Interview: animator Jasper Kuipers (NL) about Netherlands animation

Jasper Kuipers is important part of our Animator´s Calendar 2018, his art was graced in June. Jasper is animator from Netherlands who has already finished short stop-motion animation movie Finity Calling. You can see the movie in many animation festivals around the world. We asked Jasper about animation schools and animation industry in Netherlands. He recommended us few good animators and some animations from his country and much more!

How did you get to stop-motion animation?

I went to art school with this idea to become a traditional artist and make paintings, sculptures etc. I was completely unaware at that time that this art school allso had an animation department. During a short workshop given to us by the head of the animation department I got into contact with animation and just fell in love right away! The next day I decided to switch from fine arts to the animation department.

In the second year we had a stop-motion period and this was a perfect fit. I like to get my hands dirty, and love the details and textures in stop-motion. There is something undeniably real in the materials used in stop-motion that makes the magic of animation very tangible.

Which Dutch animation schools would you recommend to our young czech animators?

In the Netherlands there are no schools that specialize in stop-motion animation only. You get quite a broad education in various techniques. Depending on your personal interests you can then start to put emphasis on your preferred technique(s) of animation. The school I went to is called St Joost and is situated in Breda in the south of the Netherands. It is very nice and deliversa very broad spectrum of animators. Another good school is the HKU in Utrecht wich has been putting out high quality alumni for years.

Is there an animated film in Holland that should not miss our attention?

I’m guessing a lot of people will have seen this allready, but for the ones who haven’t: go see Father and Daughter by Michael Dudok de Wit. One of the most beautiful shorts ever made in my opinion!

Do you project emotions and memories into your work or are you looking for inspiration elsewhere?

So I do both actually. I think it is allmost impossible not to do this. I try to look for universal notes in personal emotions and memories. So I get rid of too many of the specifics of my personal story to make it into something more general. And then besides that, my visual vocabulairy is ofcourse being fed constantly with the things I see around me. Developing a clear taste helps a lot with making choices when it comes to my won work.

How did you produce your last film Finity Calling?

It started a long time ago as part of a two year residency at the Netherlands Institute of Animation Film in Tilburg. I was given the oppurtunity there to develop new work and for a year I worked on the plans for Finity Calling. Writing scripts, doing part of the design work and devolping storyboards. Basically, at the end of the residency I had completed the pre prodcution fase of the film. I then joined up with Marc Thelosen from production company SeriousFilm to find funding for the realisation of the project. We ended up making it as a co-production with Belgian studio Walking the Dog who also did visual effects and postproduction on the film.

Were you making a movie yourself or did you have a team?

Throughout the project quite a number of people helped out at different stages besides myself. I worked on every aspect, but had help for example with the puppets, sets, post-production, graphic design etc. In total around 25 people worked on the film.

Can you tell us what is Finity Calling about?

Adults look with a kind of envy to children because they don’t yet have a sense of mortality. In Finity Calling the time is stopped; we can then reflect on a particular moment of awareness. “I think becoming aware of the finiteness of life is a process, a rite of passage. In this film I want to show this moment as a crucial change of our perspective on life.”

 Is possible to watch your movie anywhere?

Right now it is doing the festival rounds so keep an eye out for any of the film and animation festivals near you!  Screenings are planned at Anima Mundi in Brazil, Ars Electronica in Austria, Insomniafest in Moscow and Psarokokalo International Short Film Festival in Greece for now.

And do you know our Czech festival of animated film Anifilm?

Yes I do, but I have never been there. Would love to get the chance to visit! I have heard good things about it.

What, in your opinion, is the biggest problém  of the stop-motion technique?

Hmmm, that’s a difficult question. In a way the biggest problem is also the biggest opportunity sometimes. I think imposing your will on material that doesn’t necessarily behave the way you want it too is one of the things that makes stop-motion so hard, but when you succed it has a very strong effect. The magic of dead matter coming to life  becomes very tangible

Are you interested in other animation techniques?

I actually work in various techniques myself. Besides stop-motion with puppets I do classical 2D animation, cut-out, oilpant on glass, work with found footage etc etc. I really think that every project can benefit from a different approuch and sometimes this means different techniques as well.  

Have you seen Tehran Taboo or Island of Dogs? What do you think about movies?

I have seen Isle of Dogs recently in the theatre. What a huge ammount of craftmanship! There is an overwhelming amount of detail and cleverness going on there that I can only tip my hat to.

 Is animation sufficiently supported in Netherlands ?

I would say we have quite a good system of filmfunding for animation in the Netherlands. The budgets are somewhat limited when you compare it to other coutries but there is quite some attention for more artistic and experimental work which is nice.

 Will you recommend any Dutch animators?

There are so many and I run the risk of hurting the feeling of friends now because I can’t name everyone. But you should check out Mascha Halberstad who makes lovely stop-motion films. Also Hisko Hulsing who is now directing the animated series Undone for Amazon and who made Junkyard before that is worth checking out.

Do you already have an idea about your next movie?

There are many idea’s but not a single one yet that has won it from the others. So we have to see what I end up working on first…

And last question – what is your most common question as an animator?

Hahaha! I think that must be when people ask me how many photographs I took to make the film? Quite a boring question if you ask me… But you have to start somewhere I guess. In this case you ofcourse have to end with a question too! 😉

Thank you for your answers!

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