“Animations make it easier to talk about difficult topics.”

Three animators depict three true and personal stories from the communist past of the Czech Republic, stories told by people who suffered under communism and sometimes were compelled to cooperate with the communist regime. The Czechs shared their stories anonymously, animations bring these stories to life at the One World festival in Prague. Animators Marieke Hollander, Anne van Wieren and Ineke Goes talk about their style and the project.

´Tell us what you’ve always kept a secret.´ That´s the remarkable question Bureau Boven asked the Czechs, during the ToldUntold project. Three of these stories are depicted in the form of animations. Hollander, Van Wieren and Goes were immediately enthusiastic when they were asked to participate in the project. Each with their own reason. Van Wieren, for example, was eager to tell “a true and real story” with his animations. Goes has often visited Eastern Europe. By participating she is trying to get a better understanding of the Eastern European history. Hollander was already interested in the rich animation history of Eastern Europe. When she attended a presentation on ToldUntold she knew immediately: “This I don’t want to miss.”

screenshot Anne van Wieren

Goes portrays the story of the best propagandist of the regime, who did not believe in communism. Hollander tells the story of Mrs. B, who was spied on, and to this day doesn’t dare to say the name aloud of the woman who did this. Van Wieren depicts the story of a reference writer, who with his judgment, could make or break his colleagues.

The three participants of the project insisted on remaining anonymous. “Animation is a great way to visualize stories that are hard to tell. A picture is worth more than a 1000 words,” says Hollander. Van Wieren adds: “It’s a good way to get things out in the open. Animations make it easier to talk about difficult topics. An animation takes out the sting, it removes the sharp edges of a story.” According to Goes creating an animation about a true and intense story also brings about a responsibility. “I hope I’m doing the real story just, that I don´t offend anybody. My animation is based on a true story, but it’s not the story itself.”

“I do not limit myself to a particular style. The feeling that I want to convey, is most important,” says Goes about her approach to animating. “I try to convey my message with a little humor. With humor the essence of a story comes across better, I think, even when it concerns a heavy topic” Van Wieren´s style can be best described as raw and a little bit dark, he likes to give his animations a robust appearance: “For ToldUntold I worked digital. Then I filmed my animation twice with my phone. By doing this, the movie gets the stern look that I love.” For Hollander the theme of a story determines the design and the technology she uses: “As long as the beauty of movement is reflected in my animation, the style doesn’t matter so much.”

screenshot Marieke Hollander

On Sunday, the 13th of March at 18:00, the animations will be presented at the One World festival in Prague, the largest human rights film festival in the world. In addition to the animations three stories are told: a monologue and two audio documentaries.
The location is the public center in the Gallery Lucerna, Vodičkova 36 Prague.
Admission is free.

Picture 1: Ineke Goes
Picture 2: Anne van Wieren
Picture 3: Marieke Hollander

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