A conversation with Hunter Hunt-Hendrix on her philosophy system for Sprout.
“At Kaboom, we believe animation is not just a genre of film: it’s more than film. It’s a perplexingly diverse medium that offers us so much more than anvils falling on coyotes.” At Kaboom Animation Festival you can warp your mind with over 300 five-star animated films from 53 different countries, watch live talks with filmmakers and explore other special programs, workshops, online exhibitions and the like. The festival that takes place from March 31st and April 5th is hosted annually, yet has a program that’s worth an entire year. We had a chat with Aneta Ozorek, the creative director, hoping to form a bit of a guide to the festival, so you can have a smooth stroll and wander through the animated streets that the team of Kaboom have set out for you.
We offer a handful of free tickets for Subbacultcha members to this year’s Kaboom festival. If you would like to attend the festival, please send a mail with your name to firstname.lastname@example.org, jotting down ‘KABOOM’ in the subject line.
Hi Aneta! Thanks a lot for speaking with us.
How’ve you been lately?
Trying to go through ups and downs, as all creatives, with self-love and acceptance. I’m appreciating my family, friends and art even more than usual. Also, I’m biking a lot – I hope to beat the 2000 km limit this year.
A very nice means of exploring!
It is, it is. Twenty minutes of biking and you’re in paradise.
How are the preparations going for the festival?
This is the last round of preparations. The engine is on, guests are confirmed, in 2 weeks we will build our online studio and the centre of the festival universe. We are Zooming, Skyping, Teaming, Whatsapping, Signalling and calling more than ever before. With evening jumpsuits, champagne in the fridge, high-heels and flip-flops we are almost ready for our first online edition.
We would like to familiarize our members a bit with the program of Kaboom Animation Festival 2021. To give them a short guide of some sorts. Can you please reply to the following inquiries by stating a film that plays at the festival that suits the question, plus a short explanation?
To start off: a film that challenges you.
I’m Here dir. Julia Orlik, Poland
Watching this film is physically painful. It is an extremely brave artistic decision to keep a viewer in this one place – in this frame packed with one actor and her quiet, pailful drama. A film made with a weird mixture of the roughness and tenderness. A reflection on what role death takes in our lives and culture nowadays. I can imagine there’ll be very different reactions to this movie, but it’s a tough experience, I would say.
A film that gives you comfort.
And Yet We Are Not Super Heroes dir. by Lia Bertels, France
A film where Yuval Noah Harari’s visions about humankind and the cosmos are simplified by a group of kindergarten-kids. This is a calm and poetic film about loneliness with a fantastic sense of humour. It should be screened at the philosophy departments of every university. Lia became a true artist in building intimate worlds with a genial minimalistic style.
A film that teaches you something. What does it teach you?
Bathroom Privileges, dir. Ellie Land, Rupert Williams, UK & Toil-it, Amina Razzack, India, 2020
How many times last year, during a walk in the city or a park you realised you needed to pee and all coffee places, restaurants, bars were closed?
My gosh, so many times. And you’re always either drinking tea, coffee, wine or beer while going out. Doesn’t help the process at all.
Yes, I know… In the 21st century it seems so unexpected that access to toilets can still be an issue. It can be the source of unexpected and awkward moments of exclusion. The film I mentioned shows our society’s views on disability, gender and race in the most intimate spaces.
What film makes you escape reality for a brief moment?
Blue Lips, dir. Philippe Hamelin, Canada
The director found a way to chew on reality. To give you a taste of every little atom of it. This film shows absolutely hypnotising sensual moments from a summer night. We get goosebumps from the chilly air of the night and that deep feeling of being in love. The voice-over, the close-ups, the slow pace, and this little plot take you far away from the walls of your house into the cosy darkness you lust so much.
A film that moves you.
Precious, dir. Paul Mas, France
A film for adults, that portrays children. Using the artifice of animation to portrait the source of exclusion and the mechanism of power games. Paul Mas is a director with precise storytelling, that tackles a complicated story about taking power over the people perceived as the weaker one. One of the saddest spectacles, which we will never get used to watching.
A film that’s suited for the entire family.
Mosley, dir. Kirby Atkins, China / New Zealand
Do you remember those nice Sunday mornings as a child? Those where you were sitting on the carpet in the living room, perhaps with your brother or sister, watching one of the Disney films? Your parents were sitting on the couch, reading newspapers, eating breakfast and from time to time peeking into the screen of TV with you? When you were so involved in the story that you were clenching your fists whenever the bad characters were sneaking, chasing, or preparing the trap? When your heart was beating so strong when the main character was winning the battle against the evil world? Mosley is one of these films. I guarantee: you will laugh, cry, and shake. Maybe I shouldn’t, but I do promise a happy end.
What’s the importance of a happy ending?
There’s a lot of books describing how stories influence children. Stories are some kind of psychological process for them to deal with certain aspects of life. By watching films, even if they’re very small, they’re experiencing certain emotions that might be too big for their age. By identifying with certain characters and the way the story is told, children can understand their feelings , and to go safely through that process. Let me use a popular example of Disney films. In Dumbo we see the separation of the child and the mother, or we watch Bambi who loses her mom. This is the way creators wanted to face kids with such a difficult experience as losing a parent. I’m not even going into The Lion King. A happy end is very important here. A kid needs to feel safe. They need to know that everything will be okay. A promise which allows kids to watch films until the end. A happy ending gives kids an extra pillow of safeness. I do believe it’s important to speak with kids about difficult subjects, as they’re experiencing sadness and fears not very different from the adults. They also feel pain, depression, and anger, so they need to meet characters who feel the same as they do and deal with those tough feelings..
Wow! It really creates a framework in which emotions can go much more sad, or much more tense, just so you can fall back on that pillow! A roller coaster with a safety belt rather than without one.
Alright, what’s a film that makes you grin cheek-to-cheek?
It’s actually not a film but a live event. One of our jury members, Britt Raes, organises a drawing session with one-to-one meetings. We wanted to create an opportunity for a human interaction. Britt makes fun portraits of animal owners and their animals and reverses their roles. So, for example, we can see a big cat hugging a little human. I think the subject of the conversation is how much pets ‘own’ us.
A film by a promising director.
Schroom, Aisha Madu, NL
When sweat stains, runny noses and disobeying tampons are standing in the way to feel like an attractive, intelligent or decent human being – and when you’re not afraid to face those moments, then I recommend watching Aisha Madu’s series: Schroom. She is a vivid, powerful and fresh voice in Dutch animation and definitely an artist to keep an eye on!
A film that stands out sonically and musically.
On-Gaku: Our Sound, dir. Kenji Iwaisawa, Japan &Why Slugs Have No Legs, dir. Aline Höchli, Switzerland
Ha! There is a lot! But, On-Gaku: Our Sound and Why Slugs Have No Legs are my two favourites. In On-Gaku, directed by Kenji Iwaisawa, a crazy trio of high school students decide to channel their inner feelings as garage rockers – despite having no skills, money or even a full set of drums. Prepare for a glorious cacophony of punk-rock music, surreal humour and fantastic visuals. Why Slugs Have No Slegs, directed by Aline Höchli is an amazing story of slugs who choose slow and fast life, backed by an amazing song that you’re going to sing or mumble for long after hearing it.
A film that is a psychedelic experience.
Bru & Boegie: The Movie, dir. Mike Scott, South Africa
Hahaha okay. You are asking for trouble now. If you really want to experience more than an hour of psychedelic and metaphysical intimacy with yourself, watch Bru & Boegie: The movie. I challenge you to watch it without fast-forwarding. You should know there is no shortcut to self-understanding, acceptance and love.
Haha, why am I asking for trouble?
There are some trippy films in the program. This is a very delicate moment for all of us. I really didn’t want to risk anything for the minds of the readers. So I just wanted to find something that’s a bit psychedelic, but also be kind to people who are in more fragile states of mind now. It can be some of a transgressive experience watching films.
Ok! A film that’s technically mind-blowing:
Recording Entropia, dir. François Vautier & Animated Women AR exhibition, curated by Manu Weiss
If you are looking for real technical mind-blowing experience, check our selection of works and look for the chance to see them as soon as possible in any immersive media places like THERE gallery or NEXT museum, in Amsterdam. My tip would be Recording Entropia by François Vautier. A powerful journey, that you’ll never forget. If you prefer a mix of reality and imagination, you can also spot AR posters located in Amsterdam and Utrecht. By using your cell phone and small easy app, you can see animated portraits of female animators from all over the world. You can find a map of posters here.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Keep calm and watch animation!
Kaboom festival will take place online from March 31st until April 5th. Get more information here. Subbacultcha members; get a free ticket by sending an email to email@example.com, jotting down ‘KABOOM’ in the subject line.