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Interview – Dario van Vree – ‘Tabook’ – A Short Film


Posted November 20, 2017 by

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Interview – Dario van Vree

After winning the Best Animated Short at CineKink 2017, director Dario van Vree and producer Tünde Vollenbroek’s comical animation Tabook has now been released online. Tabook looks at the subject of sex in a fun loving way, highlighting the taboo that exists in society around embracing sexuality.

While browsing the bookstore 19-year-old Gwen is unexpectedly drawn to a volume of kinky erotica, earning her disapproving glares from the other customers.

Director Dario van Vree has been directing animation since graduating from his studies at the prestigious KASK academy in Belgium. Having a specific eye for the weird, the inventive and the power of character performance, his work is characterized by clarity, humor and a love for paradoxes. Besides directing, Dario teaches animation at the Willem de Kooning Academy and is co-founder of the KLIK Amsterdam Animation Festival.

Producer Tünde Vollenbroek is an animation graduate from the HKU and Animation Sans Frontieres, and is a producer at Studio Pupil, the production company that created Tabook. She is a chief European correspondent at Cartoon Brew and chief programmer of the KLIK Amsterdam Animation Festival.

Watch The Film:


To begin with, tell us about your latest film “Tabook”…

Tabook is a short animated comedy about finding and accepting ones sexual preferences and overcoming shame. Public opinions and societal norms can be so strongly internalized that they obstruct us from seeing and accepting ourselves for who we are. Often we need a shock experience to break through those fears.

It played as pre movie for Bridget Jones’ Baby in main Dutch theatres.

How did you get involved with the film? Where did the idea come from?

I was looking for an idea for super short comedy for a wide audience. The film could only be 2 minutes long, so it had to be a clear and recognizable situation. The conflict of wanting to buy something that one feels embarrassed about is something we’ve probably all experienced.

The bondage theme was partially inspired by the immense success of Fifty Shades. It baffles me that BDSM can be the subject of the greatest best seller ever and at the same time remain such a taboo. I mean, we don’t have to share everything with everybody, there needs to be a little mystery too, right? But accepting your deviant sexual preferences is a healthy thing and it would help if there would be a little less shame and judgement surrounding that topic.

What is it that attracts you to animation?

Animation has a magical quality. An animator can make dead materials come to live and make impossible things plausible. It also has a immense communicative power. Because of it’s pictorial nature it is not bound by language or culture.

When watching animation, the audience (nearly always) knows what they are looking at is per definition not real. This makes it possible to show things that would otherwise be difficult to watch. Because of this detachment from reality animation can touch on precarious and complex subjects in a way live-action can’t.

What are your influences as a filmmaker?

Robert Crumb, the comic book artist is a great inspiration. His honesty and fearlessness are unequalled. And of course his drawing hand is a joy to look at. Sadly, he is said to dislike animation after a bad adventure with the ‘Fritz the Cat’ movie.

Chuck Jones to me is one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. He enriched and deepened the medium of animation tremendously.

Phil Mulloy is also a fearless filmmaker. His work is always provocative and at the same time very sensitive and filled with a concern with humanity. His DIY attitude is very inspiring as well.

What advice would you give to any up-and-coming filmmakers, trying to crack the industry?

Making a living as an animator can be rough at the start. It doesn’t matter that much how talented an artist you are, you will have to learn the business aspect of it all. And no matter how dire your situation is, never work just for free. Always let the client know what they are getting and how much it really costs. If it’s a project you absolutely love or you get enough creative freedom to make it your own, you can do it, but always point out that animation takes a whole lot of effort and dedication to produce. This will earn you respect and doesn’t spoil the market.

Apart from that: Go outside and talk to people.

When and where can we expect to see “Tabook”?

It was launched online in October and can be viewed on Vimeo and YouTube.

Also, it is still travelling the film festival circuit.

What is the next step for you, do you have any other films in production?

After making Tabook I focussed on developing our production company in Amsterdam for a while, taking on client work and building up the studio. Right now we are developing multiple scripts for short films and concepts for animated series and we plan to start production on a few of them in 2018. It’s an exciting time for animation in the Netherlands, where the industry is quickly developing and gaining ground. So, surely there is more to come soon!


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