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Aneza Ozorek and KLIK Amsterdam team highlight the changes to be made for the new Dutch animation festival.

It became quite a shock to the independent animation world, when the two bigger Dutch animation festivals, KLIK Amsterdam and Holland Animation Film Festival, decided to merge. It goes without saying that a new start for Holland Animation Film Festival was being sought, after artistic director Gerben Schermer resigned due to creative differences, and HAFF 2018 was canceled as a result.

After the 11th edition of KLIK Amsterdam, in which Wildebeest by Nikolas Keppens & Matthias Phlips took home the award for Best Short (see all festival awards here), Zippy Frames approached both new KLIK Amsterdam artistic director Aneta Ozorek, and former HAFF artistic director Gerben Schermer for more information and comment.

While Schermer did not wish to comment on the situation, one thing is for sure: the new festival (name still to be decided) will have a 2019 autumn (October- November) date in two cities: Utrecht and Amsterdam -the former HAFF and KLIK Amsterdam venues respectively. The answers of Aneta Ozorek and KLIK Amsterdam team follow.

ZF: What was the reasoning behind the merging of two festivals?

A.O/KLIK Amsterdam: KLIK and HAFF were co-existing for the past 11 years. HAFF is a festival with a great tradition and long-standing international reputation. HAFF focuses on auteur and experimental animation and has a well developed educational program. KLIK, since its conception, focused on ALL things animated. KLIK wants to be an inclusive festival featuring a wide variety of animation while building a close relationship with its audience. The organization and board of KLIK learned of the departure of the former director of HAFF when it was announced on their website in early 2018. A couple of months later, the board of HAFF approached KLIK to see if we could forge one joint festival. KLIK is always open for all kinds of collaborations, and approached these meeting with an open mind. After several meetings and discussions, we realized how complementary both festivals are to each other and how we could make each other stronger. The reaction of the Dutch industry to our mutual decision confirms our hopes and expectations.

ZF: Is there a name for the new festival?

A.O./KLIK Amsterdam: After this KLIK Amsterdam edition, we will start working on the concept for the new festival, the name, date, and location. A fresh start is always a good moment for reflection. We want to add to the core concept of the new festival, by meeting with international industry experts. The idea is to listen closely to the needs of the artists and the industry.

ZF: HAFF was considered a fine example of 'auteur' festival in the independent animation community.  A number of animation professionals have publicly expressed their concerns that this new development will actually 'kill HAFF'. How do you see the character of the new festival?

A.O/KLIK Amsterdam: KLIK was always interested in all genres of animation, from auteur to mainstream. But since HAFF already presented experimental and auteur animation, we didn't focus on those genres and styles in our own programming. But if you take a look at this year's program of creative director Aneta Ozorek (Aneta's Choice) or if you talk to lead programmer Maarten Gageldonk you will find a lot of similarities in artistic focus.

At this point, we can't share details about the concept of the new festival, but one thing is certain: auteur and experimental animation will always have a strong part of our interest and taste. One of our keywords, going forward, will be innovation. Experimental artists of the past and present have always been a huge inspiration for pioneering animation, CGI, and VR creators. So in working on the future of animation and innovation we simply have to include the old masters and new artists driving the medium.

The 11th edition of KLIK Amsterdam Animation Festival took place 10-14 October in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

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