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Festival Kaboom opens with animation in the wild

Friday evening, 24 March, around half past eight. With a large number of other animation lovers, maybe two hundred, we are huddled together next to the Utrecht City cinema. But we are not going inside! The white outer wall with the love poem painted on it has been promoted to an alternative projection screen by Kaboom. Under the motto 'A Wall is a Screen', animation films on this and six other walls in the city will celebrate the opening of the Utrecht part of the Kaboom Animation Festival. Kaboom can also be experienced online, and from 30 March in Amsterdam.

The Kaboom team brings the portable projector and sound system into position. There on the wall appears the multi-award-winning short Canadian animation I Like Girls (2014) by Diane Obomsawin. After eight minutes, this playfully drawn, poetic tale of girl love is over. The team quickly picks up their gear and shouts, "Follow us."

Hoeba on the wall (image: Leo Bankersen)

On to the next wall projection, this time on a corner of the Drift, where the cheeky and energetic humour of the prehistoric figures in Hoeba (2022, Sem Assink) splashes off the wall. Just be careful we don't all block the street, though.

Animated city walk

For edition 2023, the Kaboom Animation Festival (24 March to 2 April) has chosen a rather unique opening event, which is at the same time quite fitting. Animation is the film form par excellence for stepping outside the traditional box office. So why not literally do that by breaking out of the cinema with an animation city walk past animation displays on walls around the city?

Watching Tango on the Jansveld (image: Leo Bankersen)

You can devote flowery words to that, such as 'animation as a new perspective on the city', or you can simply enjoy the hint of excitement that we are all here on a little adventure after all. With a specially curated programme of short films demonstrating the versatile power of animation. From Polish Oscar winner Tango (1980) to the musical horror fantasy Never Drive a Car When You're Dead (2009) or the exuberantly abstract world of Dreamland, which, so projected onto a building, suggests with some imagination that the walls around the square might also dance.

A little chilled, but with heartfelt applause, we can declare the Utrecht section of Kaboom (24 - 29 March) open after that last film.


Nayola (image: Periscope Film)

On 30 March, the festival moves to Amsterdam, with Eye as its main venue. The Amsterdam leg opens more traditionally with the screening of the impressive Portuguese/Belgian/French/Dutch production Nayola. A very robustly drawn and expressively coloured, magical-realist animation about the effects of Angola's civil war on three generations of women. Including a mother who wanders right through the violence to look for her missing husband. Her abandoned daughter has grown up 16 years later into a rebellious teenager who challenges the regime with her protest raps.

Nayola is part of the competition for feature-length animation, and will be released in cinemas in the Netherlands on 13 April. This is in line with the trend we have seen in recent years. Namely, that between the Americans aiming at large audiences (think Disney and the like) and animations for children, there is more and more room in the cinema programme for creative animation for adult viewers. Consider, for example, the animated documentary Eternal Spring, about China's suppression of opposition voices. Or the equally documentary flight story Flee, the Oscar-winning stop motion animation Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio and the Dutch dance animation Coppelia.

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is a particularly successful animated adaptation of some of Haruki Murakami's stories. Coming to cinemas as early as 30 March, it is now part of the Kaboom competition. Competition title Inu-oh came out last week. A surprising Japanese historical fantasy in which a dissident Noh actor breaks with tradition and swings like a rock star.


Kaboom's main theme this year is 'Beyond Perfection'. What are the influences and excesses of our contemporary obsession with the perfect body? There is also a special focus on animation from Canada. Other programme elements include the competition for short animations (tip: the Dutch one selected for Cannes It's Nice in Here), in addition to a kids' programme, VR and games. Among the specials is a block of Ukrainian animations. Furthermore, master classes, presentations and live performances. The days for animation professionals will be in Utrecht on 28 and 29 March.

The part that can also be viewed online consists mainly of the competition for short films and the kids' programme.

Luuk van Huët

A sad note at the start of this festival edition is the death on 12 March of animation expert and programmer Luuk van Huët. He was an employee of Kaboom, and before that one of the initiators of KLIK!, the Amsterdam animation event that merged with Holland Animation Film Festival to become Kaboom in 2019. On 2 April, Van Huët will be remembered, including a special screening of Inu-oh.

Kaboom Animation Festival takes place from 24 March to 2 April in Utrecht, Amsterdam and online. The Utrecht public programme is from Friday 24 to Monday 27 March. 28 and 29 March are industry days in Utrecht. The Amsterdam programme is from Thursday 30 March to Sunday 2 April.

The block schedule is here find. For the online programme, visit the programme page and select online. Further access via the fit page.

Leo Bankersen

Leo Bankersen has been writing about film since Chinatown and Night of the Living Dead. Reviewed as a freelance film journalist for the GPD for a long time. Is now, among other things, one of the regular contributors to De Filmkrant. Likes to break a lance for children's films, documentaries and films from non-Western countries. Other specialities: digital issues and film education.View Author posts

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