Submarine Channel

Immerse yourself in an animal fable about autumn, the importance of sharing, and pumpkin bread. Manfred is a beautiful, handmade VR puppet film for kids aged 3-5 made by director and animator Gatze Zonneveld.

Manfred was developed as part of the talent development project De Ontmoeting ‘The Meeting.’ In 2017, we produced Amos Mulder’s animated short ‘Word’ as part of this program.

After touring festivals in 2018 and 2019, Manfred will be released online. We’re making an English and a Dutch version.

Primary platforms: Tablet and smartphone.



The friendly neighborhood monster Manfred is strolling through the forest looking for the ingredients for his pumpkin bread. During his search he meets the other creatures of the forest, but will they help him on his quest?

Manfred Pumpkin Bread 360 VR virtual reality puppet film character designs

Character designs by Gatze Zonneveld


The experience

You’re dropped in the middle of a fairytale forest. The story unfolds around you. You interact with Manfred and you’re encouraged to look around and explore the forest, and in doing so, you help Manfred on his quest to find the ingredients for his pumpkin pie.



The film originated from the idea of a virtual reality puppet theater, in which the viewer is placed in the center of a puppet world. “I’ve been interested in VR for a long time and in my other work I always try to immerse the viewer in atmospheric, animated worlds,” says director Gatze Zonneveld.

“I also love children’s books like the Gruffalo, Frog & Friends, I want my hat back and Bringing down the moon and puppet shows like Sesame Street and other Jim Henson productions. With Manfred all these things come together in a totally new and unique experience, in which I combine cutting edge virtual reality technology with traditional, handmade puppets.”

Manfred Pumpkin Bread 360 degree puppet film by Gatze Zonneveld

Style & Technique

The film is set in the middle of a beautiful, colorful fairytale forest. It’s the beginning of autumn, the leaves are red and orange and the warm sun shines through the morning haze, giving everything a soft, orange glow.

The film was shot with a 360° camera in a miniature set. Gatze used felt, wool and other natural fabrics to create the characters and the set to create an overall ‘fluffy’ feeling and a handmade charm.


Concept Art

Manfred Pumpkin Bread 360 VR virtual reality puppet film

Manfred Pumpkin Bread 360 VR virtual reality puppet film by Gatze Zonneveld

About Gatze Zonneveld

Gatze Zonneveld is an animation filmmaker who has his own boutique animation studio RocknRoll Animation in Utrecht. He makes short films and TV-series, commercials, bumpers, leaders and explainamations for a number of clients. In 2007 he graduated from the HKU University of the Arts Utrecht, with his exegesis Immersive Animation / Treehuggers, in which he researched how to optimally immerse a viewer in animated worlds. Gatze: “Back then of course, there weren’t any VR goggles or 360° video, but because of recent technological advances, it’s now possible to transport a viewer to a different world. And that’s exactly what I want to do with this film.”


Manfred drawn by Lois van Baarle on Instagram!

Manfred is produced by RocknRoll Animation and is coproduced by Submarine Channel as part of De Ontmoeting.

About De Ontmoeting

De Ontmoeting is a Dutch initiative that connects upcoming directors with the film industry in The Netherlands. In 2017, the third open call for short film proposals resulted in over 80 submissions. Four production studios and broadcasters, including Submarine Channel, selected one project. Each creator of said project received 5,000 euros from their respective producers, provided they successfully crowdfund an additional 5k or more through the Dutch Cinecrowd crowdfunding platform. All shorts will premiere at the Netherlands Film Festival in the Fall of 2018. Submarine Channel produced the animated short Word! by Amos Mulder as part of a previous edition De Ontmoeting.



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