Submarine Channel


Animation Graduation Films

From the harvest of Dutch animation graduation films of 2015, animation curator Erik van Drunen picks his five favorites. It could easily have been ten. 2015 Was a great year.

Graduation season just ended. Art academies worldwide opened their doors and proudly showed the world the talents they raised. In The Netherlands, the possibilities to study animation have increased and matured the last decade. Animation is booming and it shows. Even students of Illustration are showing off their animation talent these days. How smart of them to broaden their scope. The creative industries sector likes creators who’ve got more than one trick up their sleeves.


1. Typewriterhead, directed by Eric Giessman / AKV | St. Joost

Long time complaint in the Lowlands was that animation talent was fleeing abroad. Nowadays foreign talents come to the Netherlands to study. And successfully, we can say! Typewriterhead is a great example. In a convincingly 2D/graphic approach of CGI, the German director makes us a participant in his character’s attempts to tame his stream of thoughts. The vintage typewriter that functions as the protagonist’s head (a smart metaphor, and very retro cool…) produces an endless flow of thoughts, dreams and emotions. Giessman’s website shows many previous collaborations with students and professionals, and it was a good choice of the creator to become as a director himself.

Read about the process on Giessman’s blog


2. Depart at 22, directed by Wiep Teeuwisse / HKU

What a struggle graduating can be. Wiep Teewisse changed course radically just a few months before the date… Depart at 22 is a delightful short done in delicate pencil lines and other analog techniques. The film shows in an associative way the fear of the loosing the beauty of one’s body, while at the same time revealing the beauty of its decay. Made in only in seven weeks, this film shows great promise. Especially if you consider what Teeuwisse can do if she has more production time. Or is this a classical case of tight deadlines stimulating the creative process?

More of the director:


3. A Morning Without Coffee, directed by Jelle van Meerendonk / AKV | St. Joost

In an apparently gawky style this uncompromising film depicts a bizarre universe full of detail, weird twists and events, and tons of black humor. So much joy this young talent is able to evoke with a traditional drawing technique. A Morning Without Coffee is an absurdist love story about a balloon and a cactus, writes the creator on his Tumblr, but the film is more, much more than that. Nominated for the annual St. Joost Award.



4. Going Aut, directed by Floor Groep | Willem de Kooning Academy

Floor Groep used the collage form to design the shattered view of persons suffering from autism. Going Aut shows a keen awareness of the possibilities animation offers to visualize the deeply personal, or give insight into the aberrant. Again, this form of limited animation – a creative decision no doubt caused by production time constraints – payed off well. In this case it brought the creator a rich tapestry of images that express the “autistic state of mind.” Just imagine the creator out on the street filming locations with a camera attached to her head.

The director is working on her portfolio website.


5. F*cking Traffic, directed by Koen van Geel / AKV | st. Joost

Van Geel took the path of comedy. Not the easiest path, nor the most trodden in independent animation shorts. A bald choice. Traffic chaos is the theme here, but Van Geel takes it over the top, executing the animation in stylized CGI, using slow motion and stretching the images. Although a bit adolescent at times, F*cking Traffic also feels fresh and promising. With study pals Jeoffrey van Overveld and Reinier Peersman he founded Studio Kubus. The trio is awarded a rent free studio  space for one year to develop their plans to “combine 2d and 3d graphics to make awesome work and continuously experiment with new techniques.”



Top 5 by Erik van Drunen





Julia Pott