International Animation Day: 'Knor' in the spotlight
With five nominations and three Golden Calves at the Nederlands Film Festival, the Dutch entry for the best animation feature at the 2023 Oscars is also a box office hit. The first feature-length Dutch stop motion is full of heart and sets milestones in the world of Dutch animation. It is nominated for a European Film Award (EFA, also known as the 'European Oscars') and has won the Cinekid Award for Best Dutch Children's Movie.
The rights to Knor have already been sold to fifteen countries (among which are France, Germany, Belgium, Norway, Japan, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, and Spain), with big cinema releases to be expected in most. Japan has also already inquired about the possibility of merchandising, a question that isn’t out of the ordinary for the cuddly piglet.
The family movie Knor (Dutch for 'oink') is more than a film about a girl and her piglet. By combining the visual aesthetics of stop-motion with a recognisably Dutch setting, director Mascha Halberstad creates a realistic world of childlike wonder where anything is possible. In her Filmkrant interview, Halberstad notes the triumphant return of stop-motion in a world full of computer animation. Taking on a DIY attitude and a determination to combine artistry with craftsmanship on screen, Knor is an ode to the Netherlands of her youth. We see the film unfold in a setting of typical terraced houses from the fifties, realistic butcher shops, and recognizable streets.
With nods to Fantastic Mr. Fox and Wallace and Gromit, Halberstad is keen to keep a psychologically realistic approach to family films. Despite the slapstick and potty humour throughout, scenes where the young protagonist is lied to by adults still hits harder than expected due to precisely that realism. With more wiggle room for play and creative freedom, animation does what live-action cannot. Knor is a testament to the magic and endless creativity that animation can be.
Confirmation on whether Knor is awarded an EFA will be announced on 10 December, and whether it makes it through the Oscars nominations round will be known on 24 January 2023.