I’ve been meaning to visit the KLIK animation festival in Amsterdam for a long time, not just because it’s animation (although, of course, that’s the main reason), but something about its colourful, humorous branding has always appealed to me.
This year, I finally managed to travel to Amsterdam and catch some films at KLIK for its tenth anniversary, albeit on the very last day of the festival (22 October). The screening I attended was in fact comprised of the award-winning films, which, I hope, gave me a good taste of the festival’s general atmosphere and tastes. Here are some of the films that stood out to me:
Best Animated Music Video- “Happy” directed by Alice Saey, for a song by Mark Lotterman
I am not at all familiar with the work of the featured musician, but the match between his mellow country-style tune, sung in a raspy voice, and the animation of brightly coloured Egyptian geese is strangely compelling. The birds are performing a hypnotic dance, while Lotterman’s voice weaves a bittersweet, slightly cynical tale of human disappointments.
Best Animated Short- “Negative Space” directed by Max Porter & Ru Kuwahata
A worthy winner of what I assume to be the grand prize of the festival, combining both great visuals (depicting clothes from a suitcase as sea waves and water creatures is a brilliant idea) and a good story, simultaneously funny and sad. Based on a poem, the film tells the tale of a father and son who build their emotional connection in a most unusual way, over packing luggage. There’s a lot of stoicism and unspoken emotion weaved through the restrained narrative. The whole film is briefly available for online viewing these days: cinema.arte.tv
Best Student Short- “Flower Found!” directed by Jorn Leeuwerink
This animation has an adorable, cartoonish aesthetic that initially made me expect a completely different kind of story. As it is, it managed to surprise me with its dark humour and biting satire of busybodies who take over a worthy cause and twist it into something unrecognisable and awful. A message for grown-ups slyly delivered with childlike drawings.
Award for Emotional Impact- “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen” directed by Bouwine Pool
Winning a prize for emotional impact sounds just about right for this short animation that shamelessly and efficiently tugs at one’s heartstrings. The central character, a crafty grandma, puts in her best efforts to entertain her withdrawn, gadget-obsessed granddaughter. Perhaps we’re having too many of these „spend more time in real life” anti-tech stories these days, but there’s a reason why they work so well.
I was not similarly in love with some of the other winners, for example the Audience Award choice („Yin” by Nicolas Fong), which had very clever visuals, but could have benefitted from tighter editing. Still, all clues point towards a very strong programme, I hope to be able to come back soon and see more of the festival in the years to come. The full list of winners can be found on the KLIK website.