught animation in London (Bedfordshire) and Utrecht (HKU). She debuted this year with the mesmerizing animated short ‘Hate for Sale’, based on a poem by author Neil Gaiman, that garnered 100K views and much critical acclaim. Eijsbouts is currently in early development with her next animated short, further exploring the captivating cut-out techniques showcased in ‘Hate for Sale’.

  • It must be noted that this top 5 is by no means a complete list. I included 2D animation only for now. And of course there are more talents to watch. Consider this top 5 as a starting point to discover more.




Amsterdam-based Tünde Vollenbroek lives and breathes animation, 24FPS, 24/7. As co-founder of Studio Pupil she produces animated shorts, series, commercials and music videos. As lead programmer at the KLIK Amsterdam Animation Festival she curates shorts, features and industry programs, and tours around the world. As chief European correspondent of Cartoon Brew she writes about the continent’s industry.



Valley Of The Cnuties

When I Am King

Dick Bruna


Annecy Animated Film Fest 2015

Innovative Use of Rotoscope

Animation Graduation Films